USW: PLRB to Hold Hearing on Unfair Labor Practice Charges in Pitt Grad Election

CONTACT: R.J. Hufnagel, 412-562-2450, rhufnagel@usw.org

The United Steelworkers union (USW) said today that the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) will hold a hearing May 14 and 15 to address unfair labor practice (ULP) charges and objections the union filed on behalf of graduate student employees at the University of Pittsburgh. 

Graduate student organizers contend that the Pitt administration took illegal actions to influence the outcome of last month’s union election.

These actions included coordination between election watchers and university administrators during the election to track who had voted, and communications between supervisors and graduate student workers that further reinforced that their votes were being monitored.

“There is no doubt the administration’s conduct tainted the results of the election,” said Kimberly Garrett, a graduate student researcher in the department of environmental and occupational health. “We have a right to vote without coercion, and last month we were denied that right.”

Organizers are calling on the PLRB to set aside the April 15-18 election results and direct a new election. They are also requesting the PLRB require the Pitt administration to post a document conceding the illegality of its conduct. 

Graduate student organizers said that as the legal process unfolds, they intend to keep actively organizing.

“Our need for greater transparency in the decision making-processes that impact our work lives, freedom from harassment and discrimination, and sufficient wages and benefits to provide for ourselves and our loved ones is as pressing now as it was when we began organizing over four years ago,” said Hillary Lazar, a graduate student teaching fellow in the sociology department. “We will not give up this fight.”

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining, the service and public sectors and higher education.

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-2446

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor Jim McKay

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222