Distributed December 14, 2001
For Immediate Release
News Service Contact: Mark Nickel
Election results pending
Brown appeals NLRB decision on graduate students/UAW election
Brown University is seeking a reconsideration of a Nov. 16 decision by the regional director of the National Labor Relations Board which directed that certain graduate students could vote for or against representation by the United Auto Workers union. The election was held Dec. 6-7, but the ballots have been impounded and will not be counted until the appeal process concludes.
PROVIDENCE —President Ruth J. Simmons announced today (Friday, Dec. 14, 2001) that Brown University has filed an appeal with the National Labor Relations Board in Washington. The filing requests reconsideration of a decision by the NLRB regional director which allowed certain graduate students to vote for or against representation by the United Auto Workers. Today is the deadline for the University to file its appeal.
In that Nov. 16 decision, the NLRB regional director directed that only 510 of more than 1,300 graduate students at Brown were eligible to vote in the election, which took place Thursday and Friday, Dec. 6-7. Ballots from that election were impounded by the NLRB pending Brown’s decision and will not be counted until after the appeal process is completed. Turnout was high, with approximately 460 eligible voters – about 90 percent– participating.
“Our preeminent concern in this matter has been to choose the course of action that best supports the excellent quality of graduate education at Brown,” said Simmons. “I was pleased with the high turnout among eligible voters and with the quality of graduate student discussions preceding the election. I believe, however, that the NLRB’s decision did not adequately address Brown’s situation. We owe it to ourselves and to similar universities to seek reconsideration.”
In its appellate brief, the University said that the case “is of great national significance” and that the outcome “will profoundly affect the future of private sector graduate school education in the United States.” The University raised a number of arguments in its appeal, including:
“Brown submits that the Board’s analysis in NYU fails to take into account the realities of the higher education environment,” the University said in its petition, “thereby jeopardizing the essential elements of academic freedom and institutional independence which lie at the heart of American higher education.”
The United Auto Workers will have one week to provide the NLRB with its response to the University’s request for reconsideration. If the NLRB grants Brown’s request, both sides will have an opportunity to file additional briefs of legal issues raised by the case.