Community Petition for Neutrality Towards Bates College Employees Unionizing

Community Petition for Neutrality Towards Bates College Employees Unionizing

976 have signed. Let’s get to 1,000!
Petition to
President Spencer and Trustees of Bates College

Why this petition matters

Started by Friends of BESO

Dear President Spencer and Trustees of Bates College, 

We are writing as Bates alumni, former faculty and staff, and community members to ask that you not interfere with non-tenured and non-tenure track faculty and staff who are forming their union. 

Over the weekend, a strong majority of contingent faculty signed union authorization cards indicating their interest in forming the Bates Educators & Staff Organization (BESO). However, union authorization cards continue to be signed; we understand that there has been interest and participation from workers across all offices and departments at the college. As you know, the process of forming a union requires several formal steps, each of which entails opportunities for eligible employees to discuss and decide for themselves -- both individually and collectively -- whether to come together formally as a union. It is up to each individual whether to sign a union authorization card, and whether and how to vote in an NLRB-sponsored union election. If a majority of votes support unionization and a first contract is reached through collective bargaining with the Bates administration, each individual can decide whether to officially join the union as a dues-paying member.

We believe it is vitally important that employees’ autonomy be respected as they deliberately and democratically navigate each of these decisions. Alarmingly, employees in some of the most vulnerable, lowest-paid positions have already reported facing increased workplace surveillance and an atmosphere of fear brought about by the administration. We call upon the Bates administration to refrain from any such attempts to influence employees’ choices. 

Specifically, we call upon you to:

  • Commit to neutrality as our employees continue to exercise their right to talk to their coworkers about forming their union, and as they move toward a formal election;
  • not spend any college funds to engage in anti-union activities designed to mislead, dissuade, coerce, or otherwise influence employees, as the Bates administration did in 1999 when 75 dining workers attempted to unionize; and
  • officially recognize their union should the National Labor Relations Board certify that a majority of union-eligible employees have chosen accordingly.

In the coming days, BESO will deliver a formal neutrality agreement for your signature. We, the undersigned alumni and community members, request your commitment to the word and spirit of that agreement: to respect employees’ right to unionize without disruption or interference by or at the behest of management. 

976 have signed. Let’s get to 1,000!