Memo: To Improve Our Healthcare, Sign Your Union Card Today!

PGSU sent the following email out to Princeton graduate students on February 28, 2023.

Dear fellow Princeton graduate worker,

More than 1,600 grads—more than a majority!—have demonstrated our support for a graduate worker union. In a year that’s seen landslide victories for grad unions at MIT, Northwestern, Johns Hopkins, Yale and elsewhere, we too are seeking the power to negotiate over our own wages and working conditions. Sign your card today.

Through a union, we can collectively secure better working conditions for everyone. This includes improved healthcare and childcare support. 

Our current healthcare has frustrating and costly gaps in coverage–some of which, like the current out-of-network coverage rate, are the result of unilateral retractions of benefits on the university’s side. At a university whose endowment has increased by $7.5 billion in the past 5 years alone (standing at no less than $35 billion), protections should not get worse! Princeton must and can do better in providing and guaranteeing affordable and accessible healthcare. Princeton has the resources to 

  • Increase coverage rates and lower out-of-pockets and out-of-network costs. 
  • Provide coverage for dental and vision plans
  • Expand healthcare, including mental and specialty care services available at McCosh 
  • Provide the option to enroll domestic partners as dependents.
  • Provide better childcare-related financial and other resources
  • And more!

The current barriers placed on our healthcare and childcare coverage have material consequences on our teaching and research obligations, as well as our ability to support our families and loved ones. We deserve more, and through a union, we can get it!

Grad unions at other institutions have secured concrete health- and childcare-related guarantees and improvements through contract negotiations: 

  • Grads at NYU, Harvard and many other graduate unions have successfully negotiated funds for out-of-pocket health costs and co-pays.
  • At the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, grad workers won full dental and vision coverage through their union contract. Grad unions at NYU, Michigan, Georgetown likewise now have access to dental care. 
  • At Harvard, Brown, and other universities, grads negotiated improved childcare subsidy funds. At Brown, grads won childcare days and sick days. Grads at Harvard won an automatic stipend for the birth or adoption of a child.
  • At NYU and Michigan, grads won guarantees and increased transparency around paid sick leave, including protections against unreasonable denials of paid sick leaves.
  • At Georgetown, grads secured improved mental health care navigation services and expansion of the therapist network.
  • At Michigan, healthcare coverage extends to “Other Qualified Adults” such as domestic partners.

With a strong showing of union cards, we can demonstrate we will hold Princeton to account, and that we won’t leave anyone behind in our fight for fair working conditions. Join us here!


PGSU-UE Organizing Committee