Graduate student union election ordered by PLRB

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Today (Feb. 9), Penn State became aware of the decision of the hearing examiner appointed by the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) directing an election among certain graduate students at the University. The decision is disappointing, but Penn State will continue to follow the PLRB process, while evaluating all its options going forward.

The hearing examiner in this case has ordered that the following groups of graduate students will be eligible to vote: all graduate students on graduate assistantships or traineeships.

Next Steps

The Graduate School will begin to prepare a list of eligible voters who are in the groups listed above, based on their appointments for the spring 2018 semester. Graduate students who are eligible to vote will receive a separate email notification from the Graduate School.

Representatives of Penn State, of the union seeking to represent graduate students (the Pennsylvania State Education Association), and of the PLRB will determine when the election will occur and how/where voting will take place.

Your Vote Matters; Your Voice Matters!

Penn State encourages all eligible graduate students to vote and make their voices heard when the election occurs. Remember, a simple majority (50 percent + 1) of those who actually vote (e.g., as few as three votes) will determine the result for ALL graduate students in the bargaining unit — even those who don’t vote.

Stay Informed

Several resources are available to learn more about graduate student unionization including:, Unionization FAQs, and a summary of current graduate student benefits. The Graduate School will continue to share important news updates about the graduate student unionization process on, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

Keep in Mind

We encourage graduate students to become informed and consider all points of view as they formulate their own opinions regarding graduate student unionization.

If anyone has questions or concerns about unionization or any other matter impacting our graduate students, please reach out to  

Last Updated February 27, 2018