• Sign up to become a member of our new Local Union! (Membership FAQ here)
  • Fee remission:
  • Upcoming meetings:
    • Organizing Committee: Tuesday, January 16th, 4pm – RSVP here
    • Political Organizing Committee: Wednesday, January 17th – RSVP here

My name is Anna Weiss, and I’m a PhD Candidate and Research Assistant in the Marine and Environmental Biology Department. I’m also the interim Vice President of our union! If you missed the final update of 2023, you can read it here. It contains several important updates you don’t want to miss.

MEMBERSHIP: I’m emailing you to wish you a great first day of the semester, and to let you know that the union’s membership drive is now live! 


Now that Graduate Student Workers (GSWs) have won our first union contract, which enshrines major improvements to our compensationbenefits, and working conditions, it’s time to set up our Local Union and enforce our contract. As part of the United Auto Workers (UAW), our new Local Union here at USC will be the newest addition to a strong and vibrant national labor union representing thousands of workers in both the academic and auto sectors.

Signing up to become a dues-paying member of your union is a direct way you can support and join your fellow GSWs’ collective efforts to win better compensation and working conditions – and enforce our new contract – through building a strong Local Union. Majority membership and participation are the key to building a successful and democratic union. Majority membership clearly demonstrates to the university that a majority of GSWs are committed to improving our working conditions and standing up for our rights. 

I signed up to become a dues-paying member because I know that pooling our resources supports our collective efforts to take on our wealthy and powerful employer and ensure we have the rights and protections we deserve.

Signing up for membership is easy, and should take less than a minute. Members, and only members, have a voice in shaping the union’s priorities, electing and running for union leadership, and participating in union committees. If you have any questions about membership or dues, make sure to check out this helpful FAQ, or reach out to leaders in your department.


USC has been slow to implement the fee remission provisions in the new union contract. The new union contract entitles all GSWs working in the bargaining unit as TAs, RAs, ALs, and STEM fellows to full remission of each of the following fees: 

  1. Student Health Center Fee
  2. Student Health Insurance Fee
  3. Dental Insurance Fee
  4. Student Programming Fee
  5. Transportation Fee
  6. Orientation Fee
  7. Norman H. Topping Student Aid Fund Fee

If you were erroneously charged any of these fees by the University, reach out to the relevant administrator in your department, cite the union contract, and inform them that the fees need to be waived. Do not pay any of the fees. If you accidentally already paid one of the fees, you are entitled to a refund. 

If you experience any issues with fee remission, reach out to your department leaders, email, and/or reply to this email and a fellow GSW will help you enforce your rights to fee remission under the contract.

Finally, a few important upcoming meetings you won’t want to miss:

  • FIRST Organizing Committee meeting of 2024 – let’s organize our fellow GSWs to know their rights under the contract and let’s start our membership drive off strong! 
    • Tuesday, January 16th, 4pm – RSVP here
  • FIRST Monthly Membership Meeting – come discuss union bylaws and learn more about enforcing the contract!
    • Date and Time TBD (announced soon) – late January
  • FIRST Political Organizing Committee of 2024, where GSWs will discuss endorsements for elected officials and begin planning our Local Union’s 2024 political organizing program
    • Wednesday, January 17th, 4pm – RSVP here

Any GSW who has signed up for membership in the Local Union is eligible to participate in these meetings and join these committees.

Have a great first week of the semester! 

In solidarity,
Anna Weiss, MEB