Inserting a union representative in the relationship between students and faculty could impair the flexibility needed to create the optimal educational experience.
Lab hours, selection of teaching assistants, research activities, and other areas could become subject to negotiation, limiting the ability of students and faculty members to make decisions based on their view of what is best for the student’s academic experience.
If a majority of voters choose unionization, then all students in the bargaining unit will be in the union and pay dues or fees to the union. Even if individual students were to vote against unionization, they would still have to pay dues or fees and be represented by the union because of the majority vote.
The union has a strong financial incentive to unionize WashU students and likely will earn millions of dollars from WashU students in coming years should the vote to unionize win. The union has indicated that WashU students would pay dues equal to 2.5% of their stipend.
History at other universities indicates that promises made by unions during unionization campaigns often don’t materialize.
The NYU graduate student union negotiated modest annual pay raises for research assistants of 2.25–2.5%. Yet this is less than the average stipend increase of about 2.75% WashU graduate students already receive, and the gains at NYU were largely offset by union dues equal to 2% of students’ income.