The ballots from last week’s graduate student union election at Brown have been impounded and will not be counted until at least next week, Brown and union officials said.
Graduate student teaching and research assistants voted last week on whether to form a union. If a majority voted in favor of unionization, eligible TAs will form only the second TA union at a private university in this country.
The election was held three weeks after a regional National Labor Relations Board ruled that TAs at Brown were employees and able to bargain collectively.
The ruling originally gave Brown officials three weeks to appeal the ruling, but Brown officials received an extension, and now have until Dec. 14 to appeal.
Brown spokesman Mark Nickel said University officials had not yet decided whether to appeal.
Nickel added that administrators would base their decision on what they saw as in the best interest of graduate education.
Brown President Ruth Simmons has repeatedly denounced graduate student unionization, and said at the beginning of her presidency that she would work to prevent any union from forming.
Connie Razza, a lead organizer for the United Auto Workers, which is organizing the TAs, said she expected the University would appeal the decision. An appeal would be heard by the national NLRB, which last year upheld a similar ruling that allowed TAs at New York University to form a union.
The NYU TA union, still the only one at an American private school, has been negotiating with NYU officials since last spring for their first contract. Last month TAs, frustrated by the pace of negotiations, voted to authorize a strike if contracts were not settled soon.
–Arielle Levin Becker