The University of Minnesota has released this statement in response to the lawsuit filed by the UAW/GSWU. There was some question as to whether the UAW filed this suit independently, or if the UAW and GSWU filed it together. The GSWU has confirmed their involvement in this lawsuit. As a result of it, the BMS has released an order of maintenance of status quo, which can be found at the link above. It is unlikely that this order will affect the life of the average graduate student in any meaningful way, but the spectre of a lawsuit that may erase the resounding, democratic defeat of the UAW/GSWU is disconcerting for all of us.
The question most graduate students have at this point is "what happens now?" The best answer we can give is "we don't know." However, we do know that in 2005 the losing union (GradTRAC) chose to file a similar suit against the University, which was quickly dismissed.
The results of the unionization election for 2012 have been announced and the GSWU has been soundly and democratically defeated. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you, the voter, for your participation in the election. The effort to oppose the UAW/GSWU stretched across departments, schools, and political parties, and the result of it is that we are still independent from that group. Your votes and your actions in opposition to the GSWU were critical in that respect.
Before we part ways, there are a few things that we would like to touch on:
- That only 43% of the students who signed election cards actually voted in favor of the unionization is evidence that the union organizers exerted undue pressure on their peers in order to accomplish their personal goals
- If you felt pressured into signing a UAW signature card, keep in mind that calling the University police would have been a perfectly reasonable option to get rid of the UAW organizers — the police are there to protect you and they are infrequently used by the graduate student community
- One of the chief complaints the UAW/GSWU organizers leveled against the University was that there is no effective conflict resolution mechanism. In the past election graduate students decided this was not true.
- The main mechanism for conflict resolution is your department's DGS or another faculty member who can stand up for your interests
- If that is insufficient, the Student Conflict Resolution Center (SCRC) also mediates disputes between graduate students and any other party related to the University
- The Office of Conflict Resolution (OCR) also can resolve disputes, but is used almost exclusively by employees and cannot deal with issues other than employment issues
- Lastly, the abuse of COGS and GAPSA by UAW/GSWU organizers (many of them paid directly by the UAW) requires their replacement. Please consider running for GAPSA or COGS office.