The Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (GTFF) at the University of Oregon stands in solidarity with the striking workers from Temple University in Philadelphia, members of AFT Local 6290. As we head into our contract negotiations in pursuit of a living wage and dignified working conditions, the Temple University Graduate Students’ Association (TUGSA)’s fight reminds us that we do not stand alone in the demands we make for dignity in the workplace.
TUGSA has been in contract negotiations with Temple University for over a year, and the University’s refusal to provide graduate employees with a baseline standard of living has led TUGSA’s membership to authorize a strike for the first time in their union’s history. The strike vote passed with over 99 percent membership approval, demonstrating that their members are ready to stand up for pay increases, comprehensive and affordable health care, longer parental and bereavement leave, and better working conditions.
The struggle that TUGSA is waging and the provisions that Temple’s academic workers are seeking will resonate with graduate employees and part-time faculty all over the country. These are the same issues that university administrations have forced academic workers to contend with time and again, demonstrating the need for further campus labor organizing and for a fundamental transformation of undemocratic university systems. It is time that university administrations place education and research over profits, because academic workers’ livelihoods depend on it.
We celebrate this strike as a clear sign of what can be accomplished by workers joining and fighting together! We stand in solidarity with our fellow workers and call for Temple University to meet the demands of TUGSA members immediately, so that workers can return to their positions with the confidence and financial support necessary to complete their programs. Our $200 contribution to their strike fund aims to help build solidarity from across the country in our shared struggle for equitable compensation and dignity in academic work. We will continue to support Temple academic workers throughout their strike.
Find out more about TUGSA’s demands for graduate teaching and research assistants. Interested in helping these academic workers’ cause? Consider donating to their strike fund and follow their social media for updates on the strike: