On October 23rd and 24th, Cornell University graduate students voted against designating the United Auto Workers as their sole bargaining agent. With 88% voter turnout and a final vote count of 1351 against to 580 for, the result shows that an overwhelming majority of the eligible graduate students are not interested in UAW union representation. We believe these results indicate that any unionization campaign at Cornell must begin and end with extensive and open debate among the entire community about their interests and concerns.
At What Cost? applauds the graduate student community for their high level of involvement in this issue. Having participated in many discussions on this topic, it is clear to us that many graduate students are concerned about their working and academic conditions. Our intention has never been to trivialize the real concerns graduate students have, and we hope to see improvements continue to be made in the coming years.
We also thank the administration and faculty for their role in this process. As one of few schools which has responded to a unionization effort without resorting to legal injunctions, Cornell has demonstrated its respect for its graduate students. Also, many important facts and perspectives were available from those who understand the behind-the-scenes workings of Cornell of which graduate students are unaware. We hope the administration will continue to work with graduate students to address the serious concerns raised over the past year about their employment conditions.
At What Cost? was made up of a variety of individuals who opposed the CASE/UAW unionization for a variety of reasons. With the defeat of the union, there is little reason for this group to continue at this time. We hope the interest that the Cornell graduate students have shown in this issue will manifest itself in more students working with the university through the GPSA or departmental committees to improve our workplace. We particularly encourage our supporters and those of CASE/UAW to continue their active role. At What Cost? will be keeping its discussion board open as an additional venue for graduate students to continue the discussions which have begun over the past months, including those about improving Cornell graduate life. We hope to see graduate students continue to apply the same critical thinking skills to the improvement of their environment as they do their research.