We have a Bargaining Committee!

We have a Bargaining Committee! We are proud to announce that the following individuals have been elected to represent us at the table in contract negotiations with the administration:


Matt Dearstyne

Marya Hannun

Ari Janoff

Michael J. Lawrence

Deidre Nelms

Gerald Taylor


Melissa Collier

Vaughn Shirey

Casey Zipfel


Robert Cortes

Brent McDonnell

Avram Reisman

Daniel Solomon

George Koichi Wong

This moment is one that we have worked for ever since we started organizing nearly three years ago. As we have said on multiple times, the ultimate goal of our campaign is a contract that both reflects our needs and aspirations as graduate workers and values our contributions to Georgetown as research assistants, teaching assistants, and instructors of record. This election brings us one step closer to that goal.  

However, the Bargaining Committee can’t win a contract on its own. To win the best possible contract for graduate workers at Georgetown, the Bargaining Committee will need your support. In the coming weeks, the Bargaining Committee will work with our Contract Working Groups (CWGs) to develop proposals that address the issues you--and hundreds of graduate workers like you--raised in our Bargaining Survey, including increased compensation, dental and vision coverage, expanded health insurance, lower out-of-pocket expenses for health insurance, and countless others. The Bargaining Committee will also coordinate with the Organizing Committee (OC), as it continues to empower graduate workers and speak with them about their experiences at Georgetown.

Now is the perfect time for you to step up and get involved. We have repeatedly seen what we can achieve when we join together to fight for our interests.Organizing brought us to this moment--and organizing will win us the contract we deserve. If you would like to join a working group or become department organizer, you can contact the Organizing Committee at GAGEorganizing@gmail.com.

In Solidarity,

The GAGE Election Committee

Voting is open for our Bargaining Committee!

Now is the time for you to make your voice heard. Last week we closed our Bargaining Survey. The top four issues flagged by respondents were (1) increased compensation, (2) dental and vision coverage, (3) expanded health insurance coverage, and (4) lower out-of-pocket expenses for health insurance. But, as we looked through people’s responses to the survey, we were startled to learn 44% of respondents have skimped on food or skipped meals altogether due to cost, 19% said they've experienced discrimination, harassment, or interpersonal hostilities on the job, and 69% said that they've skipped or delayed medical care because of cost or lack of access.

These results underscore why we voted by a margin of 555-108 (83.7%) to unionize last November.

 Voting will be open until 5 PM on Thursday, February 7. You can vote for up to six nominees in each category. The top six vote-getters in each category (where possible, including at least one master’s and one doctoral nominee) will be elected to the BC. The Election Committee will announce the results of the election on Friday, February 8.

In the coming months, the BC will meet with representatives from the administration to negotiate a contract that truly reflects your contributions to Georgetown and addresses the issue that you--and hundreds of graduate workers like you--raised in our Bargaining Survey. It is important that we hear from as many graduate workers as possible as we continue our campaign for graduate worker rights at Georgetown. Now is the time for you to make your voice heard.

Notice of GAGE Bargaining Committee Nominations and Elections

Notice of GAGE Bargaining Committee Nominations and Elections

From Friday, January 25, 2019, until 5 PM on Thursday, January 31, 2019, nominations for the Bargaining Committee (BC) will be open. The BC will be composed of graduate employees tasked with meeting university administration to negotiate our contract as graduate employees. Our goal is to have a large, diverse bargaining committee that reflects a wide range of disciplines, demographic groups, and experiences as graduate workers at Georgetown. Participating on this committee is an excellent opportunity to make a difference for all graduate employees, including research assistants (RAs), teaching assistants (TAs), and instructors of record.

The Responsibilities of the Bargaining Committee

Membership on the BC is a real commitment. Members of the BC will be responsible for the following tasks throughout the bargaining process:

  1. Working to win a contract that serves the interests of the whole membership;

  2. Meeting at least one (1) time per week throughout the bargaining process.

  3. Becoming the experts of particular issues and topics to be negotiated;

  4. Strategizing bargaining table tactics;

  5. Attending and participating in all bargaining sessions with the administration;

  6. Working with the lead negotiator to write contract language with support from working/research groups on specific issues (mostly draft the bottom line); and

  7. Liaising with both the Organizing Committee (OC) and the General Membership (GM).

The Composition of the Bargaining Committee

The BC will consist of 12-24 members, ideally including at least three (3) from each of the four (4) areas listed below, and including at least one (1) master’s and one (1) doctoral graduate worker in each category (where possible).

Each graduate program is categorized based on the classification scheme that Georgetown uses. To see which category your program falls under, click here. Please note that Biomedical Graduate Education is included in Category 1: Natural Sciences, Math, Computer Science, and Analytics.

Natural Sciences, Math, Computer Science, Analytics: Biochemistry, Molecular, and Cell Biology, Biology, Biostatisticsc, Analytics, Global Infectious Disease, Chemistry, Computer Science, Physics, Microbiology, Tumor Biology, Pharmacology, IPN/Neurosciences, Health Physics, Nursing, Physiology, Math and Statistics, Biohazards

Humanities, Languages: Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies, Arab and Islamic Studies, German, Linguistics, Spanish and Portuguese, English

Social Sciences: Economics, Government, History, Psychology, Conflict Resolution, Democracy and Governance, History, Global Health, Communications, Culture, and Technology, Learning and Design

Professional Master's: School of Foreign Service, MBA, Public Policy, International Development Policy, Data Science/Public Policy, Finance, Professional Studies, Emergency Management, Higher Education Administration, Applied Intelligence, Other Master's programs in School of Continuing Studies

Who Is Eligible to Nominate or Be Nominated?

Graduate workers who (a) are working this semester as an RA, a TA, or an instructor of record or may work in one of those roles in the Fall 2019 semester and (b) have signed a GAGE membership card are eligible to nominate and be nominated for election to the BC. This includes GAGE members who are not currently working as an RA, a TA, or an instructor of record or who do not presently know whether they will be holding one of these roles in the fall. Self-nominations will be accepted.

(Becoming a member of GAGE is always welcome, and please sign the GAGE membership card if you want to have a voice in the bargaining process!)

The Nomination Process

The nomination and election process will be overseen by the Election Committee (EC), which will consist of three (3) to five (5) volunteers from the OC. To make a nomination for the BC, individuals should contact the EC at GAGEOrganizing@gmail.com no later than 5 PM on Thursday, January 31, with the name, email address, and department of the person you wish to nominate. The EC will contact all nominees to verify whether they accept their nomination and complete a brief candidate questionnaire (see below).

Candidates are also encouraged--but not required--to attend one or both of the GAGE General Assembly meetings (Monday, February 4, from 5 to 6 PM in ICC 118 and Tuesday, February 5, from 3 to 4 PM in Car Barn 309) where they will have an opportunity to briefly address those members in attendance.

The Election Process

Nominees who accept their nomination will become a candidate for the BC and run in the election. To accept a nomination and become a candidate for the BC, individuals will be asked by the EC to complete a brief candidate questionnaire. Details on the questionnaire include their name, department, year, master’s or doctoral classification, role as a graduate worker (i.e., RA, TA, or instructor of record), the issues they care about, strengths and any other factors that they would like to share about their personal background or experiences. Candidates will also be asked to provide the EC with a photograph. This information will be posted on the GAGE website so that members can learn about candidates prior to voting.

Voting will take place online using an electronic ballot designed by the EC and will be open at the end of the two General Assembly meetings, and on Wednesday, February 6, and Thursday, February 7. Graduate workers who (a) are working this semester as an RA, a TA, or an instructor of record or may work in one of those roles in the Fall 2019 semester and (b) have signed a GAGE membership card are eligible to vote. This includes GAGE members who are not currently working as an RA, a TA, or an instructor of record or who do not presently know whether they will be holding one of those roles in the fall. Each voter will be asked to provide their name in order to verify their eligibility. Eligible voters can vote for up to six (6) nominees in each category. The top six (6) vote-getters in each category (inclusive of at least one master’s and doctoral nominee, where such nominees exist) will be elected to the BC.

Results will be announced by the EC on Friday, February 8.



  • 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


  • Promotional stipend increases upon achieving Masters Status and PhD candidacy

  • Guaranteed maternity and paternity leave

  • 50% discount on parking


  • 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


  • 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.