Columbia objects to vote for graduate students to unionize

Columbia University is challenging a vote by the Ivy League school's graduate teaching and research assistants to unionize.

The university filed the challenge with the National Labor Relations Board last week, regarding the Dec. 9 vote authorizing the United Auto Workers to represent Columbia's graduate students.

Graduate student unions are common at public colleges across the country. In August, the NLRB ruled that private universities must treat graduate assistants and researchers as employees.

Columbia argues that voter coercion from union agents and supporters skewed the vote and that the National Labor Relations Board should invalidate it.

Union officials say Columbia filed the challenge as a delay tactic in yet another effort by the university to ignore the democratic process.