GET-UP’s Recruitment Tactics

Quick Facts

In-Depth Overview

How an organization spreads its message is just as important as the message itself. The methods and practices of a group can tell us a significant amount about how they operate and how they will function in the future.

Unlike our own organization, GET-UP tries to pressure students into joining by showing up unannounced to their labs and even their homes. No other student organization tries to recruit using these methods. We have repeatedly (1, 2, 3) called out GET-UP on their practices. We spread our word by speaking at student government events and hanging up flyers, like any other student-run organization.

Student organization also do not try to shame fellow students. We have had reports of students turning down GET-UP’s authorization cards, and then being accused of not supporting families or other graduate students; insinuating that if you don’t support the union, you don’t support your colleagues. What is even more concerning is that if you want GET-UP to stop bothering you at your home, you have to give them another location to find you.

GET-UP is about building community amongst graduate students, so we still want to talk to you about your union and have included an option to schedule a meeting on the form.


Many students reported that they do not feel that they knew the pros and cons of unionization, and simply signed the card to stop GET-UP from continuing to bother them. Unionization is something that simply can not and should not be rushed until students feel that they have been informed on both the potential benefits and drawbacks.

What is even more disturbing is that GET-UP apparently believes that these tactics are okay since they are trying to form a union. Just because something might legally acceptable, it does not make it morally acceptable.

Canvassing door-to-door is not unusual: is it a staple tactic of any movement or campaign, and is the norm on a large unionizing effort like ours.

What GET-UP fails to mention is that they bought voter registration information to find out exactly where we live. However, the voter registration information does not contain if we are graduate students. We have been informed that GET-UP is most likely cross-referencing the information to Penn’s own directory service, something that is not allowed by Penn. Once they have our personal information, both GET-UP and AFT employees are sent out in order to get signatures.

GET-UP’s recruitment tactics should give us all pause and raise several open questions:

Why is GET-UP pursuing high pressure tactics in order to convince students to join?

How much assistance is the AFT providing GET-UP during canvasing?

Not every student is registered to vote in PA. Several of these students reported have phone calls and house visits as well. How did GET-UP obtain their information?