We hope the first week of spring quarter is off to a great start! The spring can be a difficult time on campus, full of stress, pending tasks, and burnout–but it also brings better weather and new opportunities to get together and get organized to make our university a better place. Remember to take time to care for yourself and your community, and, as always, reach out to your union and your coworkers with any issues or to get more involved.
Elections: Nominations Extended
We are seeking nominations for all of the following positions:
-(1) General Secretary
-(1) Financial Secretary
-(1) Communications Secretary
-(7) Divisional Representatives: Humanities, Social Sciences, Crown, Divinity, BSD, PSD
But we are particularly in need of nominations for General Secretary, Communications Secretary, and Divisional Reps in Divinity, BSD, and PSD.
As was the case last year, these officers will be elected via a campus-wide general membership vote, with the exception of the Divisional Representatives, who can only be elected by members within their own division. Steering Committee officers manage the day-to-day administration of the union. Continuing with the governance structure that we have been utilizing for the last year, each active GSU committee will also have a seat on the Steering Committee for AY2022-2023. Committee representatives will be elected internally by the members of each committee, and will not be subject to particular terms.
You can read more about the responsibilities of Steering Officers—and nominate yourself or someone else—here. If you have questions about the nomination process, elections, or the descriptions of different elected roles, or if you would like to volunteer to help the Elections Committee over the next month, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and someone from the Elections Committee will get back to you.
Elections will be held in early April. Nominate yourself or someone else by April 4 to help guide our union over the next year!
General Members Meeting April 13
The first General Members Meeting (GMM) of the spring quarter will take place on Wednesday, April 13, at 5:30pm! Details are forthcoming on this meeting, but the agenda will include the results of our internal elections (as well as positions that remain to be filled), a motion toward another official carding-campaign for recognition, a motion on moving into an optional dues structure to increase organizing capacity, and the possibility of physical space for union activities. Big moves are being made this spring! Be sure to pencil it in, and keep an eye out for more information sometime next week!
SSF Updates and Retaliation (#WaiveItSaveIt)
The last round of Student Services Fees ever just hit our accounts and our original demands have still not been met. We are still demanding the reimbursement of all fees paid throughout the pandemic – and this includes canceling the outstanding debt many of us have accumulated. This quarter we are shifting strategy to mass-waiving our fees, regardless of whether we live within 50 miles of campus or not. The intent of this shift in strategy is to stop accumulating more SSF debt after our recent win and to clearly show the administration that we are sick of being pursued over our unpaid fee debts. No grad worker should have to pay this final round of fees: we want the SSF canceled for good, now.
In the spirit of mutual aid, we are also asking anyone who waives their fees this quarter to contribute a few dollars of their saved fee money to the GSU Hardship Fund, which supports people who put their finances on the line to get the fee canceled for everyone.
If you want to join grad workers in waiving the fee this quarter, please sign on to this pledge to indicate your support (you’ll be asked to waive as part of a group action between April 11-13). The form contains all the instructions you’ll need to submit your waiver. Your name will not be publicized—we are just collecting information to keep track of our numbers and remind you to waive your fees on the correct dates.
If you have any questions or concerns or want to help organize with the campaign, please reach out to your departmental organizer or to the union directly at email@example.com
IU Bloomington Possible Strike
In Indiana, graduate students at Indiana University Bloomington are preparing for a potential strike after IU refused to hold talks with grad workers on the topic of forming a union. The grad workers have received support from Indiana unions as well as faculty members at the university. Read more about IU Bloomington’s strike efforts in this article from Indiana Public Media and this one from the Guardian. And consider donating to their strike fund.
MIT-UE Upcoming Vote
And at MIT in Boston, graduate workers will be holding their union election April 4-5, after the institute denied their request for voluntary recognition and attempted to remove graduate workers on fellowship from the bargaining unit. Read more about their campaign here.
Starbucks workers at 55th & Woodlawn will be holding a union election in the coming weeks. Stop in and order a coffee with the name “union yes” to show your support. The workers have also requested leaving notes of solidarity on the community bulletin board in the store, and bringing in cookies or other snacks for the workers. If you stop in, take a picture and tag us on our social media!
Our Hardship Fund is more important now than ever as we assess how best to move forward in addressing the outstanding debts that GSU members owe due to their participation in the SSF Refusal Campaign. Donations to this fund will help support and protect members as we continue to face possible retaliation from administrators.
We are now accepting donations! If you have some money to spare to help your fellow union members, we would deeply appreciate your contribution. Otherwise, be sure to share the link to the fund on social media and distribute to your networks. Any remaining funds not distributed as part of our SSF Refusal Campaign will be used to provide emergency aid to graduate workers experiencing financial hardship.
Get Involved with GSU this Quarter
GSU has a number of ways to get involved, from organizing to committee work! All meetings are open to all members. Below you can find the new Spring Quarter meetings and times for our regular committee meetings, but also feel free to get in touch with one of your department’s organizers or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in work at the departmental or divisional level. To receive Zoom links and updates for the meetings below, email us to join the Departmental Organizer listserv.
- Steering Committee – Mondays at 5pm (subject to change)
- Mutual Aid Committee – Tuesdays at 10am
- Communications Committee – Wednesdays at 2pm (subject to change)
- Anti-Racism Working Group – TBD
- Department Organizer Training – weekly by appointment (contact us!)
- Organizing Committee – Wednesdays at 4pm
- Worker Action Committee – Meeting on an as-needed basis