My name is Wes Wise, I’m a third-year in the Mathematics department and a member of the GSWOC-UAW bargaining team. I’m emailing you with an update on bargaining after last Thursday’s session. To get a full picture of yesterday’s negotiations, you can use the bargaining tracker and the bargaining portal. The next bargaining session will be held on August 10th (RSVP here).

First, I’m delighted to deliver the news that the bargaining team reached a critical and historic agreement on Grievance & Arbitration. This article establishes a fair and independent process for Graduate Student Workers (GSWs) to enforce our contract, including the right to an independent and impartial arbitrator when USC’s internal processes fail. For the first time ever, GSWs who have experienced injustice in the workplace won’t be forced to go through a resolution process that is solely under USC’s control. The second TA of the day, on Workweek, will ensure that GSWs can use the grievance process when we’re being forced to work unpaid hours.

The new Grievance and Arbitration article underscores the need to win strong union rights that empower GSWs to pool our resources, win a clear recognition article, and build the organizing network necessary to enforce our contract through the grievance process. The TA on Grievance & Arbitration also highlights the necessity of winning strong nondiscrimination protections against workplace harassment, discrimination, and bullying — so that GSWs can use the grievance process to see justice.

Despite the bargaining team’s proposals on these issues in a packed bargaining room last month, USC admin is still yet to make a counterproposal on nondiscrimination, union rights, or immigration & work authorization. 

Admin will not cave to GSWs’ demands unless we build enough power to force them to. If enough of us GSWs show we’re willing to fight for these issues, it will translate to big wins at the bargaining table.

Have a great week!

In solidarity,