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Our Platform

Count on Us to Protect Grads!

We’ve been fighting for grads since our union was founded. Rithika and Kaity led the Bargaining Committee (BC) that wrote the contract, negotiated with administrators, and worked with grads across campus to ensure that Brown commits to our rights. Siraj and Max helped win a year-long funding extension, better insurance for dependents, and more childcare days for working parents while serving on the BC. Dennis organized the campaign to found our union, and Audrey mobilized members in support of a fair contract. Our slate includes experienced department organizers like Corinne, Keenan, and Sherena, and newer member-leaders, like Ana, Carin, Claire, Jared, and Talie who will represent grad interests across a wide range of experience and perspective. We’re focused on working towards a collective vision with new members and fresh ideas. 

Our union will be back at the negotiating table later this year. When that time comes, we want the union to be a strong organization based on teamwork. Our slate will work to defend and improve the contract, build supermajority membership numbers, and protect grads’ rights at work. Here’s how we do it:

  • Strengthen a grassroots democratic institution.

We will maintain the gains we’ve won and work toward an even better tomorrow. To do this we need to build power among graduate workers. This power comes from a strong, active union membership who are willing to take action together. This is why we will work to grow union membership to 80 percent of all graduate workers by the end of this academic year. We need an elected union representative (or “steward”) in every department, looking out for and coordinating with their colleagues. By building out these structures of leadership and responsibility throughout our union, we will achieve the clarity and transparency a democratic organization needs. 

A strong institution requires organizing and working across the entire university community. We need our union to fight for grad representation on every University decision-making committee. Brown has demonstrated that they would like to circumvent our new contractual rights by keeping many master’s workers just under 20 clocked hours per week.  Brown even paused graduate admissions in many departments suggesting that funding for graduate work could be even more scarce in coming years. More than ever, we need to unite all campus workers: we commit to work with adjunct workers (Contingent Brown) and unionized workers at Brown, as well as Brown workers who have not yet organized, to build a broader, integrated labor movement on campus which includes staff, undergraduate workers, contingent faculty, and postdocs. 

  • Enforce and expand hard-won rights and protections at our diverse workplace.

We will grow an active and knowledgeable membership to ensure that the environments where we research, teach, and study support grad-worker success. Our union won a strong contract that guarantees fair standards for wages and working hours, protects us from discrimination and harassment, and fortifies our health insurance coverage, as well as that of grad workers’ children and other dependents.  With a contract in place, the union’s grievance procedure is a legally enshrined process to protect grad-worker well-being and redress violations of labor rights. Enforcing the contract requires vigilance, and Action at Work will build grad-worker power to effectively pursue grievances and make our contract even stronger. A contract with formal protections and an organized membership attentive to violations are both crucial to face the ongoing economic crisis, the Trump Administration’s continued attacks on international students, and the racism and sexism that pervades our institutions.

Action at Work will channel grad-worker power to build a community where everyone, especially Black grads and grads of color, feels confident that they can succeed in a safe and secure environment at work. This July Ana helped coordinate our union’s role in a national campaign that successfully overturned the ICE rule, particularly threatening for grads of color in the international community. Dennis recently led four successful campaigns for Rhode Island State House and will put his knowledge and experience to use to make our members’ voices heard at the local, state, and national levels of government. We aim to work with on-campus with coalitions like Grasping at the Root to make our workplace safe without policing, stand against the inclusion of police officers in the AFL-CIO, and collaborate with other graduate unions around the country to fight any visa restrictions for international students, including proposed changes to limit the duration of F, J, and I visas and restrictions on freedom of political affiliation. We believe that organizing higher education is the key to resisting these repressive state practices.

  • Protect our community from the ongoing pandemic.

The leaders of our Bargaining Committee—the leaders of our slate—put pandemic-related needs first and foremost in bargaining: funding extensions, treatment coverage, and better insurance. That’s how we won a year-long extension for most grads, one of the few provisions of its kind in the country. As labs reopened, Audrey came together with other concerned lab workers to form our union’s COVID-19 Self-Defense Group.  By organizing beyond the contract campaign, we have won better PPE access, TA choice to teach online, and regular testing for campus workers. Corinne, our candidate for Lead Organizer for Life Sciences, continues to demand no more COVID spread on campus as GLO’s advocate on the University’s Reopening Committee. Meanwhile, Kaity has been hard at work on the COVID-19 Extension Committee, fighting for the broadest application of the policy possible, and under her leadership every 7th year who applied for the extension received it. We have the commitment and creativity of every candidate on our slate to confront the manifold emergency facing grad labor.  We’ll use the grievance procedure to hold the University accountable for unsafe work environments, and at the negotiating table, we’ll fight for the COVID-19 extension to apply to even more grads.

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