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Discussion Guide

As faculty and staff members, it is important that you educate yourself and ensure graduate students feel that they can freely express their opinions about unionization without scrutiny or repercussion. This guide offers several suggestions to help you navigate your interactions and conversations with graduate students as we engage around this issue.


Because graduate students have now unionized, the University and the union are required to engage in collective bargaining over pay, benefits and other working conditions for graduate students in the bargaining unit. This negotiation began on June 5, 2023 and will continue until a collective bargaining agreement is finalized.

During this interim period between the union election and the ratification of a collective bargaining agreement, the University must maintain the status quo with respect to graduate student “terms and conditions of employment.” Generally speaking, this means that the University cannot unilaterally change aspects of graduate students’ appointments (including pay and benefits) without prior discussion with the union.

During the status quo period, faculty and staff members have the same right to speak freely and express opinions about unions and unionization, as long as they avoid threats, coercion or promises of benefits. See the TIPS (Threats, Interrogation, Promises, Surveillance) information below.

TIPS Information
No Threats No Promises
Don’t make explicit or implied threats or treat students differently because they support or oppose a union. Don’t threaten adverse consequences as a result of graduate student unionization. Don’t make explicit or implied promises of good things to come if students withdraw support from the union.
No Interrogation No Surveillance
You can listen if students want to talk to you about unionization, and you are free to express your opinions (subject to the TIPS rules), but don’t question students about whether or not they support the union. Don’t eavesdrop when students discuss the union/unionization.

Faculty and staff members also should not engage in “direct dealing” with students about pay, benefits or other working conditions, nor should they discourage or prohibit students from discussing terms and conditions of their appointments.

Faculty and staff members can and should continue to engage with their graduate students as they have in the past and hold them to the same academic and performance expectations as before. This includes assigning duties, setting work schedules, evaluating performance and providing feedback, and addressing misconduct.

Questions? Submit them here.