The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


Over 75% of faculty sign union cards, await University response

Carson Gates
Some faculty members at Chatham alongside Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey at the card signing event at East End Brewing in Larimer.

Chatham Faculty United held a card signing kickoff event on Jan. 25. The unionizing effort gained traction among faculty members after the University-wide reorganization this summer. 

Card signing is when employees sign physical cards to show their employer their intent to unionize. 

“This was a grassroots gathering that just started this past semester. A bunch of people seeing a problem and recognizing that we got to come together to solve it,” John Stakeley, assistant professor of management, said. 

Currently, more than 100 cards have been signed by faculty, which is more than 75% of Chatham University faculty members. 

Some faculty members attribute the interest in unionizing to the lack of communication from the University during the reorganization process. 

“We want to get access to information,” Stakeley said. “We are looking for transparency, we’re looking for shared governance. We’re looking for inputs from the faculty, and they actually have some teeth to get things done and solve some problems. … I mean, think about it. The workers, right, the faculty represent a massive amount of experience and expertise. Let’s bring that to bear to solve the problems in the University. We don’t need to go out and hire outside consultants. We have all the expertise right here.”

The faculty attempted to unionize in 2015, but ultimately decided not to. Some faculty members who didn’t support in 2015 are now interested in joining a union. 

“When I first started here in 2015, there was a union movement but I was kind of too new to really be a close connection with. It was good to see that come back around with a little more support and organization and what seems to be more investment,” Carrie Helms-Tippin, associate professor of English and Humanities department, said. 

Mayor Ed Gainey, Allegheny County Executive Sara Innamorato and Councilperson Erika Strassburger attended the event and showed support for faculty members interested in unionizing. 

“The energy is here, but the fight is the fight, right? The fight isn’t just saying, ‘Hey, we want to try to unionize,’” Mayor Gainey said. “If that was the case, we wouldn’t have to go through it, but the reality is this, we know that when you unionize, we get better. So, at the end of the day, if they stay focused on what they got to do to unionize, I believe they’ll win, and whatever we can do from the city to help we’re willing to do.”

The Chatham faculty has also gained support from the Chatham Student Government with a proclamation of support on Jan. 25. The next step in the process toward unionization is to send a formal petition to the administration informing the University of the faculty’s intent to unionize. 

Bill Campbell, Chatham’s vice president of marketing and communications, commented on behalf of the University in November. 

“Chatham has had positive working relationships with existing unions representing employee groups on campus for many years. As an educational community, we encourage anyone to learn more about unions and collective bargaining and believe a comprehensive understanding of these aspects is essential to making well-informed decisions.” 

Follow @communique_cu on Instagram for continued updates on Chatham Faculty United.

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About the Contributor
Carson Gates
Carson Gates, Editor in Chief
Carson Gates ’25 is a Communications major with a concentration in journalism. Carson is from the Buffalo, New York area, and chose Chatham University for its quiet and homey feel on campus, while also being smack dab in a major city. Carson is the editor-in-chief for the Communqiué, and when he writes, he writes primarily for the sports section but has been known to dabble in other areas as well. While being a writer, Carson is the host for the Communqiué podcast in the quad, the "Quadcast." Carson is also a goalie for Chatham's men's ice hockey team. Carson Gates can be reached best at [email protected] or via Instagram or Twitter @gatesy35.

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