Bargaining Session #2 and Upcoming Events

Happy April, everyone! The cherry blossoms are blooming, and GAGE is bargaining. It's also exactly one year since we signed our Election Agreement! It has been quite a year.

On Friday, the Bargaining Committee met with the administration for the second round of contract negotiations to discuss proposals for union recognition and the university’s commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive graduate community.  

This is just the beginning! In the coming weeks, the Bargaining Committee will be negotiating a range of issues from transparency in hiring, to wages, to a more comprehensive health care plan. Our goal is to realize the vision of a Contract for the Whole Person that we articulated in our Opening Statement and our Bargaining Platform. Based on input from you, we are demanding more than the resources needed to meet the basic needs of everyday life, but the support, transparency, and inclusion that will enable us to thrive.

Your Bargaining Committee can’t do this alone. To win a Contract for the Whole Person, we need members like you to get involved and make your voices heard. The first thing you can do is to sign our Platform Pledge and share it on social media (FacebookTwitter, and Instagram) with the hashtag #ContractPersonalis.

Second, we encourage you to come and share your experiences and priorities as a graduate student worker with members of the Bargaining Committee at one of the town halls that we’ll be hosting over the next few weeks:

If you’re passionate about a particular issue or set of issues, you can also join a Contract Working Group (CWG) and work directly with the Bargaining Committee to craft the proposals that we will be presenting to the administration on issues like Healthcare, International Student Issues, and Working Conditions.

Working toward a more inclusive and equitable campus takes time and requires allies. Fortunately, there are existing groups and initiatives at Georgetown that graduate workers can support, like the Georgetown Solidarity Committeethe Hoya Hub, and the Students for GU272. The Students for GU272 has placed an initiative to establish a legacy fund for the descendants of the 272 enslaved men, women, and children Georgetown sold in 1838 on the ballot in the GUSA elections on Thursday, April 11. We know from our experience as graduate workers how important it is for people to have a voice in their community. If you know or are friends with any undergraduate students, you can encourage them to vote on the 11th.

Finally, you can support the Bargaining Committee by volunteering with our Communications Team (these emails don’t write themselves!) or becoming a Department Organizer (DO) and talking with your colleagues.

If you want to learn about getting involved in any way, big or small, email the Organizing Committee at GAGEorganizing@gmail.com. Bargaining a contract can take a long time and demand a tremendous amount of work, but we have seen what we can achieve when we come together and organize as a union and a community. Organizing works!

Spring Schedule of Listening Sessions

Happy spring! As the flowers bloom, so does our union. Honestly, we’re all just happy the sun is shining again.

Your Organizing Committee has been hard at work putting together a series of listening sessions and events designed to answer your questions and hear your stories. As we continue supporting our Bargaining Committee, it is our mission to keep our members informed and actively involved in our work. GAGE is for all of us, and we couldn’t do this without you.

Our first listening sessions are scheduled for this week and are designed specifically to address the concerns and hear the stories of Masters student-workers across campus. GAGE is proud to represent graduate workers in the McDonough School of Business, McCourt School of Public Policy, Walsh School of Foreign Service, School of Continuing Studies, the Medical Center and across departments in the Graduate School of Arts & Science. 

If you are a Masters Student-Worker or know one, come share the experiences as a TA, an RA, or an instructor of record with members of our bargaining team and discuss what issues you think need to be addressed in our contract so we all may THRIVE!

Masters Student-Worker Listening Sessions

Tues, March 26th, 4:00 - 4:50 pm (ICC 231)
Wed, March 27th, 1:00 - 1:50 pm (Car Barn 205)

Support Our Bargaining Team

Friday is our next day of contract bargaining. We have organized two events to support our team and celebrate our progress. Come join us in the morning before we meet with the administration for caffeine and conversation, and then later in the afternoon for drinks, camaraderie, and a campaign update:

Coffee/ Tea Pre-Bargaining
Fri, March 29th, 12:00 - 12:50 pm (ICC 105)

Bargaining Kick-Off Happy Hour
Fri, March 29th, 4:00 - 6:00 pm, (Bulldog Tavern)

April Events

GAGE succeeds in part because we are comprised of student-workers with a range of backgrounds and needs. Recognizing our diversity as a source of strength, we have organized a number of other town halls and listening sessions. We want to hear from all of you. Please mark your calendars:

International Students Listening Sessions
Wed, April 3rd, 4:10 - 5:00 pm (ICC 118)

Healthcare Listening Session
Wed, April 10th, 4:10 - 5:00 pm (ICC 662)

Working Conditions Listening Session
Wed, April 17, 4:10 - 5:00 pm (ICC 118)

We could not do this without graduate student-workers like you. Show your support for GAGE and our bargaining platform by signing our pledgeWe deserve a Contract for the Whole Person so that all of us can THRIVE.

Our first day of bargaining!

Our Bargaining Committee met with the administration for two and a half hours yesterday to formally begin the process of negotiating a contract that reflects our contributions to Georgetown. Joined by graduate employees from across the university, we read our opening statement that communicated our shared desire for a contract that promotes our health and security, for a contract that empowers us to build vibrant intellectual communities through scholarship and service, for a contract that addresses the whole person.

Our meeting with the administration represents a milestone for our union and our community. Over the past three years, we have seen repeatedly what we can achieve when we organize and work together to advance our interests. Our organizing persuaded Congress in November 2017 to reconsider its plans to tax the tuition waivers that allow many of us to pursue a graduate degree. Our organizing convinced the administration in March 2018 to sign a historic agreement to hold a union election under the auspices of the American Arbitration Association (AAA). And our organizing carried us to victory last November, when 83.7% of participating graduate employees voted “GAGE Yes”! Organizing works.

As the committee indicated in their opening statement today, our bargaining platform will be A Contract for the Whole PersonCura personalis, or “care of the person,” is one of Georgetown’s nine core values. A contract for the whole person will insist upon transparency, emphasizing material issues pertaining to health and remuneration as a means of securing greater inclusionvitality, and equity. Under our contract, we will THRIVE.

Our Plan to Win

We know that if we want to achieve a contract that lives up to these values and addresses our needs, we need the support of graduate employees like you. The first thing that you can do is sign our pledge to support our union and our elected bargaining committee as we work together to deliver a contract for the whole person.

You can also be a part of our campaign for a just contract, we have a few other ways that you can step up and get involved:

  • Once you sign our Pledge, you can share the news and encourage others to join you on social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). We’re asking members to use the hashtag #ContractPersonalis.

  • You can join our Communications Team if you’re interested in shaping our message and connecting with other like-minded organizations at Georgetown or around Washington, DC.

  • You can support the Bargaining Committee directly by joining a Contract Working Group and delving into critical topics like wages, healthcare, working conditions, non-healthcare benefits, and international student issues.

If you want to get involved in our campaign for a contract for the whole person, you can email the Organizing Committee at GAGEorganizing@gmail.com. We’ll be hosting a number of listening sessions this semester in order to keep this process as democratic as possible, so keep your eyes peeled for future announcements both over email and social media.

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:


HUMANITIES/LANGUAGES

Matt Dearstyne

Marya Hannun

Ari Janoff

Michael J. Lawrence

Deidre Nelms

Gerald Taylor

NATURAL SCIENCES, MATHEMATICS, COMPUTER SCIENCE, & ANALYTICS

Melissa Collier

Vaughn Shirey

Casey Zipfel

SOCIAL SCIENCES

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.