The Pitt News

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

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.
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 demonstration on sky bridge

Grad union organizers hold signs against the windows of the Forbes Avenue sky bridge on Wednesday afternoon.
December 4, 2019
Grad union organizers pressed paper letters against the windows of the Forbes Avenue sky bridge Wednesday afternoon.

Pitt files exception to proposed grad union ruling

Hearing Examiner Stephen Helmerich said Pitt committed “coercive acts” leading up to the April grad student unionization vote.
October 8, 2019
Pitt filed an exception Tuesday to a proposed ruling by the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board.

PLRB hears grad student union election objection in downtown hearing

Grad students will vote on whether or not to establish a union between April 15 and 18.
May 15, 2019
Nestled in a small office in downtown’s Piatt Place building, a group of lawyers debated the future of Pitt graduate student unionization Tuesday and Wednesday.

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

Philadelphia-based firm Ballard Spahr provided legal support during the graduate student and faculty movements for unionization.
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.

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

The Pitt graduate student union election results were announced on April 26.
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.

Grad union organizers call for new election, accuse Pitt of “unfair labor practices”

The Pitt graduate student union election results were announced on April 26.
May 2, 2019
Less than a week ago, the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board declared the grad student unionization vote inconclusive. Now, organizers are calling on the board to set aside those election results and schedule a new election.

Bernie and guests excite crowd and rally support for Pitt’s grad student union

April 14, 2019
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders visited Pittsburgh on Sunday. He was there as part of a whistle-stop tour of key battleground states like Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. Sanders also rallied the crowd in support of the Pitt Grad Student Union election, which will be held at Posvar Hall and the O’Hara Student Center beginning on April 15. Graduate Student Researcher Kimberly Garrett kicked off the procession of speakers prior to Sanders’ speech, which included Bernie 2020 national co-chairs Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz and former Ohio state senator Nina Turner.
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