This spring, we have been inspired by the growth of union organizing at Penn. Resident advisors who work in the dorms filed for a union election in March; graduate research assistants and teaching assistants in GET-UP went public with their organizing drive in April; and residents at Penn Medicine won their union election in May. Meanwhile, Penn Museum Workers United is pushing ahead with their campaign to win a first contract.
The university administration has launched anti-union campaigns in response to all these mobilizations and is now trying to enlist faculty in anti-union activity. Just last week, all standing faculty in the School of Arts and Sciences received an email from administrators directing us to websites that present anti-union talking points for us to pass along to graduate student workers. It is wrong for the administration to attempt to make us conduits for anti-union messages. Moreover, it is wrong for the administration to run anti-union campaigns at all.
This week we delivered a letter to administrators calling on them to take down all anti-union websites and end the anti-union campaigns. We hope you’ll read and share it.
Together over the next several months, we will work to educate colleagues about anti-union campaigns to make sure that we do not pass along anti-union messages. As many of us know, anti-union campaigns can be subtle: employers present their communications as purportedly neutral answers to frequently asked questions. As a result, even faculty who support unions might not immediately recognize these websites for what they are.
To educate ourselves and our colleagues, we have created an annotated version of the Provost’s guidance to faculty. Please read it, share it with colleagues, and stay tuned for upcoming information sessions and opportunities to get involved.