Transforming Higher Education

Movement Milestones and Victories

We’re working to improve learning and teaching conditions and access to higher education, while standing up to end the trend toward a low-road, corporate-business model for education. More than 50,000 faculty and graduate workers are already united through SEIU Faculty Forward. Every day more educators, students and community members across the country are joining our fight to transform higher education. Here’s a look at what we’ve accomplished together so far.

American University graduate workers win their first contract

The holidays came early for American University graduate workers, who voted by a 10-to-1 margin to ratify their first union contract. Among their many wins, their contract includes wage increases, greater job security, health benefits, an established grievance process with binding arbitration, the ability to take outside employment, and respect of roles and responsibilities. They are the first bargaining unit of grad students in Local 500 with a collective bargaining agreement. They are also the fourth graduate worker unit in the country to win a contract since the National Labor Relations Board recognized their rights as workers. Graduate workers at Tufts and Brandeis universities won the second and third contracts earlier this semester.

“While as individuals, we have limited ability to make meaningful change, collectively we have the power to do so. The contract provides us a mechanism to partner with decision‐makers at AU to improve the quality of research and undergraduate instruction, while strengthening graduate programs themselves,” the bargaining team stated in a letter to their colleagues.