Breaking News

Breaking News

Vote No for Now to SEIU

Ballots mailed on Monday May 15th, 2017

Must be received BEFORE June 6th, 2017

Your Vote is Your Voice
Opposing SEIU Union Representation


Dear friends,

Below is a message I wish I didn't have to write.

Yesterday, a ballot was mailed to you asking whether or not you would like a union to represent your Blair contract.  When I first heard about unionization in January, I was in favor of it.  But then I had the chance to follow this case more closely, to participate in the National Labor Relations Board hearings, and to meet the people involved.  Doing so changed my mind profoundly.

Here are some facts to know:

- Peer-reviewed scholarship demonstrates that academic unionization actually decreases faculty satisfaction with workload (Krieg, Wassell, et al., PDF attached)

- The specific union seeking to represent you, SEIU, has a history of bully behavior and troubled finances - see, or ask the many Blair faculty who have been harassed at their private homes.  SEIU's primary expertise is in healthcare and fast food, not academia.

- By contrast, the American Association of University Professors ( has an established track record in academia, and membership in their union is individual and voluntary.  I personally know people whose jobs AAUP has saved.  If you want a union, this is the one you actually want.

Only mark your ballot "yes" if you definitely want this particular union - which was simply the first one to knock on your door - to represent you.  But if you're undecided, or if you'd like to have more time, or if you think unionization is a bad idea, or if you think unionization is a good idea but want to research all your options, or if you honestly don't care - vote no Abstaining allows the minority to rule. 

I sincerely wish I didn't have to bother you with this message during your summer.  I would never write you unless it were a matter of lasting importance to our common workplace and my own beloved alma mater.  

But sadly, turning in a "no" ballot is the only way we have left to keep an outside entity from permanently changing Blair.

Respectfully yours,

Joshua McGuire 
Senior Lecturer in Musicianship
Blair School of Music
Vanderbilt University

Dear Faculty,

With the SEIU vote around the corner, I wanted to share my own thoughts and experiences that will lead me to vote No to unionization.  What drew me to Vanderbilt was a model in which non-tenure track faculty fully participated in the running of the university, were governed by the same rules in the faculty manual, and could serve on committees alongside tenure track colleagues. I believe that a vote to join the SEIU puts much of that at risk. Under our current system, we can act in our own interest and are free to discuss teaching and service with our department chairs, just like our tenure track colleagues. I believe that negotiating through a third party will constrain us and ultimately affect our ability to serve our University.  We don’t know what the terms of a contract negotiation will be, but this process has the potential to greatly affect the flexibility that we have as faculty and stands in the way of those of us seeking to be part of a single Vanderbilt faculty.

I understand that there are real questions that have been raised by some of my non-tenure track colleagues, but a yes vote is a permanent decision that could change our relationship to the university forever. If you are not certain that unionization is the only answer or that the Service Employees International Union is the right organization to represent all of us, please join me in voting no.


Alissa Hare

Alissa Hare, Ph.D.
Senior Lecturer
Vanderbilt University
Department of Chemistry