In honor of “Graduate Student Appreciation Week,” Penn will be offering graduate student workers free donuts and coffee for two hours last Thursday (4/6). However, free donuts are not a solution to healthcare issues, lack of funding, discrimination, or an inadequate grievance procedure. Free coffee cannot improve dental and vision care, workers compensation, and job security. If Penn really appreciates its graduate student workers, it should start engaging with the real issues and problems we face and give graduate student workers a say in the solutions. Throughout Penn’s “Graduate Student Appreciation Week” (4/3-4/7), GET-UP released testimonials from graduate student workers on multiple issues they’ve experienced while at Penn, and what a union could do to help solve them. You can see a recap of the issues discussed during the first week here and during the second week here. The donuts from “Graduate Student Appreciation Week” may be gone, but we’re going to keep on releasing issues and explaining what a union could do to help for the next week.
GET-UP purposefully waited until we had spoken to the majority of graduate student workers in Penn PhD programs before formulating a platform of issues. New concerns will emerge as we continue talking to graduate student workers across Penn. We are ready to listen to your concerns and committed to fighting for a union to address them. While we anticipate that the administration may make some concessions in the near future, we believe that only a contract with a fair and autonomous grievance procedure can address the issues of graduate student workers in the long term.
Monday (4/3): Dental and Vision
Tuesday (4/4): Funding and Job Security
Wednesday (4/5): Family and Dependent Support
Thursday (4/6): Issues Affecting International Student Workers
Friday (4/7): Weekly Review
Monday (4/10): Workers’ Compensation
Tuesday (4/11): The Rights to Our Work
Wednesday (4/12): Grievance Procedure
Thursday (4/13): Healthcare
Friday (4/15): Weekly Review
Tuesday (4/18): Mental Health