Successful vote is latest victory in growing grad worker union movement
Los Angeles, CA – By a 93% margin, graduate workers at the University of Southern California have voted 1,599 to 122 in favor of joining the Graduate Student Workers Organizing Committee-United Auto Workers (GSWOC-UAW), according to ballots tallied today by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The victory caps a multi-year effort, with workers standing strong against USC administrators’ anti-union campaign. GSWOC-UAW will represent 3,000 Teaching Assistants, Research Assistants and Assistant Lecturers at USC.
“We are so energized by this resounding vote in favor of our union,” said Stepp Mayes, a Graduate Student Worker in Civil and Environmental Engineering. “The support for our union keeps growing stronger, and we will be bringing this solidarity and energy to the bargaining table. We are confident that our union will be good for us and good for USC, and we look forward to meeting them at the table soon to bargain a contract that makes us all stronger.”
“The status quo has not been serving Graduate Student Workers, and we are thrilled to have won our union and an equal voice in determining our working conditions,” said Maggie Davis, a Graduate Student Worker in Sociology. “Our next step will be to democratically prioritize the changes we plan to bargain for, so we can tackle issues like inadequate pay and health care, a lack of protections against abusive conduct, and insufficient support for international students.”
Over the past two years, more than 20,000 academic workers in California alone have unionized with UAW. UAW now represents nearly 100,000 higher ed academic workers across the country – and more Academic Student Employees than any other union.
“I want to congratulate USC’s student workers on their incredible hard work, and welcome them to the UAW,” said Mike Miller, Director of UAW Region 6. “Like their 7,000 colleagues in the LA-area who have already joined the UAW, they are part of a movement of higher ed workers who are coming together to improve academia. We look forward to working together as they bargain a contract.”
“The UAW is so proud to support these brave workers at USC, and thousands of other academic workers across the country, as they fight for the right to self-determination,” said UAW International President Ray Curry. “Issues like low pay, job insecurity, harassment and discrimination aren’t going away on their own. USC’s workers are building a strong framework for changing how higher ed works for the better. And we are proud to stand with them.”
In just this past year, Research Scientists and Engineers at the University of Washington voted 85% in favor of unionizing with UAW, Mt. Sinai Postdoctoral Researchers voted 89.5% in favor of unionizing with UAW, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute Grad Employees voted 96% in favor of unionizing with UAW.
Learn more about GSWOC-UAW online at www.gswoc-usc.org.
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