Your Questions Answered

Who can vote?

The Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) has determined that the vote is open to full-time and regular part-time tenure-stream and non-tenure-stream faculty and librarians in the Provost Area, Health Sciences Schools, and School of Law, employed by the University of Pittsburgh at all campuses in the Commonwealth.

A list of the eligible voters is attached to the election order in alphabetical order.

Who can’t vote?

Faculty in the School of Medicine, people without faculty titles, and people who are considered supervisors or managers.

Find more information about why some faculty members are not eligible to vote.

When will the election happen?

The PLRB will mail the ballots to your home address on August 27, 2021.  

If you do not receive a ballot by September 13, 2021, but you believe you are eligible to vote, you should contact the PLRB to request a ballot by emailing

To be counted, your ballot must reach the PLRB at 651 Boas Street, Harrisburg, PA 17121, on or before Tuesday, October 12, 2021.

How does the election work?

The ballot will contain an instruction sheet directing you how to complete your ballot.  

Do not sign your ballot or make any unnecessary markings on your ballot. 

Place the ballot in the return envelope, sign the outside of the return envelope where indicated, and mail it back to the PLRB. No postage is necessary. 

Do not mail your ballot in the same envelope as another voter. 

What happens if I think that I am eligible to vote and I am not on the voter list?

The voter list is based on the date the University was ordered to produce it, which was in May 2021. If your role has changed since May 2021 or you believe that you are eligible to vote, you can request a ballot by contacting the PLRB via email at on or after September 13, 2021.

When will we know the results of the election?

The ballots will be opened starting on October 19 at the offices of the PLRB in Harrisburg.

How many faculty members have to vote in favor of unionization to result in a Pitt faculty union?

The election’s outcome is determined by a simple majority of faculty who vote by the deadline, just like a political election. The PLRB will be mailing ballots to 3,327 faculty who they have determined are eligible to vote. There is no minimum number of ballots that must be returned for the results to be validated.

Learn more about the PLRB »

Are union organizers permitted to talk to me in the workplace or at my home?

Some faculty members have asked what they can do if they are approached by non-university union organizers on campus or elsewhere, including at their home residence. As part of the PLRB process, the University was required to provide the United Steelworkers with home addresses for faculty members who are eligible to vote so they have the ability to contact you. Faculty members are welcome to speak with organizers if they would like. Union organizers who are not affiliated with the University have the same facilities access rights as other members of the general public. Similarly, union organizers who are University members have the same rights to facilities access as other University members. As a reminder, COVID-19 mitigation measures will impact access to Pitt facilities. 

If Pitt faculty unionized, do I have a choice of whether or not to join the union?

If a union is certified, faculty would be able to choose whether to be members of the union and pay dues or not. However, whether faculty join the union or not, all faculty in the certified bargaining unit would be exclusively represented by the union and their terms and conditions of employment would be governed by what is negotiated between the University and the union. Individual faculty would not deal directly with the University regarding the terms and conditions of their employment. 

Will joining a union change our salary, annual raises, or benefits?

If faculty members vote to unionize, any changes to salary or benefits will be subject to collective bargaining. Pitt cannot predict what the outcome of that would be, as negotiations require both parties to agree to terms. Once the parties reach an agreement, the union’s bargaining team usually submits the proposed contract to the full bargaining unit for ratification. The contract becomes effective if and when ratified by a majority of members.

How was the decision made for United Steelworkers to be the union that Pitt faculty can choose as representative on the election ballot? 

Under Pennsylvania labor law, a union that wishes to represent a group of employees files a petition for representation supported by authorization cards signed by at least 30% of the bargaining unit they propose to represent. In the case of Pitt faculty, the United Steelworkers worked with the Faculty Organizing Committee to collect cards. The PLRB determined that they had met or exceeded the 30% threshold, and faculty in the proposed bargaining unit will now vote on whether or not to be represented by the Steelworkers. 

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