USC Graduate School
USC Commits to Reaching Fair Agreement, Upholding Academic Requirements as Union Votes to Authorize a Strike
USC was disappointed to learn last week that the union representing some of our graduate student workers voted to permit a strike. Since April, the university has consistently come to the bargaining table in good faith, with fair, competitive proposals. In fact, we have reached 16 Tentative Agreements with the union, which is more than half of the proposals under negotiation. We are making good progress and do not believe a strike is warranted to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.
The graduate school enrolls more than 27,000 students; approximately 3,000 of which are graduate student workers included in the bargaining unit. Consequently, while we continue to focus on reaching an agreement, we must also ensure we are taking care of the rest of our student body. We are prepared for the impact a strike may have on campus operations and on end-of-semester milestones and will strive to minimize any disruptions for other graduate students, undergraduate students, faculty and research activities.
We have posted detailed information about strike preparations in an FAQ available on our negotiation website at graduateschool.usc.edu/uaw. We will continue to update this page throughout the bargaining process and in case of a potential strike.
It is important to remember that even if a student is included in the bargaining unit at the time of a strike, graduate student workers do not have to choose to strike; the decision to strike or not is an individual one.
The university’s proposals have continually demonstrated the school’s respect for its graduate students and for their contributions to the mission of the university. Our proposals have also directly addressed concerns brought forth by the union. As stewards of the university’s resources and the overall excellence of USC Graduate School, our leaders must find a balance between fully addressing the concerns of the union, meeting the needs of our graduate students, and maintaining, growing, and investing in the future of our PhD programs.
We remain grateful to our students and faculty for their dedication to the teaching and learning mission of the university. We are confident that, through good faith negotiations and honest dialogue, we can reach a mutually beneficial agreement that creates a positive professional environment for our graduate students and averts a strike.