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Bargaining Update 10/10/23

USC Graduate School

Bargaining Update 10/10/23

University Further Increases Compensation and Benefits in Counter Proposal

The fourteenth bargaining meeting between USC and GSWOC-UAW took place on October 9, 2023, during which time the university presented its counter to the union’s economic proposal:

USC already provides stipends and benefits that are among the most competitive in the nation—including among institutions that have recently signed collective bargaining agreements with their unions.

USC’s most recent offer sends a clear signal that the university appreciates the contributions of its graduate students and will work cooperatively with the union negotiators to provide further enhancements to the competitive funding packages USC already provides. The university looks forward to having an agreement that is mutually beneficial and will be agreed upon by our students.

Notably, the university’s new economic proposal offers:

  • 1.5% year-over-year increase to all minimum stipends
  • 2% increase for students who pass their qualifying exams
  • Establishment of a dependent health care fund
  • New programs for childcare support
  • New programs to support international students
  • Remittance of all Mandatory University Fees for students in the bargaining unit

These new offers are in addition to the university’s already generous stipend and benefits program.

  • USC has increased PhD stipends 15% in the last two years, including a 5% raise for the current academic year. 
  • The Graduate School has also continued to provide a competitive benefits package, including remission of student health fees and a parental leave program that is the best in the country.

We believe our offer fully addresses the concerns of the union, meets the needs of our grad students, and allows us to continue to maintain, grow, and invest in our PhD programs.

The union’s opening demand was for minimum stipends beginning at $50,000 for a 50% appointment, with potential year-over-year increases between 18% and 20%. We believe such drastic increases are unsustainable and would require funding reductions in other important areas of the university, thereby seriously limiting our ability to invest in other areas of the graduate school, achieve our academic and research goals, and support the broader university community.

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