Upcoming graduate student union election

| January 23, 2023
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Note: This letter originally appeared as an e-mail sent to the Hopkins community on January 23, 2023.

Dear Johns Hopkins University students, faculty, post-docs, and staff,

We write today to provide you with information regarding the upcoming election for PhD students to vote regarding union representation at Johns Hopkins.

As we communicated to our graduate students and faculty last month, a group of Johns Hopkins students has undertaken efforts to organize a union of PhD student workers under the name Teachers and Researchers United (TRU). This past fall, TRU organizers announced they had affiliated with a national union, the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE), and began a campaign seeking to become the exclusive bargaining representative for PhD student workers at Johns Hopkins University.

The next step in the process is an election administered by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). On January 30 and 31, all student workers in the proposed bargaining unit will have the opportunity to vote on whether or not the union will become their exclusive representative for the purposes of collective bargaining.

In recent weeks, JHU has been working in cooperation with both the union and the NLRB, the federal agency responsible for administering all aspects of union elections, to iron out details of the TRU-UE representation election. Together with the union, we have identified a list of voters for the upcoming elections, scheduled for January 30th and 31st on the Homewood, East Baltimore, and SAIS-DC campuses. PhD students who are on the voter list are receiving a separate communication with more specific election details.

For our PhD students, the choice of whether to join a union is a personal decision that is entirely up to each eligible voter. The university will not seek to influence that decision or the outcome of the election. As always, we strongly encourage students who are on the voter list for this election to seek out facts and information and the diverse perspectives that enrich our academic community before making this decision. This is an important moment for our university, and for the democratic processes that we value.


Sunil Kumar

Nancy Kass
Vice Provost for Graduate and Professional Education