My name is Robert Chlala and I’m a research assistant in the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences.
As you may have heard, USC graduate students are coming together to form a union. I’m writing today to ask you to join us. If you have already signed on, we hope you can help us spread the word and stand with other vulnerable communities this Friday.
Over the past few months, we have talked to hundreds of our colleagues here at USC about the issues impacting graduate students. It may come as no surprise that many of us share serious concerns regarding healthcare coverage, basic workplace protections, sudden changes to our contracts and working conditions, and uncertainty surrounding our pay, stipends, and university fees as the cost of living in Los Angeles continues to skyrocket.
Our instruction, research, field work and lab work at USC are critical to the University’s success, but all too often, we are left without a voice in the issues affecting our work, our programs, and the students we teach.
We believe that together, our united voice can effect real change on campus. We are inspired by the gains made by graduate students and faculty who have formed unions on their campuses. Already, thousands of graduate students and faculty across the country have come together to win real improvements through unionization, including landmark advances in pay, job security, access to benefits, and control of their work.
As we enter our spring semester, we will join this growing, national movement and continue the important work of building a strong graduate student union here at USC. Organizing efforts are currently underway at peer universities across the country, including Stanford, Duke, Northwestern, and Saint Louis University.
Will you join us? Take the first step, and follow this link to sign the confidential form showing your interest. Your electronic signature helps guarantee that we can move the unionization process forward.
If you have already signed this form, you can help by spreading the word. Ask your colleagues and friends who are graduate workers to fill out the form. The faster we get the word out, the faster we can move USC forward to a more equitable and healthy working environment for graduate students.
We know that in the current political climate, higher education is even more at risk – as are workers around the country. A contingent of graduate student workers will also take part in this Friday’s #J20 Walkout: Trojans vs. Trump! We hope to stand with workers across our campus and across the U.S. – and with all vulnerable communities facing attacks such as deportation, hate crimes, and other violence. If you are interested, please join us this Friday, January 20th at 11am at Tommy Trojan. At 12 noon, we will participate in the #J20 USC contingent to join the marches in downtown Los Angeles. For more on the event, click here.
There’s never been a more important time to stand together. If you would like to get more involved or have any questions, please reach out.
On behalf of the many students working to form a union, I sincerely want to thank you for your time and your important work as a graduate student.
Robert Chlala, Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences