September 30, 2019
Dear Graduate Associate Deans,
As you probably have heard, the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) hearing examiner issued his "Proposed Decision and Order" on the unfair labor practices claims filed by the United Steelworkers against the PLRB and the University.
The full text of the proposed ruling is here:
The hearing examiner found in the University's and/or PLRB's favor with respect to the majority of the claims, including claims about how the University kept a list of voters, the people whom the University provided as election watchers, and regarding the vast majority of the University’s communications. However, the Hearing Examiner ruled that the University committed unfair labor practices in three instances - 1) via an e-mail sent by a department chair in which that chair encouraged students to make an informed decision, but also indicated how many students in his school had voted; and 2) in two statements in information provided as an FAQ and via an e-mail from me related to what could and could not be a subject of bargaining. The Proposed Decision and Order states that a new election shall be held and that we should provide a new list of students.
We strongly disagree that any of our actions were unfair labor practices.
Both parties have 20 days in which to file exceptions (an appeal). If either side appeals then this Proposed Decision and Order will be reviewed by the PLRB.
We are considering our options at this time and will keep you informed as this situation develops. Plese contact me with any questions.
Vice Provost of Graduate Studies and Strategic Initiatives