Cudd says Pitt still considering options on proposed grad union ruling

Provost+Ann+Cudd+maintained+the+University+did+not+do+anything+wrong+during+April%E2%80%99s+graduate+student+union+election+after+a+Pennsylvania+Labor+Relations+Board+official+ruled+that+Pitt+committed+unfair+labor+practices.+
Back to Article
Back to Article

Cudd says Pitt still considering options on proposed grad union ruling

Provost Ann Cudd maintained the University did not do anything wrong during April’s graduate student union election after a Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board official ruled that Pitt committed unfair labor practices.

Provost Ann Cudd maintained the University did not do anything wrong during April’s graduate student union election after a Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board official ruled that Pitt committed unfair labor practices.

Knox Coulter | Assistant Visual Editor

Provost Ann Cudd maintained the University did not do anything wrong during April’s graduate student union election after a Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board official ruled that Pitt committed unfair labor practices.

Knox Coulter | Assistant Visual Editor

Knox Coulter | Assistant Visual Editor

Provost Ann Cudd maintained the University did not do anything wrong during April’s graduate student union election after a Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board official ruled that Pitt committed unfair labor practices.

By Jon Moss, Assistant News Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — Following Pitt’s Board of Trustees meeting Friday morning at Pitt’s Johnstown campus, and just days after a Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board official ruled that Pitt committed unfair labor practices and ordered a new election, Provost Ann Cudd maintained the University did not do anything wrong during April’s graduate student union election.

PLRB Hearing Examiner Stephen Helmerich said in the Sept. 18 ruling that Pitt committed “coercive acts” leading up to the April vote, which was meant to determine whether or not graduate students at Pitt should unionize and join the Academic Workers Association of the United Steelworkers. After the election was initially ruled inconclusive, students voted against unionizing by a margin of 37 votes — 712 to 675.

“We very strongly disagree that we did anything wrong and that we in any way violated any of the rules,” Cudd said. “We are still looking at it, trying to decide exactly we’re going to do.”

The PLRB has 20 days to file an exception to Helmerich’s proposed ruling, in accordance with Board regulations, or else it will take effect.

The University stands by its belief that graduate students are not employees and therefore cannot unionize. Pitt’s Office of University Counsel paid “union-busting” law firm Ballard Spahr $239,061 in fees between the summers of 2016 and 2018 to provide legal support during the separate graduate student and faculty campaigns for unionization, according to University financial disclosure reports obtained by The Pitt News.

When asked whether Pitt should still contract with Ballard Spahr after being charged with two unfair labor practices, Cudd said the University is pleased with the services it is being provided.

“We hire outside counsel for a variety of different things,” Cudd said. “I think that, all in, they’re doing a good job for us.”

Leave a comment.