We began this week’s meeting with reports from on-the-ground organizing. We’ve also started phonebanking to make sure as many people fill out the bargaining survey as possible.
Our first Workers’ Meal is coming up next Wednesday, August 2nd—we’ll have one meeting downtown at noon, and a second uptown at 6pm the same day. These lunch/dinner discussions will serve as opportunities for research and teaching assistants to come together over food, and discuss important issues that we hope to see addressed by our union through collective bargaining. The topic of the inaugural discussion is Harassment and Discrimination, an issue that cuts across schools and departments. This discussion will serve as an opportunity for workers to share how they have been personally affected by harassment and discrimination in the workplace, hear from other unionized graduate employees, and learn how a union grievance procedure could provide protection for workers in the future. We hope these safe spaces will provide an opportunity for graduate employees to discuss important issues while we continue to push the administration toward the bargaining table. These meals will build to a larger Workers’ Forum on September 20.
Reminder to sign-up for platinum health insurance. We’ll have the bargaining table set up at CUMC on August 1, the date of the health care switch. Uptown graduate workers have historically had the platinum healthcare plan automatically; this year, they can still get the platinum plan for free, but they will be assigned the gold plan by default unless they remember to switch. We’ll be set up with a computer to help everyone remember to switch!
On August 4 at 4pm, we’ll hold our next organizing training—come by and help us build support across departments! We’re also planning our annual summer BBQ for the end of August.
And on Saturday, two members of the bargaining committee went to U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s town hall, where she renewed her commitment to support the GWC in our battle for recognition from the administration. She also acknowledged the clear connection between the fight against sexual harassment and assault on college campuses, and the benefits of a strong contract and clear grievance procedure.