My name is Edie Adams, and I’m a PhD Candidate in the Comparative Studies in Literature & Culture program. I’m reaching out to share some more details about what voting YES to ratify the Tentative Agreement means versus voting NO — and what factored into my decision to vote YES. 

If we GSWs vote YES:

  • We adopt the Tentative Agreement as our first union contract
  • We would immediately be covered by the protections and guaranteed the rights included in the contract, such as protections from unjust termination, paid time off, and the major improvements to protections from harassment and discrimination
  • Spring semester fees covered by the contract would be guaranteed to be waived
  • The $400 lump sum payment would be distributed within 90 days of ratification
  • The immigration legal fund would be established within 90 days of ratification
  • The new childcare and healthcare benefits programs, as well as the stipend increases of 4.5%-12%, would go into effect beginning August 2024

If we GSWs vote NO:

  • We reject the Tentative Agreement and indefinitely delay the ratification of a first union contract
  • Graduate Student Workers would withdraw from previously agreed-upon Tentative Agreements and try to win additional demands at the bargaining table. USC admin could, then, withdraw from aspects of the current Tentative Agreement as well
  • Our ability to win a better contract would be determined by the power we have as workers to force USC admin to give us more
  • Bargaining another Tentative Agreement could take just as long, shorter, or longer than this Tentative Agreement (8 months) depending on Graduate Student Workers’ power
  • There is no guarantee that any new Tentative Agreement, if one could be reached, would be any better than the current Tentative Agreement

I voted yes not only because the raise from $35,700 to $40,000 would help me and others in my department pay the bills and avoid near-constant financial stress, but also because I have watched my colleagues struggle in vain to navigate instances of harassment and discrimination. This contract would give us a clear path forward, granting us the right to file a grievance, increased transparency, and the right to independent arbitration after the Title IX process.

Whether you vote yes or no, I hope we can work together toward building a strong union!

If you want to learn more about the Tentative Agreement, check out the Ratification FAQ and RSVP to the upcoming info sessions, happening:

  • TODAY, December 4th, 3pm (Zoom)
  • TOMORROW, December 5th, 11am (Zoom)

In solidarity,