My name is Jackie Johnson, and I’m a 5th-year PhD Candidate in the Cinema and Media Studies department. I’m writing with an update on yesterday’s bargaining session, where USC administration finally made their first economic proposals. Feel free to check out the bargaining portal and tracker for information on individual proposals, and read on for a full update. This will be a longer email, but there is a lot to cover.
- USC admin’s first wages proposal: No wage increase for this academic year, followed by across-the-board 1.5%-2% wage increases in subsequent years, which would be an effective wage decrease due to inflation
- USC admin’s first childcare proposal: $100,000 annual fund for childcare, max $1500 per child per semester (this would fall well short of providing a childcare benefit to every parent)
- USC admin’s first dependent healthcare proposal: $200,000 annual fund for dependent healthcare
- USC admin’s counterproposals on Nondiscrimination and Union Security: still non-existent
- The bargaining team counter-proposed on Immigration, after last bargaining session’s encouraging progress
- Commit to vote yes in the Strike Authorization Vote, which will take place October 24th-26th. Let’s show USC admin that GSWs are prepared to do what it takes to win a fair contract!
In the first bargaining session after the Mass Membership Meeting and after GSWs announced a Strike Authorization Vote, USC administration finally provided a counterproposal on key economic issues. USC administration’s proposal provides some encouraging signs that GSW pressure is working, such as their concession to provide additional financial support for parent GSWs through the creation of childcare and dependent healthcare funds. Through more action, we GSWs can continue to motivate USC admin to make offers that actually meet the needs of GSWs who are parents.
Unfortunately, USC admin offered an insulting and unacceptable proposal on wages. USC admin proposed a 0% raise for this academic year, followed by 1.5%-2% increases each year for the next three years. To be clear, considering annual inflation rates for Los Angeles, USC admin is proposing an effective decrease in stipend for the next three years. We as GSWs have to show that this will not stand, and that we demand a fair wage that allows us to afford the sky-high cost-of-living here in LA.
Furthermore, USC admin has now had GSWs’ proposal on Nondiscrimination for nearly two months and not responded. Thus far, they have maintained a negotiating position that would deny real recourse for workers who face workplace abuse. Admin claims that existing USC offices like Title IX provide sufficient protections, and that issues of discrimination and harassment should be carved out of the grievance process. USC admin’s position is that virtually everything should be enforceable under the contract, except for discrimination and harassment.
The next steps are clear: push USC admin for fair wages, meaningful protections from harassment and discrimination, a strong union, and a childcare subsidy for every parent. An overwhelming vote in favor of authorizing a strike will demonstrate GSWs’ seriousness about winning a fair contract – that we are willing to walk off the job if it means making progress toward a stronger and more just USC.
The next bargaining session will be next Monday, October 16th. The bargaining team will be passing a counterproposal on economics that will include healthcare coverage, parental and medical leaves, fair wages, and childcare subsidies for all parents. RSVP here to attend.