FAQ for undergraduates

Why do graduate students need a union?

Graduate students lead precarious lives with relatively little funding, heavy workloads, and uncertain job prospects. We love the research, teaching, and community service that we do which contributes to making Brown such a dynamic and enriching community. We also do all sorts of things that aren’t officially recognized, like mentoring, writing letters of recommendation, and making sure we’re available in-person or via email to answer questions. But we need adequate benefits, clear work expectations, consistent and transparent employment policies, and a mechanism to ensure Brown’s accountability. Unionizing makes these things possible which, in turn, makes us better teachers and mentors for you!

I’m an undergrad. How does a graduate union benefit me?

Teaching and research assistant working conditions directly impact undergraduate learning conditions. At a research university like Brown, TAs and RAs take on a significant portion of the teaching and grading responsibilities for undergraduate instruction in addition to conducting cutting-edge research that also enhances the quality of undergraduate education. In order to maintain these high standards it is crucial for Brown undergrads to recognize TA and RA labor and support grad workers’ right to negotiate a fair contract with the University through collective bargaining, so TAs and RAs have the time, energy, and resources to devote to enriching your undergraduate experience.

I want to support the unionizing efforts of grad student workers. How else can I help?

Your support means a lot to us! Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and feel welcome to join us at public events we will be holding. If you have a student group or campaign you would like us to support in turn, please get in touch with us via email.

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