Please sign our open letter to admin to stop the clock

Over the last few weeks, PGSU has been receiving numerous testimonials and statements from grads detailing how the COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted their research. Cancelled conferences, grants, fieldwork opportunities, and more that only happen once a year have severely delayed grads’ research progress. Many universities have taken steps to stopping-the-clock for one year, for tenure-track faculty. It is the logically conclusive, and morally correct, step to extend this provision to grad workers as well.  We join the many other grad union organizations around the country in calling for Princeton University to extend all graduate student fellowships, benefits, time-to-degree deadlines, and related international student support (I-20s and DS2019s) by one full year. Please take a look at our open letter below and add your name.

 

 

PGSU response petition to Princeton administration regarding COVID-19

Please see our statement and petition to the university administration regarding the transition brought on by COVID-19. We do not want any of Princeton’s community members – no campus workers, undergrads, grads, postdocs or staff – to be left behind in this incredibly difficult time. Please add your name below and share – all are welcome to sign, regardless of any Princeton affiliation! We have also included an option to submit testimonials in the petition. Do not hesitate to reach out at askpgsu@gmail.com if you have issues that are not being addressed either by the university or by the petition. We are all in this together!

A finalized version of the petition will be posted online, along with the signatories.

 

 

PGSU stands in solidarity with UC Santa Cruz and Harvard striking grads

PGSU stands in solidarity with the Harvard Graduate Student Union’s fight for a fair contract and the University of California, Santa Cruz graduate worker wildcat strike for a cost-of-living adjusted wage. The HGSU has been trying to negotiate a contract for close to a year, but the Harvard administration has repeatedly ignored their requests and the majority support for their bargaining until very recently. The UCSC students are striking as their cost of housing has increased to take up around 50% of student income, while the level of pay has not grown proportionally. They are asking the university to increase pay so that they might comfortably afford basic necessities, such as housing and food, that should already be provided for under a graduate stipend. Had this been included in their contract, that union leadership ratified and that which 85% of the bargaining unit voted to reject, this wildcat action would not have been necessary. We understand that this action, undertaken without the express permission of union leadership and in part directed against union leadership, requires immense bravery and sacrifice. We recognize that the actions of university administrations at Harvard and at UCSC are unjust and deeply harmful to graduate workers, who are simply trying to work and live comfortably and with the dignity that should come from having a unionized workplace, with union leadership that fights for union workers. PGSU stands firmly with the striking graduate workers at UCSC and at Harvard. 

 

Further information can be found about the Harvard strike here: http://harvardgradunion.org/faq/

 

Further information can be found about the UCSC wildcat strike here: https://gsa.ucsc.edu/

https://blackrosefed.org/wildcat-strike-santa-cruz-grad-students/

 

Please sign this statement of solidarity with UCSC striking grad workers: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf1MmfW40X1Rbq_eWvFpDtpJl7Gr7Y6ZriAH__8fmzSOjtJdw/viewform

 

Please donate to one or both strike funds if you have the means: http://harvardgradunion.org/strike/hardship/

https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-fund-for-striking-workers-at-ucsc?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_campaign=m_pd+share-sheet&fbclid=IwAR1ofSxqXxNzIOhAo54xAIpuN0RhMtbFe2lDbjL8JesBie01eM_EQ4Ot5i0

Trouble with your paycheck recently? PGSU is trying to find out why!

This semester, PGSU has received numerous reports of paychecks with numerous fees applied to them, with little explanation. Some fees are applied all at once in one month instead of over the semester/year; for many fees it is difficult or impossible to find out their origin or reason. These reports have come overwhelmingly from first-year grads and international grads. Essentially, people seem to not know what they will be paid at the end of the month, and why they will not be paid their full amount. There is little transparency on payment from the administration.

To the end of having a detailed push for payment transparency, PGSU is trying to find out more about what exactly the paychecks of grads across departments look like.  Please fill out our survey (below) so we can learn, despite the administration’s vagueness and lack of answers, about our paychecks.

PGSU’s response to the changes made to the Student Health Plan + take our survey!

We have some concerns about the recent changes made to the Student Health Plan in regards to out-of-network coverage (didn’t know about these changes? Learn more) and we ask the administration to commit to some specific, basic SHP protections for graduate workers, in the below open letter to the administration. We are still trying to find out more about how grads will be affected! Please take our survey so that we can learn about how grads are dealing and will deal with these changes. The administration needs to be transparent about the cost of our healthcare!

 

Take PGSU’s housing survey!

As part of PGSU’s ongoing effort to hear from fellow grad workers on their experiences with housing, and in light of the university’s Lake Campus plans for new graduate housing built and administrated by American Campus Communities, PGSU has put together a short (10-15 minute) housing inquiry for grad workers.  (Linked here) The answers from this survey will help us better understand and build a movement around our needs as grad workers—whether we live in Princeton housing or not, on our own or with partners or children. We encourage you to fill it in and pass the survey on to your friends.

The only way to have a real say in our working and living conditions is through collective action — through forming a labor union. While we work towards legal recognition as a union, we still have the power of political and collective pressure, and that is what we intend to mobilize to demand affordable and accessible housing now and for the graduate workers who come after us. We’ve been working over the past weeks to gather testimonials from fellow grad workers in graduate housing and those living off-campus, and have been conducting research on American Campus Communities, the firm to which the university plans on renting the lands across Lake Carnegie. This firm will collect rents from us (at a profit), the university will profit off the land rents it collects from ACC, and there is as yet no guarantee as to the affordability of this housing for us, the tenants.

We believe rent for graduate housing should be tied to a percentage of our base stipend, in line with federal regulations for affordable housing, and that is what we will demand of our employer in the coming weeks.

Take the survey!

 

Come to our housing forum on Thursday April 18!

PGSU will be hosting a housing forum on April 18th at 6:30pm in McCormick 101, to hear from fellow grad workers on their experiences with housing, and learn more about the Lake Campus plans. The university administration is also holding consultations and has put out a survey on student wishes for their housing, but as we have seen time and time again, our concerns are only taken into account when convenient, and any “consultation” is usually little more than a courtesy. Our aim is to have a worker-led discussion about the new Lake Campus, our rights as tenants, and how a union can and should act on accessible and affordable housing.
McCormick 101 is ADA accessible.

RSVP on Facebook here:

Learn more about our housing platform here:

Join us Thursday (3/7) at the Frist South Lawn to demand action on the SHP cuts!

Princeton’s administration cut certain student health plan benefits last Friday, with no consultation, two weeks notice, and no public announcement. These changes meant 67% cuts to massage therapy, acupuncture, and chiropractic services, mostly affect undergraduates and graduate workers living with chronic pain.

This change affects us all: it is one of the many ways the university can unilaterally make changes to our working and living conditions without consulting us or including us in any decision-making.

We demand the university administration (1) restore the full complementary benefits coverage it removed from the Student Health Plan as of March 1, 2019, until a replacement set of benefits is implemented (2) make the coming changes to the SHP public and open to real consultation by undergraduates and graduate workers.

Join us on Thursday (3/7) from 12-12:30pm at the Frist South Lawn to stand up for transparent, affordable, and accessible health care! RSVP on Facebook here:

Sudden and unilateral changes to our health plan will continue unless we act together! We have power as an organized collective to demand better from the university, which has a staggering endowment and professed commitment to accessibility and “the service of humanity.” Join us to hold the university to their word!

PGSU is now an organization of members. Become a member today!

We have some very exciting news – you can now become a member of PGSU!  (Visit our “Become a PGSU member” tab in the top menu.) What does this mean? We are changing to a membership-based organization to cement our position at Princeton, build and demonstrate our power to the administration, and become more transparent and democratic. More details below!

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Learn about our platforms on issues!

Curious about PGSU’s stances on matters relating to graduate student life? Check out our descriptions of graduate worker issues and our platforms for addressing them in our Issues tab, located in the menu at the top of the page!

As these platforms are constructed by graduate workers at Princeton, they are continuously evolving as we gather more input from graduate workers. Email us with your opinions, ideas, and experiences at askpgsu@gmail.com!