First, a reminder that on February 15 and 16 we will be voting to form our union, GSWOC-UAW! By voting “yes” to form a union in this election, we will be able to officially bargain with USC administration and send a strong message that Grad Student Workers want a say in our working conditions. Details about voting locations and voting times are available here on our website, and you can also read about some of the many reasons thousands of GSWs support forming a union.

On Friday, Vice Provost Andrew Stott restated that USC opposes us forming our union. This decision comes despite hundreds of grad student workers calling on USC administration to remain neutral. Grad students at Universities like HarvardColumbiaMITWPI, and more have all voted to form unions in recent years – despite these same tired arguments from University administrators. Universities seem almost desperate to paint unions as “outside third parties” rather than engage with graduate student employees at the bargaining table.

GSWOC-UAW is grad student worker-run, grad student worker-led. Voting “yes” to form a union means that we, as grad student workers, will be able to elect a bargaining team (made up of grad student workers), collect feedback (through surveys, town halls, etc), draft and vote on initial bargaining demands, and then all participate in the process of bargaining a contract with USC. Once a proposed agreement is reached, all grad student workers will have the opportunity to vote on whether or not to ratify the agreement.

It is incredible to us that USC would suggest that everything is fine and that collective bargaining would not benefit us. Through thousands of conversations and surveys with GSWs in all departments at USC, we know the opposite is true. GSWs face discrimination, bullying, and abusive conduct – but often suffer through it because of the lack of options for real recourse. No GSW makes a living wage at USC, and USC has had no qualms about freezing our wages for years in the past. GSWs that need serious dental care or dependent health insurance are out of luck at USC. International grad student workers are threatened with termination, and would benefit from better legal and structural support. A union allows us to unite together and address these, and many other, issues faced by GSWs.

Joining UAW, alongside over 100,000 other academic employees, also gives us more power to improve all of higher education. As more Graduate EmployeesPostdocs, and Research Scientists vote to form unions we are raising the standards for all of higher education together.

You can read about some of the many reasons that GSWs are voting yes here. Full information on polling locations, times, and eligibility is below – we strongly encourage everyone to vote. If you would like to get involved with boosting turnout for the election, please fill out this form or just reply to this email.

We are also holding the following upcoming events, all of which are great to attend if you have any questions or feedback:

  • GSWOC-UAW HSC Pizza Lunch – Wednesday, Feb 8 at 12:00 pm at Broad Lawn (RSVP)
  • GSWOC-UAW Coffee Hour – Thursday, Feb 9 at 1:00 pm outside of Annenberg Hall (RSVP)
  • GSWOC Town Hall  Thursday, Feb 9 at 5:00 pm in EEB 132 and on Zoom (RSVP)

Voting Information
Wednesday and Thursday, February 15-16th (8 – 11AM, 12 – 3PM, and 4 – 7PM)

Wednesday, February 15th (9:30 – 11:30AM and 2 – 4PM)


  • Working as a Teaching Assistant, Research Assistant, Assistant Lecturer
  • On a Training Grant (e.g. NIH T32 or T90 training grants)
  • In a STEM department and on an internal fellowship (e.g. Dornsife or Viterbi)

Eligible under challenge:

  • On an external fellowship (e.g. NSF GRFP)
  • Fellows in the Marshall School’s PhD Program in Business Administration Concentration in Management and Organization in the Micro Organizational Behavior track

In solidarity,

Tristan McPhail, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
Andrew Stewart, Philosophy
Ellen Herschel, Psychology
Julia Stal, Population and Public Health Sciences
Kritika Pandey, Sociology
Brian Kim, Computer Science
Maile McCann, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Piril Nergis, Electrical and Computer Engineering
James Eichenbaum, Biomedical Engineering
Meg Tiller, Religion
Ashwin Rao, Computer Science