Georgetown University graduate workers voted YES (555 to 108) for our union!
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Protections against having appointments withdrawn at the last minute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
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 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!
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
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:
The GAGE Organizing Committee