Hearings on graduate unionization effort conclude

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — On Wednesday (Sept. 13), seven days of hearings concluded before a hearing examiner appointed by the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board related to the petition filed by the Pennsylvania State Education Association to unionize Penn State graduate students.

More than 20 witnesses testified about graduate education at Penn State. Faculty from across the University testified that graduate students, including students who have their graduate education funded on assistantships, are engaged in teaching and research that are part of their degree programs. Penn State believes that graduate students are here to be students, not employees.

A schedule for submission of post-hearing legal briefs is pending. Following submission of those briefs, the hearing examiner will determine whether to dismiss the petition or order an election for some specified group of graduate students. If there is an election, either side can appeal the results. Ultimately, the courts may have to decide this unsettled issue of Pennsylvania law.

Information about the unionization process under Pennsylvania law and FAQs for Penn State graduate students, faculty and staff are available at

Questions about the hearings or unionization process should be directed to

Last Updated October 23, 2017