Voting and Eligibility

All Eligible Graduate Student Workers are Encouraged to Cast an Informed Vote on Unionization

An election is scheduled for November 2 and 3, 2022, in which graduate student workers will vote on whether or not to form a union represented by the United Auto Workers (UAW).

While WPI respects the rights of graduate student workers to unionize, the university asks that every impacted student carefully review the information and options available and make an informed decision about whether unionization and representation by the UAW is in their best interest and the best interest of students for years to come.

  • The outcome of a union election is determined by a simple majority of eligible voters who actually vote, not by a majority of those who are eligible to vote.
  • All graduate students enrolled at Worcester Polytechnic Institute who are employed to provide instructional services, research services or administrative services in academic departments are eligible to vote. These include Teaching Assistants (such as teaching assistants, PLAs, GLAs, readers, tutors, and graders), all Graduate Assistants and all graduate Research Assistants (regardless of funding sources) employed by WPI as of payroll on September 30, 2022.

    Not eligible to vote: All undergraduate students; graduate students not employed by WPI, graduate students who are employed outside of academic departments (e.g. Physical Education, Recreation & Athletics), non-graduate student office clericals, managers, guards, and supervisors as defined in the National Labor Relations Act.

  • If approved, representation by the UAW would be binding on both voting and non-voting graduate students in the bargaining unit, with WPI required to recognize the UAW as the bargaining representative for all graduate student workers within the certified bargaining unit.
  • If a union is elected, that decision would have a lasting effect on both current and future graduate student workers. In most cases, this is a decision that is made only once: Unions do not stand for re-election, and members do not get to vote regularly on whether to keep a union. Rather, once a union is in place, it generally stays in place, except in very rare cases. While union decertification is possible, it is rare in practice, and would require a future decertification process initiated by bargaining unit members.