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Duke Graduate Employees Withdraw Union Petition

March 8, 2017

Graduate student employees at Duke University on Tuesday withdrew their petition to form a union affiliated with Service Employees International Union. The union organizing committee in a statement said the move was “not a decision to quit fighting — rather, it is a recognition that the source of our strength is not lawyers or litigation, but our collective knowledge, power and experience as graduate student workers.” 

Vote counting for a recent union election at Duke was delayed over some 500 challenged ballots. The preliminary tally, not counting those disputed votes, was 398 for and 691 against unionization. 

The National Labor Relations Board decided in August that graduate student employees on private campuses are entitled to collective bargaining. Since then, a union vote at Harvard University proved inconclusive, while a majority of voting departments at Yale University approved "micro-unit" union bids. Students at Columbia University and Loyola University at Chicago voted to form unions.

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Colleen Flaherty

Colleen Flaherty, Reporter, covers faculty issues for Inside Higher Ed. Prior to joining the publication in 2012, Colleen was military editor at the Killeen Daily Herald, outside Fort Hood, Texas. Before that, she covered government and land use issues for the Greenwich Time and Hersam Acorn Newspapers in her home state of Connecticut. After graduating from McGill University in Montreal in 2005 with a degree in English literature, Colleen taught English and English as a second language in public schools in the Bronx, N.Y. She earned her M.S.Ed. from City University of New York Lehman College in 2008 as part of the New York City Teaching Fellows program. 

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