My name is Maile, and I’m a PhD Candidate in the Civil Engineering department, also on the bargaining team. I’m reaching out to announce the results of the contract ratification vote. After three days of voting, Graduate Student Workers (GSWs) have voted 1,874 YES – 429 NO (81.4% YES) to ratify the Tentative Agreement as our first-ever union contract!

I am incredibly proud of this contract and all the work that went into it. Over the past three years, consistent organizing and the efforts of thousands of workers made it possible for GSWs to win a first contract that secures significant wage gains, codifies new protections for those facing harassment and discrimination, and establishes new benefits such as childcare funding and dependent healthcare support, among many other big wins. 

Together, thousands of GSWs built a credible strike threat that forced USC admin to reach a deal that sets a new standard for compensation and workplace protections, both at USC and across the country.

The Fight Ahead: As we enter our exciting next phase as a local union, we have to continue to grow our power and look to the future. Whether or not you voted to ratify the contract, join me in committing to work together to build a strong union. For the next round of contract negotiations, it will be critical that GSWs are organized and ready to fight to win an even better contract – with higher compensation and even stronger rights and protections.

Over the coming months, GSWs will be signing up for membership in the union, crafting bylaws, and electing an executive board and department stewards — all while organizing our peers to educate them on the new rights and protections guaranteed under the contract. 

Graduate Student Workers are building something special here at USC. Stay tuned for more information on the path ahead, and have a great remainder of your week.

In solidarity,