June 21, 2017
Miranda here, updating you about today’s NLRB hearing. We’re on day 6 now, and Penn is still bringing more witnesses to the stand. For the second day in a row, we ended hours early, even though the NLRB officer warned Penn’s lawyers that they can’t keep stalling this way. We know why they’re stalling: Trump announced his appointment to one of the two empty seats on the NLRB yesterday, setting up the NLRB to overturn legal precedent and take away our right to unionize once Congress confirms the appointees.
Today’s hearing was both topical and extremely important to all of our lives: we talked about grads’ healthcare. Many of us know colleagues who have gone on Obamacare when their funding runs out or they have to take (medical) leave. Others have family members on Obamacare because dependent coverage at Penn is so expensive. As we all know, Obamacare is now on the chopping block, which will directly affect our lives. This is one of the reasons I support GET-UP: I don’t think grads should have to worry about their health or the health of their families while they’re working to complete their degrees.
On the stand today was the director of finance administration and risk management of student health services. She testified, among other points, that that we all “have access” to dental and vision care. This “access” is hardly helpful to us when the cost of dental procedures eats up so much of what we get paid. She also testified that while employees at Penn have access to retirement and disability benefits, grads do not – a compelling case for why we need a voice in our working conditions.
It is troubling to me that Obamacare may not be an option for grads in the future, and just as troubling that Penn is preventing us from having any meaningful input in our health care. If you agree, please join me in pledging to vote YES in our upcoming election.