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Update from Provost on Election

June 1, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to update you on non-tenure track faculty unionization. 

While there have been public communications that declared the election results final, we believe that the results are premature until all of the eligible votes are counted. As such, we filed a request on Friday, May 26, 2017 with the National Labor Relations Board in Washington D.C. to review the latest outcome and ensure that all voices are heard.

As you may recall, in July 2016, approximately 72 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot. The union alleged that a number of the votes were cast by ineligible voters. Since then, the majority of the Service Employee International Union’s challenges have been resolved.

However, 25 ballots remain uncounted as part of the SEIU challenge and those votes are pending resolution by the NLRB. Given the vote count as it stands today -- 229 votes in favor of the union and 219 votes against the union – the unopened ballots could determine the election results.

Despite that pending appeal, which was filed on January 19, 2017, the Regional Director of the NLRB’s Chicago office certified the results of the election last week, declaring SEIU the bargaining unit for non-tenure track faculty. In response, Northwestern filed an expedited request with the NLRB in Washington D.C. for the regional director’s decision to be reviewed and for the election results to be put on hold until a review of the unopened ballots appeal can be completed.

We believe strongly that every person who voted in the election has a voice that should be heard.

I am grateful for our faculty’s engagement in this process and for your strong commitment to the Northwestern community. I will continue to update you as more information becomes available. 

If you have additional questions, we invite you to check out the Q&A on our web site, If you wish to speak to us directly, please contact Alex Rot, Director of Faculty Information in the Office of the Provost, at

Best regards, 

Daniel Linzer