Groups withdraw objections to vote

by Jennifer Niemela

At the request of faculty groups, state mediators on Friday dismissed complaints about the Academic Health Center’s November union vote.
The American Association of University Professors and the University Faculty Alliance on Thursday withdrew their objections to the vote in which the AHC elected not to join the union drive. The objections included two charges of unfair election practice.
A status quo order, which had been in place since October and served as gag order on the Board of Regents, was also lifted. The Bureau of Mediation Services also officially reinstated the results of the election, which were 229 in favor, 478 opposed, and 281 abstaining.
In a letter to University President Nils Hasselmo, the AAUP and the faculty alliance said they withdrew the objections, which had been filed with the state-run BMS. The objections included claims of administrative misconduct during the drive to recruit the AHC into the University’s union drive. The AHC voted not to join the rest of the University, excluding the Law School, in the drive for a faculty union.
In their letter, the AAUP and the alliance said their resources would be better spent on maintaining strong faculty support than pursuing claims of unfair election practices. The two groups have said so far they will not dispute the results of the faculty union election, which took place earlier this month.
“We weren’t happy about withdrawing the claims,” said Tom Walsh, chairman of the alliance. “But the AHC has lots of concerns they want to talk over with (president-elect Mark) Yudof and we didn’t want the charges to stand in the way of that.”
The letter to Hasselmo maintained that administrators acted improperly during the AHC union drive. It cited an e-mail message sent by administrators to AHC employees urging them not to vote for a union.
Walsh said another reason for the withdrawal was that the groups felt the threat of the charges and the recent faculty union vote, defeated by only 26 votes, already had the desired impact on the administration and the Board of Regents.
“As bad as their behavior was, we felt we had sent them a clear message,” Walsh said. “It’s time to get on with things.”