MIT Chancellor Sends Canned Union-Busting Email to Organizing Graduate Students

MIT Chancellor Sends Canned Union-Busting Email to Organizing Graduate Students

MIT Chancellor Sends Canned Union-Busting Email to Organizing Graduate Students

LaborLab has obtained an email sent from MIT Chancellor Melissa Nobles and Vice Chancellor Ian Waitz to organizing graduate students. The email repeats generic anti-union talking points, which is typical of union-busting campaign's cookie-cutter tactics.

Graduate students at MIT are currently organizing for better working conditions with the support of UE.

The email from Nobles and Waitz uses canned anti-union messaging developed by the union-busting industry. They are the messaging tactics we see in ever single union-busting campaign. Why? Because the union-busting industry is run by uninspired hacks who use the same dirty tricks wherever they go. Examples of union-busting tactics used in the email to graduate students include:

  • "Unionization would swap a collaborative, flexible model serving all graduate students for a rigid approach involving a third party that will represent only a portion of our graduate student body." FALSE: unions are democratically run organizations that allow workers to empower themselves instead of depending on the temperament of their employer.
  • "These proceedings, which required MIT to provide the UE and the NLRB with certain information about our graduate students..." This is a classic. The employer tries to frame a union as an invasive entity, which is rich considering its the workers themselves trying to from a union. The hypocrisy of this argument should not be lost on anyone. The union-busting industry has a long history that extends into the present of spying on and intimidating workers, their friends, and their families.
  • This is probably the most offensive part of the email: "Collective bargaining is a process that can be slow-moving, and it’s often contentious. In fact, in all cases involving graduate student unions at private universities, one to four years have elapsed between a unionization vote and a ratified first contract. In many cases, strikes along the way have interrupted students’ progress toward their degrees." The reason collective bargaining can be slow after a successful organizing drive is BECAUSE of union-busting. In fact, it's a favorite tactic used by union-busters: delay, deflate, defeat. We're honestly shocked Nobles and Waitz just came out and said what they plan on doing in order to break the union.

MIT has been added to LaborLab's Union-Busting Tracker. If you're interested in letting Chancellor Nobles and Vice Chancellor Waitz know that you support the freedom to join together in unions, you can email them at and [email protected]



This report was published on March 10,2022


LaborLab is the only nonprofit watchdog organization dedicated to monitoring the union-busting industry.

Our work depends on small dollar donations. Donate $5 today.