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Letter regarding graduate student unionization election

Melissa Nobles and Ian Waitz write to share the results of an independent unionization election held on MIT’s campus.
MIT seal featuring two individuals and "science and arts" and "mens et manus" on a white background

The following letter was sent to MIT graduate students, and subsequently shared with the wider MIT community, today by Chancellor Melissa Nobles and Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate and Graduate Education Ian A. Waitz.

To MIT graduate students,

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has counted the ballots from the graduate student unionization election held on our campus earlier this week — an election in which 75 percent of the 3,823 eligible graduate students cast ballots. 

Of the counted ballots, 1,785 students (66 percent) voted in favor of representation by the United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America (UE), while 912 students (34 percent) voted against the union.

We are grateful to the many members of our community, on all sides of the debate, who have engaged constructively and respectfully in this conversation. Throughout this process, we have been heartened by our community’s clear commitment to the well-being and success of our students. 

Indeed, as we wrote to you during this campaign: We agree that there are areas where MIT can improve, and we share many of the same goals as the MIT Graduate Student Union. With the election outcome now clear, we will continue to work alongside you to improve MIT for all of our students. And we congratulate the current and past members of the MIT GSU on their four years of dedicated work that culminated in this election.

In light of the outcome of this vote, in the coming months, MIT’s representatives expect to meet with MIT GSU and UE leaders to begin good-faith negotiations over the terms and conditions of employment for the members of this bargaining unit.

Of course, the Institute must serve all of its students, in every school and academic program. MIT has 12,000 students, and the union will represent less than one-third of them. We will continue to uphold our responsibility to every student, both those who are represented by the union and those who are not.

Students are at the heart of MIT, and all of us who lead the Institute are dedicated to ensuring that every student benefits from every opportunity that our campus has to offer. We look forward to continuing that work together with you. 


Melissa Nobles

Ian A. Waitz
Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate and Graduate Education

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