My name is Wes Wise, and I’m a third year in the Mathematics Department. I’m also on the GSWOC-UAW bargaining team. During yesterday’s bargaining session, USC admin returned key counterproposals on Wages and Benefits, as well as Nondiscrimination. The full version of all articles passed are available on the tracker, but I want to highlight a few key things below.
- GSWOC-UAW economic package: Fair wages, accountability for late pay, $2000 childcare subsidy, support for dependent healthcare costs, adequate parental and sick leaves
- New USC admin response on wages: 0% additional raise ‘23/24, below-inflation “raises” until 2027, no accountability for late pay
- New concessions from admin:
- 2x their original childcare funding
- More dependent healthcare funding
- Industry-leading guaranteed parental leave
- Dental and healthcare premiums covered for all GSWs
- Five days of sick leave
- USC admin’s Nondiscrimination proposal: GSWs do not deserve timely and independent protections from discrimination and harassment
- GSW pressure is working – Commit to vote YES in the Strike Authorization Vote on October 24th–26th to show USC admin they need to get serious about a fair wage and real recourse
Nondiscrimination: USC admin’s latest proposal on Nondiscrimination still includes a clause stating that any protections from workplace abuse guaranteed in the contract will not be grievable. This essentially means not enforceable.
USC admin’s position is that virtually everything should be grievable under the contract, except for workplace abuse. GSWs facing harassment, discrimination, and bullying should not have to turn to internal processes we have no faith in. That’s why 1500 GSWs signed a letter demanding an independent process, and that’s why we rallied for workplace justice back in August. Admin’s first proposal since the letter and rally showed they’re still not listening to us.
Wages: USCs second proposal on wages fell far short of an acceptable offer. USC admin is still proposing a 0% additional increase this year, with raises in subsequent academic years at 2% for following years. This means every Graduate Student Worker struggling to pay rent, buy food, and live in this city will receive no additional support this year, and every additional year, graduate students will fall further behind as inflation outpaces our raises.
Parent GSW Benefits: Through mass action, Graduate Student Workers have won notable improvements on dependent healthcare and childcare support. Codifying guaranteed paid parental leave (one semester guaranteed per child) is a major win. In addition, winning more support for GSWs who are parents has been a major priority, and USC admin’s concession to provide additional funding is very encouraging. Still, USC administration needs to go further on childcare subsidies — a major priority for GSWs.
The Strike Authorization Vote is from the 24th to the 26th. A strong YES vote sends a message to USC admin that if they don’t make drastic improvements on these proposals, GSWs will be forced to walk off the job later this semester.
The next bargaining session will be this coming Monday, October 23rd. RSVP here to attend. Let’s keep fighting for a fair wage, a just workplace, and a strong union at USC – what we GSWs are doing is working, and it’s going to empower us to win a historic first contract.