We are graduate student teaching and research employees at the University of Pennsylvania forming a union to improve our working conditions at Penn and to strengthen our collective voice as teaching and research assistants locally and nationally.
As graduate student workers, we make essential contributions to the world-class teaching and research conducted at Penn. However, many of us still struggle to pay high housing and other costs in Philadelphia, lack secure rights in the workplace, and face increasing uncertainty about our futures given the precarious nature of higher education and unstable regulation of visas and work authorization for international student workers.
We have already seen the power of organized student workers at major institutions to dramatically improve their working conditions through unionization with United Auto Workers, including student workers at Columbia, Harvard, and NYU. By building on the experiences of our peers at other universities, we can continue to raise standards for student workers across U.S. higher education.
We join a growing national movement of graduate student workers and other academics forming unions to improve our lives and our work. Student workers organizing with the UAW across the country have made a difference advocating for science research funding, fair visa and immigration policies, and better working conditions in all academic institutions.