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Despite resistance from Duke, DUP Workers Union wins election to unionize

Courtesy of @DUPWorkersUnion on Twitter.
Courtesy of @DUPWorkersUnion on Twitter.

After nearly a year, the Duke University Press Workers Union won its election to unionize on Friday. 

This final vote count comes after a series of requests for review from Duke for a re-run election and subsequent denials from the National Labor Relations Board. 

Employees originally voted in June, with 35 in favor of unionizing, 31 against. A week after the vote count, however, lawyers representing the University petitioned the NLRB for a re-run election, citing “administrative failures” and technical issues during the ballot count. The June election resulted in eight challenged ballots, though five were later dropped. 

In October, the NLRB overturned Duke and DUP leadership’s request for a new election, a decision Duke then appealed again with a request for review. In December, an NLRB regional director ruled against a new election and determined that the three challenged ballots were eligible to be counted. Duke and DUP leadership subsequently requested a review of the regional director’s decision. 

On Feb. 4, the five-member NLRB Board dismissed Duke’s request. A final tally count on Friday, including the three remaining challenged ballots, ended with a majority in favor of unionizing. 

The union noted that Duke had “intent to appeal the results and push for a second election,” according to INDY Week. They asked Duke to drop their appeal, “respect the election results” and “begin bargaining,” according to a Friday tweet.

The DUP Workers Union first went public in March, though Duke did not voluntarily recognize the union. Concerns among employees include low pay, high turnover and frustrations with leave policies. Union members hope to negotiate a $45,000 pay floor for all employees at DUP. They also look to match some of the Duke Faculty Union’s contract, which includes up to one month of paid medical leave and an additional nine weeks of parental leave. 


Milla Surjadi | Editor-in-Chief

Milla Surjadi is a Trinity junior and editor-in-chief of The Chronicle's 118th volume.

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