(Ongoing legal) actions speak louder than words

letter to the editor

In Monday's Chronicle piece, the administration broke a month’s long silence about their position vis-a-vis our ongoing unionization campaign. The administration is back to issuing statements that reflect an altogether different reality from that in which we are all currently operating.

After filing for elections with majority support of graduate workers, the DGSU hoped to spend the month of March in GOTV. Instead, we spent the month fighting Duke lawyers for our right to hold elections.

Now in an illuminating twist, Chris Simmons, vice president for Duke government relations, says that the administration – champions of democracy after all – are simply invested in ensuring elections are accessible and don’t burden busy voters.

To the DGSU and the majority of Duke grads who filed election authorization cards, this is a fascinating revelation given that – were Duke not actively fighting our right to unionize – Duke workers would have already voted at a far less busy or space-strapped point in the semester.

It’s doubly fascinating given that – if it is not clear to readers – the administration is still actively working to strip all graduate students at private institutions of the right to hold union elections.

Like the old saying goes, talk is cheap. And in this case, legal actions speak: Duke’s ongoing NLRB challenge – whether in good faith or out of election-suppressing foot-dragging – is quite literally all readers need to know about the administration’s commitments to workplace democracy.

The doors of redress remain open: Duke could voluntarily recognize our union, or follow word with substantive action by dropping the NLRB challenge and committing the basic resources needed to hold elections now.


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