Bargaining Committee Elections

GETUP-UAW will hold an election from July 8th at 9am EDT to July 12th at 5pm EDT to determine who will serve on our bargaining committee for our first contract. 

The GETUP-UAW Bargaining Committee will be composed of nineteen Penn graduate student workers as follows:

    • 4 Biomedical Graduate Studies (BGS) members
    • 4 School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) members
    • 4 School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) members
    • 4 members total from the following schools: Wharton School, Annenberg School for Communication, Weitzman School of Design, Graduate School of Education, Penn Carey Law, School of Nursing, and the School of Social Policy & Practice
    • 3 additional at-large members

Who are the nominees for the bargaining committee?

Four graduate student workers from both BGS and SEAS accepted their nominations. They are elected by acclamation to the bargaining committee. The candidates elected by acclamation are as follows:

Biomedical Graduate Studies:

    • Emily Aunins (Cell and Molecular Biology – Microbiology, Virology, and Parasitology)
    • Peter Bailer (Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology)
    • Oishi Bardhan (Immunology)
    • Austin King (Cell and Molecular Biology – Genetics and Epigenetics)

School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS):

    • Eli Fastow (Materials Science and Engineering)
    • Sam Layding (Chemical and Biological Engineering)
    • Isabel Navarro (Bioengineering
    • Anne-Marie Zaccarin (Electrical and Systems Engineering)

Eight graduate workers from SAS and six graduate workers from the Professional Schools (Wharton School, Weitzman School of Design, Graduate School of Education, Penn Carey Law, School of Nursing, and the School of Social Policy & Practice) and the Annenberg School of Communication accepted their nomination. The following 14 nominees are running for the remaining eleven positions:

School of Arts and Sciences:

    • Griffin Brewer (Political Science)
    • Zoe Fallon (History)
    • Sam Herrmann (Religious Studies)
    • Ezra Lebovitz (Comparative Literature)
    • George Lin (Psychology)
    • Clancy Murray (Political Science)
    • Jonathan Nadraws (Chemistry)
    • Lizeth Lopez Vazquez (Chemistry)

Professional Schools (Wharton School, Weitzman School of Design, Graduate School of Education, Penn Carey Law, School of Nursing, and the School of Social Policy & Practice) and the Annenberg School of Communication:

    • Clara Abbott (Literacy Studies, Graduate School of Education)
    • Kal Brown (Communication, Annenberg School of Communication)
    • Adina Goldstein (Teaching Learning, and Teacher Education, Graduate School of Education)
    • Jonas Peeters (Finance, Wharton School)
    • Lauren Perry (Law and Philosophy, Carey School of Law and School of Arts and Sciences)
    • George Porter (Law, Carey School of Law)

You can learn more about the candidates and read their candidate statements at this link.

How will the election work?

The election will determine which eleven of these 14 candidates will be elected to the Bargaining Committee. The election will take place online. Ballots will be sent via email to eligible voters on July 8th at 9am EDT. Eligible voters will be able to cast ballots for any 11 candidates. The four candidates from SAS and the four candidates from the Professional Schools and Annenberg who receive the most votes will be elected. The next 3 candidates from any school receiving the most votes will be elected to the remaining at-large seats.

Who is eligible to vote?

All Penn graduate and professional students who provide paid research or instructional services for the University (including those who serve as Teaching Assistants, Teaching Fellows, Research Assistants, Research Fellows, Pre-Doctoral Trainees, Student Workers, and Educational Fellowship Recipients) will be eligible to vote in the election. Penn graduate and professional students who have previously provided paid research or instructional services or will in future years are also eligible to vote. 

You must have signed a GETUP-UAW authorization card in order to be eligible to vote. Eligible voters who have not yet done so must fill out an authorization card prior to 11:59pm EDT on Friday, July 5th in order to be eligible to vote. If you haven’t yet signed an authorization card, you can do so now at this link.

What are the rules around electioneering?

    • Neither Union nor Employer funds may be used to promote the candidacy of any candidate in a union election. This prohibition applies to cash, facilities, equipment, space, vehicles, office supplies, copy machines, etc. This includes the funds/resources of any and all unions or employers. Union supporters may not campaign on time paid for by the Union or the Employer. Employees of the UAW may not campaign on time paid for by the UAW.
    • Candidates may request to inspect (not copy) the list of union supporters once prior to election. No candidate may receive a copy of the list or copy information from the list. To arrange an inspection of the list, send a written request via email to
    • Candidates and others may not use official union lists for the purpose of campaigning. They may use their own personal lists for campaigning.
    • Campaign literature, print or electronic, may not use images commonly associated with the Union or the Employer (e.g., the UAW wheel, GETUP-UAW logo, Penn logo, etc.).
    • Supporters may campaign for the candidate(s) of their choice without being subject to penalty, discipline, or reprisal of any kind.

Candidates from the School of Arts and Sciences

Griffin Brewer

Graduate Group: Political Science
School: SAS
Email Address: gpbrewer95 [at] gmail [dot] com

I’m a third year Political Science PhD student studying the dynamics of collective bargaining for public sector unions. If selected for the bargaining committee, my top priorities will be increasing graduate student stipends and securing (at least) an additional year of guaranteed funding.

Zoe Fallon

Graduate Group: History
School: SAS
Email Address: zoefallon456 [at] gmail [dot] com

My name is Zoe Fallon and I am beginning my 3rd year as a PhD student in History. I’ve been involved with GETUP through organizing the History department as well as the International Graduate Student Worker Committee. In that committee we have worked to further international students’ involvement in the broader organizing effort and which, as we move into the bargaining stage of the campaign, will take on a renewed importance. I hope to use what we have learned from previous work to ensure international students’ specific goals are met in a contract.

International student workers make up approximately 1/3 of the total, making this a fundamental issue in the contract negotiation process. There is an extra degree of precariousness that affects our working conditions. Anyone who was here at the start of the pandemic will be aware of the uncertainty and insecurity resulting from being dependent on our employer for our visa status. That was just the extreme case of a precariousness that continues at the heart of the problem uniting all international students.

As well as precarious status, international students face problems stemming from working in an unfamiliar and potentially unwelcoming environment. Some examples of goals raised by international students are: receiving time and resources to travel home, support for costs relating to visas and English language tests, and assistance with finding and obtaining housing. As we move forward with bargaining, I hope we can create a more complete set of demands and work to enforce them.

Sam Herrmann

Graduate Group: Religious Studies
School: SAS
Email Address: srherrmann15 [at] gmail [dot] com

Hello fellow Union Members! My name is Sam Herrmann, and I’m a rising third-year PhD student in the Religious Studies Department in SAS. I’m running for the GET-UP Bargaining Committee first and foremost because I want to participate in making our workplace safer and more equitable for myself and my colleagues. We can achieve this through bargaining for better wages and benefits, stronger protections against abuse, and ensuring that Penn is invested in programs and projects we are proud of.

My communication skills and commitment to active listening make me a good candidate for the Bargaining Committee. I hold a BA in communication, have ample experience with public speech and debate in various formats, and have been an active organizer for GET-UP. These skills will be important when communicating our needs to the administration during bargaining. More importantly, I would aspire to hear as many workers’ perspectives as possible in order to best represent all of our needs. This especially means engaging with special interest groups throughout the union, such as people of color, disabled workers, and international workers who have historically experienced particularly difficult working conditions. I do not presume to know every detail of my colleagues’ experiences, and therefore recognize that this position demands an attentive ear if we hope to have a contract that benefits everyone.

Despite what is sure to be a difficult round of bargaining, I look forward to playing a part in securing the best contract possible for all workers in our unit.

Ezra Lebovitz

Graduate Group: Comparative Literature
School: SAS
Email Address: ezraleb [at] sas.upenn [dot] edu

My name is Ezra Lebovitz, and I’m a rising second year PhD student in Comparative Literature.

I’m running for BC because I’m excited to work towards a strong and equitable first contract that safeguards our collective interests. My hope is to negotiate concrete victories that can benefit graduate workers right now, in addition to supporting our union as we continue building power.

Some items that are particularly sharp in my mind going into this process: protections from and recourse against harassment, retaliation, and discrimination; ensuring members have security, support, and community in times of need; workplace accessibility and accommodation; right to protest and political speech; looking out for the interests of international and FG/LI grad workers and those with dependents.

These negotiations mark a pivotal moment with repercussions not just for our union, but also for all Penn and Philadelphia workers, and for the broader unionization wave in higher education right now. My aim is to take full advantage of this opportunity to win an excellent, robust contract that can form the basis for organizing victories for years to come.

Always happy to talk more about myself/the union/etc; please feel free to get in touch with any questions, general BC/union thoughts, or just to chat!

George Lin

Graduate Group: Psychology
School: SAS
Email Address: glin0927 [at] gmail [dot] com

My name is George Lin (he/him) and I am a (rising) 2nd year graduate student worker (GSW) in Clinical Psychology. I have been organizing with GETUP-UAW since August 2023 having been passed the torch when I started my program from an older graduating organizer in my department. Since then, I moved up from a turf leader to a field coordinator representing the Department of Psychology (School of Arts and Sciences) and have been heavily involved in managing turf leadership and spearheading organizing events leading up to our recent election win (yay!). Over time I became more and more heavily invested in representing our efforts as GSW’s both within and outside my department and I would like to continue to focus this passion towards the next steps as a member of the bargaining committee.

Within psychology I work on research that gives power to minoritized voices, something which echoes the direction I desire to take with my clinical care. As I have been organizing this past year, I realized that I feel the exact same way in my union efforts as well. Considering the tremendous contributions we make to our university, there is no excuse for many of us to still be falling through the cracks of economic and non-economic support through our institution. Coinciding with this realization I have put in significant effort in developing my knowledge and skills to best represent our voices. I am committed to negotiating for and representing our needs with good faith and will always be the one fighting for our rights and protections. Being a part of the bargaining committee would allow me to leverage the thousands of conversations I have had this past year in hearing the needs of our fellow GSW’s into actionable change.

Clancy Murray

Graduate Group: Political Science
School: SAS
Email Address: memu [at] sas.upenn [dot] edu

My name is Clancy Murray, and I’m a fifth year PhD candidate in Political Science. I have been organizing with GET-UP since spring 2021. Building this campaign from the ground up with my coworkers has empowered me to fight for what we all need and deserve. I’m running for bargaining committee to continue that fight, and because when we fight together, we win together!

In my time at Penn I have spent five semesters working as a TA. Political Science TAs assist with teaching large, introductory classes that draw students from across Penn. My experience TAing taught me that my working conditions are my students’ learning conditions. The mission of education not only demands better working conditions for graduate TAs, but also investment in the lives and education of all students and workers, in Philadelphia and beyond. 

Over my years organizing with GET-UP I have spoken with hundreds of my coworkers about the struggles they face. My coworkers face financial insecurity, lack meaningful recourse against harassment and discrimination, bear disproportionate burdens as international students, struggle to provide adequate care for children and dependents, and generally face a situation in which, as individuals, we are disempowered to make the change we need. 

We all deserve better, and as a member of the bargaining committee I will continue to fight alongside my coworkers and build the power we need to win better lives for all of us!

Jonathan Nadraws

Graduate Group: Chemistry
School: SAS
Email Address: jnadraws [at] sas.upenn [dot] edu

My name is Jonathan Nadraws, I am a 6th year graduate student in the Chemistry Department, and I am asking for your vote to GETUP-UAW’s Bargaining Committee. I bring to the Bargaining Committee my experience in relational organizing. I’ve worked as a Field Coordinator with GETUP for Chemistry (one of Penn’s largest departments) since our card campaign when the department had no dedicated organizers. Since then, I’ve built a network of organizers that led us to supermajority support in our historic card campaign and election and for which I also worked to develop campaign-wide strategy. I’m running so I can do what organizers do best – amplify our voices, the voice of the workers, and empower the rank-and-file members of our union to win a transformational contract.

After having hundreds of conversations with other workers I am keenly aware of the issues affecting graduate workers at Penn. Pay that falls short of a living wage that leaves us scraping by, systemic harassment, discrimination and oppression, unsafe laboratory environments with no institutional oversight, overwork, and the negative mental and physical consequences that follow, lack of support for international workers, workers with disabilities, and those with dependents, and an academic atmosphere dictated by billionaire donors instead of the students, are among these issues. I will do everything I can to work with the bargaining committee to fight for a contract that brings fair and equitable working conditions to all workers and engage a majority of graduate workers across Penn in doing so.

Lizeth Lopez Vazquez

Graduate Group: Chemistry
School: SAS
Email Address: lizethl [at] sas.upenn [dot] edu

I want to be part of the Bargaining Committee, because I want to represent other grad students and professional students. As grad students we devote significant time to research, teaching, recruiting, mentoring, and we deserve fair compensation for our service to the university. At the same time, as students we deserve to feel safe, valued, and respected.

Candidates from Annenberg and Professional Schools

Clara Abbott

Department: Literacy Studies
School: Graduate School of Education
Email Address: abbottclara [at] gmail [dot] com

My name is Clara Abbott (she/her), I’m a PhD student in Literacy Studies at Penn GSE, it’s nice to meet you! 

I hope to draw on my previous experiences as a union rep to represent you on the GETUP-UAW Bargaining Committee. Having started a staff union and achieved recognition at my previous workplace, I am passionate about advocating for the rights of graduate student workers. I believe firmly that as workers, we are stronger together, and I look forward to mobilizing as a collective to get our demands met, from more comprehensive protections for international student workers, to support for parents and families, to more extensive benefits in our contracts. I hope to draw on my experiences in labor organizing spaces to represent the needs you have made clear in our meetings and bargaining surveys. Thank you for your consideration!

Kal Brown

Department: Communication
School: Annenberg
Email Address: brownvk01 [at] gmail [dot] com

My name is Kal Brown, a second-year PhD student at Annenberg. I’m running for the Bargaining committee because I deeply care about the health and security of my fellow Graduate and Professional workers. I believe that our union has the potential to drastically improve the working and living conditions of our constituents and protect our well-being and interests. Pursuing higher and professional education is stressful enough along with the various economic and social crises occurring internationally. I hope to help craft a strong contract that will negate the potentially harmful impact of these factors.

As a queer BIPOC student with many responsibilities outside of my degree, I understand the unique challenges and hurdles that students from marginalized positions face at institutions such as UPenn. As a Bargaining Committee member, I aim to represent my fellow constituents to ensure that we are given the protections that we need, especially during this fraught election period. Protections from harassment, discrimination, and exclusion. These protections are vital to not just queer BIPOC constituents, but to constituents that face challenges related to disabilities and national status. 

Additionally, I strongly believe in reaching out and understanding the various positions that encapsulate our community, and providing solutions and protections that benefit us all. I aim to strengthen the financial support within our contracts to counter the economic strain of the recession, to protect marginalized groups, among unions from discriminatory practices, and to provide greater security for international members and members with dependants.

Adina Goldstein

Department: Teaching, Learning, and Teacher Education
School: Graduate School of Education
Email Address: adinasdgoldstein [at] gmail [dot] com

My name is Adina Goldstein and I am a fourth year EdD candidate in the Graduate School of 

Education. A former public school teacher, I was an active member of our local teachers’ union, which is where I learned just how important it is for bargaining committees to be authentically connected to and representative of their communities. Over the past year, I’ve had the chance to connect with classmates and colleagues across programs, degrees, and even schools, as we came together to build our union. As anyone at GSE can tell you, I love talking to people – and not just when it’s an excuse to procrastinate. I believe that people are at the heart of institutions, and talking to people is such an important part of understanding the institutions we exist within, understanding ourselves, and showing up for each other. As an EdD student at GSE, and a woman of color, I’m especially aware of how important these connections and conversations are as we navigate through institutions that are not historically designed to understand or amplify our voices. Further, I’m acutely mindful of how important it is that our voices and perspectives are and will be within our union. As a member of the bargaining committee, I’m excited to bring my diverse perspective to represent the diversity of all of our perspectives and our priorities as we bargain for our contract.

Jonas Peeters

Department: Finance
School: Wharton
Email Address: jonasp [at] wharton.upenn [dot] edu

As a member of the bargaining committee, I will aim to represent both the economic interests of Wharton students within UPenn and work to expand our benefits. Wharton, as one of the largest professional schools at the University of Pennsylvania, boasts a diverse body of graduate workers with a unique set of needs. Despite a significant recent increase in our stipends—driven by fears of unionization and competition with other unionized schools—there remains a divide among students who supported unionization and those who did not, yet all are now represented by our union. I am committed to fighting for all of us and our shared interests. By prioritizing maximizing economic benefits while minimizing agitation during contract negotiations, we, as graduate students, can insure we have the tools to focus on excelling in our field. Benefits I champion include securing guaranteed stipends as our program durations extend, improving health insurance coverage, lowering deductibles, and indexing stipends. I view the union as primarily an economic coalition, tasked with securing tangible economic benefits for its dues-paying members.

Lauren Perry

Department: Law and Philosophy
School: Carey School of Law and School of Arts and Sciences
Email Address: lauren.c.perry15 [at] gmail [dot] com

My name is Lauren Perry (she/they) and I am a fourth year international graduate student (Canada) in the combined JD/PhD in philosophy program. At Penn, I work as an hourly research assistant and I’ll also be a stipended teaching assistant starting this fall. I’ve been organizing with GET-UP since summer 2022.

Having tight social networks and an understanding of the working conditions across multiple schools means I am well-placed to reflect on how potential contract items will reflect many different kinds of workers. It means I am also prepared to coordinate collective actions and mobilize my coworkers in both schools. During the card campaign, in just over a month I worked with another organizer to double the number of active organizers in law. Together we talked to dozens of coworkers, and we went from 13% of law workers who had signed cards to 55%.

Besides my organizing, I have used my law degree to further workers’ rights and develop research and advocacy skills. I represent low-income Philadelphians who have been denied unemployment benefits in hearings and written appeals pro bono. I also am interning this summer for the New Jersey Attorney General’s Labor and Employment section, where I have worked on wrongful termination and unfair labor practice issues.

My experience organizing with GET-UP across multiple schools, my commitment to my fellow workers, and the skills I’ve developed through my legal work will allow me to serve all workers in winning the best contract possible.

George Porter

Department: Law
School: Carey School of Law
Email Address: george.porter1017 [at] gmail [dot] com

I am a rising second-year JD student at Penn Carey Law and a Research Assistant to a law professor. I was a union steward before law school, I currently work for a union, and I hope to become a union-side labor lawyer after law school. I would be thrilled to use my labor movement experience to help GET-UP and the Bargaining Committee win an excellent first contract.

Unions have been a big part of my life for a while now. I got my first union job at a baseball stadium when I was 19 and quickly realized that people are much better off when they can exercise power in their workplaces. After college, I worked another union job, this time in the federal government, and eventually became a steward. As steward, I internally organized my coworkers to opt in to dues payments and represented them in disciplinary and grievance proceedings.

I enjoyed advocating for my coworkers as a steward so much that I decided to go to law school to do similar work as a union-side labor lawyer. This summer, I am working for Sheet Metal Workers’ Local 19 in Philadelphia. In June, I was part of a small bargaining team that represented Local 19 in contract negotiations with a national advertising company. The negotiations resulted in a highly favorable tentative agreement that is currently awaiting ratification by Local 19 members. I found the bargaining process fascinating and cannot wait to do it again for GET-UP.

Candidates Elected by Acclamation

Emily Aunins

Department: Cell and Molecular Biology: Microbiology, Virology, and Parasitology
School: Biomedical Graduate Studies
Email Address: eaaunins1 [at] gmail [dot] com

Peter Bailer

Department: Biophysics, Biochemistry, and Chemical Biology
School: Biomedical Graduate Studies
Email Address: peterbailer77 [at] gmail [dot] com

Oishi Bardhan

Department: Immunology
School: Biomedical Graduate Studies
Email Address: oishibardhan98 [at] gmail [dot] com

Austin King

Department: Genetics and Epigenetics
School: Biomedical Graduate Studies
Email Address: austin.king [at] pennmedicine.upenn [dot] edu

Eli Fastow

Department: Materials Science and Engineering
School: School of Engineering and Applied Science
Email Adress: ejfastow [at] gmail [dot] com

Sam Layding

Department: Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
School: School of Engineering and Applied Science
Email Address: samuellayding [at] gmail [dot] com

Izzy Navarro

Department: Bioengineering
School: School of Engineering and Applied Science
Email Address: ibn [at] seas.upenn [dot] edu

Annie-Marie Zaccarin

Department: Electrical and Systems Engineering
School: School of Engineering and Applied Science
Email Address: annemarie.zaccarin [at] gmail [dot] com