The Pitt News

Members of the Fossil Free Pitt Coalition staged a February sit-in in the Cathedral of Learning, calling for fossil fuel divestment.

Oakland news roundup

By Priya Ray, Staff Writer July 25, 2020
With the fall semester beginning in just a few weeks, here is a guide to some of the biggest stories at Pitt.
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 21, 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.
Grad union organizers hold signs against the windows of the Forbes Avenue sky bridge on Wednesday afternoon.

Grad union organizers hold demonstration on sky bridge

By Benjamin Nigrosh, Staff Writer December 4, 2019
Grad union organizers pressed paper letters against the windows of the Forbes Avenue sky bridge Wednesday afternoon.

Editorial: NLRB unionization proposal is a step backwards

By The Pitt News Editorial Board September 23, 2019
This new proposal is a bleak reminder of just how difficult unionization really is, and just how far we still have to go.
The Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board filed a decision Wednesday ordering a new election for Pitt’s graduate student union.

Labor official: Pitt website, department chair email involved in unfair practices

By Emily Wolfe, News Editor September 19, 2019
Unless the board files an exception to Helmerich’s ruling — it has 20 days to do so, in accordance with PLRB regulations — graduate students will soon vote again on the union question.
The Pennsylvania Labor Review Board has determined that the University engaged in unfair labor practices during the grad student union election last spring.

PLRB rules Pitt committed unfair labor practices, orders new grad union election

By Janine Faust, Editor-in-chief September 18, 2019
Hearing Examiner Stephen Helmerich said in his hearing that Pitt committed “coercive acts” leading up to the vote in April about whether or not graduate students should join the Academic Workers Association of the United Steelworkers, where the outcome was 675 for a union and 712 against.
The Pennsylvania Labor Review Board has determined that the University engaged in unfair labor practices during the grad student union election last spring.

Student organizers confident as unionization decision nears

By Erica Guthrie, Assistant News Editor August 26, 2019
Pitt and the graduate student organizers trying to establish a union at the University took their final legal step last week before the state labor board determines whether or not the University engaged in unfair labor practices during the elections held last spring.
Philadelphia-based firm Ballard Spahr provided legal support during the graduate student and faculty movements for unionization.

Pitt paid almost $240K to “union avoidance” law firm in recent years

By Jon Moss, News Editor May 14, 2019
A “union avoidance” law firm received a large windfall of legal fees from Pitt, according to previously unreported University financial disclosure reports.
The Pitt graduate student union election results were announced on April 26.

Grad students vote against unionization, organizers reissue call for new election

By Jon Moss and Neena Hagen May 3, 2019
The Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board officially declared Friday morning that the majority of graduate students at Pitt voted against unionization in the April 15-18 election.
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