We are organizing a graduate employee union to work as equal partners with Penn State University to determine our pay, benefits, and working conditions. The university depends on graduate employees to teach classes, conduct innovative research, and produce critical scholarship. Given our integral place in this institution, we have a right to representation in decision-making processes that affect our academic work and quality of life. Currently, Penn State makes these decisions unilaterally with nominal input from graduate student organizations. An independent, legally recognized union guarantees that our concerns, needs, and perspectives are taken seriously and addressed through university policy.
Our union would achieve a legally binding contract, which would improve and stabilize pay, benefits, and working conditions. United, we would advocate for and respond to the complexity of our situation as both students and employees: financial security and democracy are necessary conditions of good academic work.