My name is Maggie, and I’m a PhD Candidate in the Sociology department. I’m writing with an update on interim union leadership and the path forward for contract implementation.
SETTING UP OUR LOCAL UNION: Now that Graduate Student Workers (GSWs) have ratified our first-ever union contract, it’s time to set up our local union! Establishing a local union as part of the UAW will give GSWs the ability to create a governance and organizing structure that empowers us to enforce our contract and build a strong union. Early in the Spring semester, our Graduate Student Worker union will officially be chartered as the UAW’s newest local – likely, as UAW Local 872. (872 is the alphanumeric telephone number for “USC.”)
INTERIM UNION LEADERSHIP: In order to begin the process of establishing a local in the UAW, a union must have workers appointed to five positions: President, Vice President, Recording Secretary, Financial Secretary, and Treasurer. Last week, the bargaining team voted to appoint five bargaining team members to stay on as interim union leadership, who will serve on an interim basis in these five positions until executive board elections take place in the Spring. Having interim leadership will also help GSWs hit the ground running in the new year and ensure that we can enforce our new contract immediately.
I am proud to be one of the five members of interim union leadership! Below is the full list.
- President: Maggie Davis, Sociology
- Vice President: Anna Weiss, Marine & Environmental Biology
- Recording Secretary: Maile McCann, Civil and Environmental Engineering
- Financial Secretary: Megan Cassingham, Chemistry
- Treasurer: Bryan Byrdlong, English
Under the UAW constitution, executive board elections take place in May, but we plan to request an early election date, likely during the month of April. All members will be eligible to vote in executive board elections.
Before holding executive board elections, GSWs must democratically decide on bylaws, which will determine the structure of union leadership, organizing, and governance. The Spring semester will also mark the beginning of our union’s membership drive! The membership drive will officially launch in January, but if you’d like to get in early and sign up to be a member now, you can do so here.
CONTRACT ENFORCEMENT: Finally, an important reminder about Spring semester fees. Even if they show up on your account, do not pay them. Our new union contract guarantees remission of all mandatory university fees, as well as the Student Health Insurance fee and the Dental Insurance fee. If the fees are still listed on your account balance by the first day of the Spring semester, contact firstname.lastname@example.org and a member of elected leadership will work with you to contact the relevant administrators and begin the process of resolving the issue.
For any and all other contract violations, reach out to leaders in your department and/or contact email@example.com. To learn more about your rights under the new union contract, stay tuned for campuswide and department contract training sessions, and make sure to read the contract in the meantime.
I’m so proud of how far we’ve come, and excited to begin the next stage of setting up our union and implementing our new contract. Have a restful holiday!