Raises and Rights Campaign Kickoff

We are kicking off our Raises and Rights campaign! For those who don’t know: in our first contract, we won the right to reopen our contract yearly and return to the table to negotiate raises for all grad workers at Brown. In bargaining last summer, the university predicted that it would suffer imminent financial hardship from the COVID-19 pandemic, and used these projected losses as an excuse to offer a raise amounting to a cost of living adjustment.

But in an email to the Brown community last November, Christina Paxson reported that Brown saw “strong financial results in FY20, driven by excellent financial management and investing as well as the continued strength of fundraising efforts.” The WSJ reported that Brown’s endowment went above and beyond expectations, growing by 12.1% to a record 4.7 billion dollars. At every turn, the university has made money during the crisis, and lost much less than it expected.

Grad workers at Brown have not shared in this experience. We have kept going at our teaching assignments and lab experiments, at our own expense and at our own risk. We have spent our own money to import our offices into our apartments, risked our health to keep our departments running, and have continued to serve as the labor that makes Brown run. We are bargaining for a big raise, and we are calling on Brown to come to the table on COVID health and safety to protect grad workers at their jobs. We’re also demanding that the university agrees to open bargaining, so that all members can attend the sessions where our pay will be negotiated. Here’s what you can do to help our union win:

Our work is what allows the university to forecast strong financial health, year after year— and now more than ever, we deserve to be paid for that hard work, and for all that we put in to keep doing it despite the current conditions. Join us in our efforts to put money back in grad worker pockets and protect each other at work, so we can secure equity and safety for all.

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