These are some of the concerns that graduate students have expressed which could be addressed through collective bargaining. Once we unionize, there will be a formal process of soliciting grievances through surveys and town hall meetings conducted by our union, and that process will set the agenda for our contract negotiation. Any contract we negotiate will also be subject to a democratic vote by our members. At present, we are not voting on a platform of demands, but rather to grant ourselves the collective bargaining power to attain and preserve such improvements.

If you have concerns that are not represented below, please contact us!

Stipends

  • We would like annual increases in graduate student stipends that are indexed to increases in the cost of living.
  • First-year students typically receive their first stipend payment at the end of September, which means most first-years have no income for their first two months at Emory. We would like students to receive their first payment in August.
  • At approximately $350 per “term,” including summer, student fees are a hardship for many graduate students. We would like student fees to be covered in our stipends.
  • We would like graduate students to be paid for each class beyond their department's required minimum where they serve as teaching assistants.

Benefits

  • We would like student health insurance to include vision and dental coverage, with options for dependents.
  • We would like the $150 deductible and 10% co-pay on our health insurance to be eliminated.

Workplace/Contract Protections

  • Clear, fair and enforceable procedures should be available for filing grievances against superiors.
  • Students should have recourse against manipulative, abusive, unreasonable, or obstructionist behavior by advisors and PIs
  • Teaching assignments should be designed to further the professional goals of grad students as teachers rather than simply fill gaps in required courses left by professors’ workloads.
  • The administration’s handling of the current Title IX compliance review of Emory University should be more transparent. The school’s handling of sexual harassment and assault cases is important to us both as students and educators. We have received no official or widespread update on the compliance review since the Department of Education disclosed Emory was under review in 2014. We would like the information we need to hold the university accountable for its treatment of victims of sexual assault.
  • Graduate students should not be coerced to attend department events that are officially “optional,” as such events can be time consuming and are a burden on top of students’ required workloads.
  • We would like the freedom to organize/protest and the power to enforce this freedom when it’s challenged
  • Graduate students should have recourse to challenge arbitrary funding decisions by administration
  • Emory should provide options for graduate student housing near campus
  • We would like a dedicated, student-run space for graduate students on campus

Trump

  • Our contract can help mitigate the uncertainties and precarity we face as a result of the policies of the Trump administration:
  • Cuts to education and research funding may eliminate grants from the NIH, NSF, or NEH on which some graduate students depend. We would like Emory to commit to using its own resources to allow students to continue their research if they lose a grant for this reason.
  • Though Emory currently has a policy against discrimination on the basis of  sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, we would have much stronger protections if these were included in a binding contract. This is especially important because Trump has signaled a commitment to reversing Obama's federal order providing workplace protections.
  • If the Affordable Care Act is repealed, Emory could choose to stop providing insurance coverage for abortion and some forms of birth control. We would like this coverage included in our contract.

Family Matters

  • Graduate students’ spouses and dependents should have access to better insurance coverage.
  • We would like graduate students with children to receive an additional stipend to assist with childcare costs.
  • At present, the Parental Accommodation for graduate students who have or adopt a child is only 8 weeks. This makes little sense given that we work on a semester system. We would like this leave extended to a full semester.
  • We would like a support organization for graduate students who are parents.

Sanctuary Campus

  • Emory's Graduate Organizing Committee stands in solidarity with all of Emory's students, regardless of their immigration status. As such, we would like our President to sign the letter presented to her by the Sanctuary Coalition declaring Emory a Sanctuary Campus. This includes:
  • Lawful noncompliance with immigration authorities.
  • An admissions policy that does not consider immigration status.
  • Commitment of resources to support undocumented students and students from mixed-status families.