Unionization at Bates: Making an Informed Decision

Last Updated: December 16, 2021

On Wednesday, Oct. 13, the college received formal notice from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that the petition filed on Oct. 4 on behalf of non-tenured and non-tenure-track faculty, instructors, and lecturers had been withdrawn. The Maine Service Employees Association, SEIU Local 1989, filed a new petition on Oct. 8, seeking to represent all non-tenured and non-tenure-track faculty, as well as all staff at Bates, who are not managers, confidential employees, guards, or supervisors.

On Dec. 16, the college received a formal decision and direction of election notice from the Region 01 office of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The NLRB determined that the bargaining unit at Bates will include the following groups of employees: “all non-tenure and non-tenure track faculty and all staff.” Bates employees excluded from the unit will be “all tenured and tenure track faculty, confidential employees, managers, guards, and supervisors” as defined in the National Labor Relations Act.

The election will be conducted by mail. The NLRB will mail ballots to the home addresses of all eligible voters at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022. Those employees who believe that they are eligible to vote and do not receive a ballot in the mail by Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022, should communicate immediately with the National Labor Relations Board by either calling the Region 01 Office at (617) 565-6700 or their national toll-free line at 1-844-762-NLRB (1-844-762-6572).

To count in this election, eligible voters must return their mail ballots to the NLRB so that they are received in Boston by the close of business on Friday, Jan. 28, 2022. Ballots will be counted virtually by a designated agent of the NLRB at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 31, 2022.

The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) allows both employees and employers to share information openly about what it means to be represented by a union and to express viewpoints, pro and con. In its role as an educational institution and to answer the many questions raised by Bates employees, the college is providing basic information on this site for eligible voters to get a comprehensive and accurate understanding of what it means to be represented by a union, including the employment conditions under which a union operates. The college’s goal is to support every member of our community as they make their decision about being represented by a union.

For many of us, this is new information to process, so we expect new questions will emerge and as they do, the college will update this site regularly.