The Pitt News

A Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board official ruled Friday on the size of a potential bargaining unit for Pitt faculty, marking a win for union organizers and moving the campaign further toward an election.

PLRB rules on size of potential Pitt faculty union

By Rebecca Johnson and Jon Moss April 19, 2021
A Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board official ruled Friday on the size of a potential bargaining unit for Pitt faculty, marking a win for union organizers and moving the campaign further toward an election.
Faculty union organizers have had to turn to Zoom calls and emails to rally support.

Pitt faculty prepare for union election, adjust campaigning amid pandemic

By Nathan Fitchett and Neena Hagen February 17, 2021
For years, Pitt faculty union organizers visited offices, labs and classrooms to talk with professors about how a union could improve their lives. With a faculty union election coming up during a pandemic, organizers have transitioned their efforts to Zoom.
Pitt’s Office of University Counsel paid Philadelphia-based Ballard Spahr $881,069 in fees between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020 to contest simultaneous but separate unionization attempts by faculty and graduate students.

Steelworkers calls on Pitt to ‘end its anti-union campaign’ against faculty, grad students

By Jon Moss, Editor-in-Chief January 29, 2021
The United Steelworkers union is calling on Pitt to “end its anti-union campaign” against the efforts by faculty and grad students to unionize at the University.
Pitt’s Office of University Counsel paid Philadelphia-based Ballard Spahr $881,069 in fees between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020 to contest simultaneous but separate unionization attempts by faculty and graduate students.

Pitt spends additional $881K on ‘union avoidance’ law firm, pushing total over $2M

By Neena Hagen, Senior Staff Writer January 29, 2021
Ballard Spahr, a “union avoidance” law firm, received roughly $881,000 from Pitt between July 2019 and June 2020. Pitt has now paid the firm more than $2 million since grad student and faculty unionization efforts kicked off in 2016.
Op-Ed | What’s missing from Pitt’s pandemic planning? A Faculty Union

Op-Ed | What’s missing from Pitt’s pandemic planning? A Faculty Union

In an Op-Ed, the Pitt Faculty Organizing Committee argues that during pandemic planning, a certified faculty union is vital and would benefit not just faculty, but the entire Pitt community.
Faculty union organizers are still hopeful they’ll be able to hold a vote.

PLRB rules Pitt faculty union eligibility list was ‘factually and legally inaccurate’

By Neena Hagen, Senior Staff Writer June 26, 2020
A hearing examiner delivered a victory to faculty union organizers when he ruled Thursday that a Pitt-submitted list was “factually and legally inaccurate.”
Pitt’s annual payments to the legal firm Ballard Spahr began to increase in 2016, coinciding with the launch of the graduate and faculty union campaigns.

Analysis: Comparing Pitt’s current Ballard Spahr spending with pre-unionization

By Neena Hagen, Senior Staff Writer January 22, 2020
Since the graduate and faculty union campaigns launched in 2016, Pitt has paid more than $1.3 million to “union avoidance” legal giant Ballard Spahr — an average of $328,000 per year.
Pitt’s Office of University Counsel paid Philadelphia-based Ballard Spahr, a “union avoidance” law firm, $1,071,573 in fees between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019, to provide legal support during the separate graduate student and faculty campaigns for unionization.

Pitt’s bill for ‘union avoidance’ law firm passes $1 million

By Jon Moss, News Editor January 12, 2020
A “union avoidance” law firm continues to receive a large windfall of legal fees from Pitt, recently passing $1 million, according to University financial disclosure reports.
The Pitt faculty union organizers will have another chance to prove interest in a union election in four months.

Faculty union organizers earn second chance to prompt union election

By Neena Hagen, Senior Staff Writer December 6, 2019

After a round of hearings this week meant to finalize the size of Pitt’s faculty union bargaining unit, organizers will get another chance to prove they have enough interest to prompt a union election...

Pitt removes administrators, retirees from faculty union eligibility

Pitt removes administrators, retirees from faculty union eligibility

By Neena Hagen, Senior Staff Writer December 3, 2019
Faculty union organizers have argued since June that Pitt deliberately inflated its list of 4,018 union-eligible faculty with hundreds of retirees and administrators in order to derail unionization efforts.
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