Standing in Solidarity: Your Guide to the PLRB Hearings

After September 13th, the Penn State administration’s challenge to graduate assistants’ employee status will hopefully come to an end. From September 5th through September 13th, the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) will be hearing from both sides about why (or, apparently, why not) we should be considered employees. Some graduate assistants will be testifying at the hearings, but those who haven’t been tapped for that duty might be wondering how they can help. We’re glad you asked. Below are three simple ways to help CGE and the graduate unionization cause during the hearing. 

1. Attend Events

CGE will be hosting a number of events starting today (Labor Day) that we would welcome your attendance at. The first is the 3rd Annual CGE Labor Day Picnic, which is today from 1-4 PM on the Old Main lawn. This event is open to anyone and is a great way to first get (re)introduced to CGE while eating some delicious food. We’ll be providing sandwich fixings, plates, utensils, and sides, so all you need to do is bring your appetite! 

When the hearings start on Tuesday, September 5th, CGE will be hosting work-ins at both the Penn Stater Hotel (where the hearings are) and at Old Main. The Penn Stater work-ins will be 8 AM-5 PM on the days the hearing is in session (September 5th-8th and 11th-13th) and the Old Main work-ins will take place from 10 AM-4 PM on the same days. Bring your work, grading, or reading to either location to showcase graduate worker labor. The Penn Stater can be reached for no cost from the main campus via the Red Link, or you can carpool and take advantage of free on-site parking. Also, don’t forget to wear red to show solidarity!

2. Bring Friends and Co-Workers to the Events

We want to show the Penn State administration and PLRB just how much support CGE has, so bring a friend, an officemate, or a co-worker to the picnic or the work-ins – the more the merrier! We’ll also be having a special CGE Solidarity Demonstration on September 6th and 7th from 10 AM-2 PM at the Penn Stater. This is a great opportunity to get other graduate workers, undergrads, community organizers, faculty and staff, and anyone else supportive of the unionization cause involved, so don’t be afraid to invite people! CGE will have buttons and signs ready for those who come to the Solidarity Demonstration and remember that for the work-ins, anyone you bring isn’t being pulled away from work, they’re just being encouraged to work in a different location.

3. Share Your Solidarity

CGE will be posting regularly to Twitter and Facebook during the hearing, but we want to reach as many people as possible, so don’t hesitate to share and retweet CGE’s content or write your own posts or tweets talking about the hearings, CGE, or unionization. 

If you use Twitter, please use CGE’s official hearing hashtags for your tweets: #YesCGE, #WeAreWorkers, and #PennStateHearings.

Additionally, to spread the word across campus via the Penn State Campus Story, we are strongly encouraging the use of Snapchat. Getting on Penn State’s Snapchat story is a great way to reach the undergraduates and let them know what’s happening with their teachers. To submit a Snap to the Penn State Story, do the following: 

  1. Capture a Snap (either a photo or video) in the app
  2. Tap the arrow in the lower right-hand corner
  3. Select to send the Snap to “Our Story” and then click the arrow in the lower right-hand screen.

Because the students who run the Penn State Snapchat story are pretty selective, we need as many people as possible sending in Snaps from different accounts. To get the Snapchat administrators’ attention, check out the following tips for making an effective Snap: 

  1. Send in a video (photos on the Snapchat story are rare)
  2. Include captions that explain what’s going on without using jargon (e.g. “PSU grad employees fight for their right to unionize!”)
  3. Use a geofilter! Or throw in a dancing hot dog! The more Snapchat-y your Snaps are, the better.

CGE is an organization dedicated to, and dependent upon, group engagement and advocacy, meaning we genuinely can’t do this without your help! So please come out to the Penn Stater, Old Main, or Snap/post/tweet next week to show that you stand with CGE!


In solidarity, the Coalition of Graduate Employees