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!
Why we need to change
When we began collecting mission statement cards in late 2016, signing on meant asserting you would vote “yes” to a union if and when we held an NLRB certified election. Things have changed. A Trump-controlled NLRB is looking to overturn the August 2016 ruling that enabled such an election for grad workers at private universities, and university administrations across the country are already using this to deny election requests. But a union is much more than a legally recognized entity that can bargain a contract — though attaining that is still our eventual goal. PGSU is already a union of graduate student workers at Princeton University, and we are growing our union by building a member-led, democratic, and transparent collective of workers organizing to improve our living and working conditions. Signing a membership form is not just voicing your support for a campaign, it’s becoming a member of this collective, today.
It was one thing to mobilize graduate students with 1,100 signing our tax petition and 100 marching on Nassau Hall. Yet that this action did not lead to change — the administration subsequently denied even our simplest request for more office hours and town halls to ensure greater accountability the next time something like this happens — suggests that we are still being discounted. To really represent graduate students and build power that cannot be ignored, we need a more stable, direct membership base.
What we’re going to do
We’re going to become the largest graduate student group at Princeton by building a membership out of those who signed mission statement cards. A link to the online membership form is here: http://www.princetongsu.org/become-a-pgsu-member/. Please sign up! In return you will get a beautiful PGSU card to carry with you – making you a card-carrying union member – because we are a union. We work together to build power and further the interests of graduate students at Princeton!
How does this make us stronger?
Having a membership base allows us to tell the University exactly how big our support is. It will demonstrate us to be by far the largest group of graduate students on campus — a group that cannot be ignored when it comes to the big decisions. Becoming a membership-based organization also allows us to be more democratic, transparent, and representative of the diverse graduate student body here at Princeton. Finally, it makes us more robust. We can start behaving like a union now so that when we get the right to legal-recognition again (hopefully in 2020!) we can be ready to join other graduate student workers in claiming our union!
What does this mean for you?
Becoming a member gives you the right to vote on which issues PGSU will focus on each semester, elect and join the leadership of PGSU, and make the decisions that guide our organization forward. While we will continue and build on our current efforts to seek input from grad students through General Assemblies, open organizing meetings, and communication via email and social media, it is our hope that members begin to feel you can take the initiative to use the resources of the union to fight for things you care about — whether that’s childcare and housing at Princeton or systemic racism and sexism in higher education. We are also working with other union-friendly businesses in the local area to get discounts for those with PGSU membership cards, so watch this space!
This is a big step in the history of PGSU and we understand if there are questions/concerns. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch via our Facebook page: or by writing to askPGSU@gmail.com! We will be doing the rounds about campus with membership forms, but if you can’t wait here is the link again: http://www.princetongsu.org/become-a-pgsu-member/.