On behalf of USC Forward’s Graduate Student Organizing Committee, we thank the Graduate Student Government (GSG) for voting overwhelmingly in support of graduate student unionization on USC’s campus on Monday, March 26th.
The resolution is a sign of the groundswell of support from graduate and professional students for exercising our rights as workers to unionize and improve conditions in our university as well as in our communities. The GSG vote could not come at a more important time. Across the country, workers are having their rights undercut—from teachers in West Virginia and Oklahoma to custodial staff on our own campus—while graduate workers face more and more precarious conditions.
We came to GSG because we know they can be key partners in our shared work to improve higher education. At the same time, we know unions offer important, unique legal protections and mechanisms to hold our administrators accountable to the promises they make around issues like working conditions, international and undocumented students’ rights, sexual harassment, or racial diversity.
To build support for this resolution, we had the opportunity to speak to dozens of graduate student organizations throughout both USC campuses. Dialogue has been key to our months and months of organizing work thus far, and this effort was no different. We listened to many shared concerns that are central to our organizing, and we had the chance to talk about how we can organize together to improve higher education—no matter if you are a student worker or not. Monday showed us we are being heard, loud and clear, and that our colleagues are ready to stand together.
Yesterday was big— although we recognize that we have much work ahead to make concrete improvements in life at USC and in Los Angeles. Today, we’re moving forward knowing that USC’s graduate and professional students—in solidarity with workers around the US—are ready to fight for real change, together.