WHAT HAVE OTHER GRADUATE UNIONS WON?

NEW YORK UNIVERSITY:

  • Stipend increase of 38% for those making the minimum and a 15% increase for those making more than the minimum

  • Elimination of health insurance premium sharing (a savings for grads of about $1,000 per year), and improved dental coverage

  • Protections against having appointments withdrawn at the last minute

  • Increased child care subsidies and the establishment of a fund to cover up to 75% of family healthcare premiums

UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT:

  • Promotional stipend increases upon achieving Masters Status and PhD candidacy

  • Guaranteed maternity and paternity leave

  • 50% discount on parking

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN:

  • Guaranteed tuition waivers

  • Healthcare coverage extended for entire enrollment year

  • Job security against arbitrary terminations

  • A $2,500 subsidy for the cost of health care coverage for a spouse or family members, and guaranteed parental leave

UNIVERSITY OF OREGON:

  • Employer pays 95% of premiums, including for family coverage

  • An assistance fund for grads facing financial hardship, and SEVIS reimbursement for international grad students

  • Up to $360 reimbursement of visa costs for international grad students

Union Difference: Healthcare 

Over the past year and a half, GAGE members have had hundreds of conversations with graduate workers about issues that matter to them. We will be launching a series of Union Difference pieces around the issues that matter to graduate workers and opportunities to plug into our union.

Union Difference: Healthcare 

The first thing we’ve discovered is that there is widespread dissatisfaction with Georgetown’s health insurance benefits. Here’s what we’ve heard: the plan imposes high out-of-pocket costs on graduate workers; it lacks dental and vision care; family and medical leave is virtually non-existent; birth control options are limited; and mental health care is expensive. The plan also has numerous vague and confusing restrictions that make it difficult for graduate workers to understand the basic details of their coverage.

Georgetown recently made some changes to our health insurance that address issues that graduate workers have raised over the past year. We welcome these changes, but we know that the administration can still do better. We also know that having a union is crucial for winning healthcare coverage that meets our needs. Here’s how other grad unions have won better coverage:

  • At the University of Michigan, the employer pays 100% of dental coverage. Grads also pay a maximum of $700 per year for mental health services and may enroll an unlimited number of dependents in the health insurance at no additional cost.

  • University of Washington Seattle lowered the maximum amount grads can be asked to pay in out-of-pocket costs per year to $1,200 (compare that with our $5,000 out-of-pocket maximum).

  • New York University’s contract lowered the annual deductible to $100/year (ours is $200/year) and made dental coverage available at no additional cost to graduate workers.  

  • Brandeis’s new contract contains improvements to mental health care, including a pilot program to embed mental health counselors in graduate spaces on campus (so that grads don’t have to worry about running into their students in the waiting room).

GAGE needs you to join us to fight for better health care. We know that our power to win better coverage is directly related to how much support we have among graduate workers. The more members we have -- and even better, the more active members we have -- the greater our leverage with Georgetown.

We Filed for Our Election on Oct 15th!

We are excited to announce that on Monday we officially filed for our election to form our union at Georgetown. 

GAGE is forming a union organized by graduate workers and for graduate workers. Our mission is to ensure better living and working conditions for graduate workers across departments and disciplines. We’re a supportive and diverse community that looks out for each other because we recognize that graduate school can be a daunting experience at times. In the last year, we’ve lobbied against local and federal legislation that would harm our community, pressured the university administration to improve our benefits, held rallies and community-building events, and spoken with hundreds of graduate workers about their experiences at Georgetown.

The election is fast approaching! It will be held early-to-mid November...

What does this really mean?

1. It means we are reaching out to every graduate worker who is a eligible to become a member and vote. You can become a member by clicking here!

2. Join us on the Car Barn Patio for some warm beverages and snacks, to find out all of the details for our upcoming election and to make your Vote Yes Plan!  Members will also be able to pick up their GAGE coffee mugs! RSVP HERE!

What: GAGE Election Filing Party

When: Thursday October 25th 5 - 6pm

Where: Car Barn Patio

3. Get involved! We need volunteers to work as GAGE poll observers during the election and help reach out to every graduate worker.

GAGE Office Hours

Do you have questions about the election? Want to learn more about forming a union? Here's your chance! 

Thursday Oct. 18th at 11 - 1pm in the ICC Atrium

Monday Oct. 22nd at 12 - 1:30pm in Lauinger Library 2nd floor

Thursday Oct. 25th at 5-6pm on the Car Barn Patio

Election Update: We delivered our intent to file!

On Monday we notified Georgetown of our intention to file for an election with the American Arbitration Association (AAA). This means we have initiated the process to have an election for our union this fall.

This is a great day for every graduate worker at Georgetown. If you have been waiting for this announcement to get more involved with our campaign, now is the perfect time to volunteer to become a Vote “Yes” captain (VYC), a poll watcher, or a department organizer (DO) 

An election only represents the end of the beginning for us. Our ultimate goal is to negotiate the best possible contract for graduate workers at Georgetown, one that truly values our contributions to the university as teachers, researchers, and graduate assistants. That’s why we want to win this election with the largest possible majority because we know that it will strengthen our position at the bargaining table. We are having every member fill out a Priorities Survey so each of our voices can be heard.

Although we cannot predict the exact form the administration’s response to our announcement will take, we know that as long as we stand together we will prevail. No employer wants to cede power over important topics such as sexual harassment and misconduct, stipends and hourly wages, health insurance, parental and family leave, and international worker support to their workers, and the past year has shown us that Georgetown is no exception. But, whenever the administration has tried to deny our right to decide for ourselves whether we want a union or to change the terms of our employment without any warning, we have seen time and again that our unity gives us strength and power.   

This development comes after more than a year of intensive organizing, during which we have spoken with doctoral and master’s students across campus about their experiences as graduate workers at Georgetown, That’s why it is important for graduate workers to get involved in our campaign. We will be contacting every GAGE member individually in the coming days, and we need everyone to help however they can. 

Two easy ways to get involved:

1You can start by completing your Priorities Survey.

2. Volunteer to become a poll watcher, a Vote “Yes” captain, or a department organizer.

In Solidarity,

The GAGE Organizing Committee

We Signed An Election Agreement!

Organizing works.

Since GAGE announced that a majority of graduate workers at Georgetown supported the formation of a graduate union five months ago, we have repeatedly seen what we can achieve when we join together to fight for our interests. We saw it last November, when we mobilized with thousands of graduate students across the United States to oppose the Grad Student Tax. We saw it again less than a month later, when we gathered on Red Square to demand that Georgetown recognize our moral and legal right to decide for ourselves whether we want a union. Our efforts ultimately convinced the administration to begin negotiations with GAGE for a union election through the American Arbitration Association (AAA).

Today, we are happy to announce that GAGE-AFT and Georgetown have signed an agreement to hold a graduate unionization election under the auspices of the AAA. This agreement, the first of its kind between a private university and a graduate union in the United States, guarantees that, when we win, the administration will come to the table and bargain with us on the issues that matter to graduate workers at Georgetown, including wages, health care, family leave policy, fee and tuition waivers, and grievance procedures. To find out more about our agreed upon mandatory subjects of bargaining check them out here. This is not an exhaustive list of things we will bargain over, it's just the first step.

It is hard to exaggerate the significance of this agreement for graduate workers both at Georgetown and across the nation. Just five months ago, Georgetown denied that we were workers and refused to bargain with us for a union election. The administration also signaled its willingness to ask President Trump’s anti-labor appointees to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to overturn the 2016 decision allowing graduate workers to unionize. Today’s agreement with Georgetown is the direct result of the pressure that we have exerted together with our community allies through rallies, petitions, flyering, social media, and other actions. This agreement not only lives up to Georgetown’s commitment to just employment but also sets a precedent that graduate unions at other private universities across the country can follow as they continue their battle for recognition. Again, organizing works.

Of course, an election agreement is not the same as a contract. And while we will celebrate this victory and the end of the semester at a barbecue at TBD on Friday, April 20, there is still plenty of work ahead. We need a big turnout for the election to place us in the strongest possible position for bargaining. That means motivating every one of our members to show up at the polls and vote “Yes.” Consequently, we will continue to build our support among graduate workers and reach out to faculty, alumni, undergraduate students, and other members of the Georgetown community. To help GAGE win its election campaign, you can either talk to your department organizer or email us at GAGEorganizing@gmail.com.

In the meantime, though, let’s celebrate!