Strike Averted As USC And Union Reach Deal For 12% Raise In Min. Wage For Graduate Students

A breakthrough was reached as a strike loomed at USC.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

“USC and about 3,000 newly unionized graduate student workers who teach, grade and do research reached a tentative labor agreement Sunday evening with big pay boosts and antiharassment protections, averting a threatened Tuesday strike weeks before final exams.

The tentative pact — hammered out after more than six months of negotiations — would raise minimum wages for the lowest-paid academic workers from $35,700 a year to $40,000 beginning next year, establish the first ever grievance and arbitration process, offer child care stipends, provide semesterlong parental leave and other benefits.

It represents ‘the best contract in the private sector of higher education, made possible by mass participation’ from members of the Graduate Student Workers Organizing Committee–United Auto Workers, said Stepp Mayes, a fifth-year doctoral student in environmental engineering and bargaining team member. Union members are expected to vote on the agreement next week and will not strike.

‘Graduate student workers’ first contract will improve the lives of thousands of workers at USC and create a culture of accountability,’ Mayes said. ‘This agreement marks the beginning of a stronger USC.’

USC also hailed the agreement and commended the graduate student workers for their ‘reasoned, responsible’ negotiations and campaign.”

For the rest of the story, visit The Los Angeles Times here.

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