Union - Frequently Asked Questions
UNH is making these facts and information available, and will continue to provide updates in the coming weeks, so that you can make an informed decision on voting for or against unionization.
UNH Lecturers Unionization - FAQ's
(updated* December 11, 2013)
- What does it mean to sign a union authorization card?
- If I don't vote in the election or if I vote "no" will I still be represented by the union?
- How is the election conducted? How are the results decided?
- Will unionization impact current roles and relationships between, deans, associate deans, department heads and other University administration?
- Are the parties required to reach agreement on the terms of a collective bargaining agreement?
- Will it cost me anything to have a union as my exclusive representative?
What does it mean to sign a union authorization card?
A union authorization card is a document presented to individuals for whom a union would like to serve as exclusive representative. The document is used to establish one's support for representation by a particular union. The union's goal is to get at least 30% of the people in the group they seek to organize to sign cards. If they are able to do so, then the signed cards are submitted with a Petition to the New Hampshire Public Employee Labor Relations Board (PELRB). The PELRB is the government agency in New Hampshire that is responsible for conducting public sector union elections.
Signing a union authorization card does not obligate the signor to vote any particular way in an election. If a lecturer decides that s/he does not want the union to represent her or him, s/he can vote "no" if there is an election. Any election on whether or not lecturers will have union representation will be conducted by a secret ballot election under the direction of the NH PELRB. If a lecturer does not want to wait until an election to change his/her stance, s/he can revoke a signed authorization card by submitting a revocation of authorization card to the PELRB.
Yes. If the union is certified, after a secret ballot election, as the exclusive representative of contract lecturers by the PELRB, there is no ability for an individual lecturer to "opt out" of being represented by the union, even if s/he did not sign an authorization card, did not vote or voted against union representation.
Elections are conducted by the New Hampshire Public Employee Labor Relations Board. If there is an election, it will be held at a date, time and place to be determined by the PELRB and notices will be posted with this information. It will be a secret ballot election. The outcome is decided by a majority of the votes cast. This means if there are 250 eligible voting members of the bargaining unit and only 100 vote in the election, 51 votes for the union would result in the union becoming the exclusive representative of all 250 members of the bargaining unit.
Yes. If, following an election, the New Hampshire Public Employee Labor Relations Board (PELRB) certifies a union as the exclusive representative of a bargaining unit comprised of all contracted non-tenure track faculty who are appointed as and hold the title of "Lecturer" whose primary responsibility is teaching at UNH's Durham and/or Manchester campuses, the UNH administration would be obligated to deal exclusively with the union concerning wages, hours and other terms and conditions of employment. The administration would be prohibited from having direct interactions with lecturers on these subjects. Some describe this change as a loss of individuality. When a union becomes the exclusive representative for bargaining unit employees it represents all positions in the bargaining unit. This would preclude lecturers from negotiating individual arrangements with their colleges, deans or other members of the administration that take into account their unique circumstances. Collective bargaining negotiations between the university's labor relations representatives and the union's representatives would be the mechanism for establishing wages, hours and other terms and conditions of employment for everyone in the bargaining unit.
No. The parties are obligated only to "bargain in good faith" which means meeting at reasonable times and places in an effort to reach agreement on the terms of employment. New Hampshire law specifically states that "the obligation to negotiate in good faith shall not compel either party to agree to a proposal or make a concession."
If the election results in unionization of UNH's lecturers, it is possible that all lecturers in the bargaining unit will be required to incur some cost. For those who join the union, it will likely be dues. For those who choose not to become union members there is often a "fair share" payment or "agency fee" payment depending on what is agreed upon during collective bargaining negotiations. Dues at AAUP affiliated faculty unions reportedly range from 0.5 to 1% of salary. On average AAUP chapters set dues at 0.75 or 0.8%.
*Additional FAQ's will be added to this list as necessary