Economic Issues

Our economic platform is available here!

Real Recourse for Harassment and Discrimination

Did you know half of grad workers experience discrimination or harassment at Stanford, but only 6% of those seek recourse for the harm they experienced?

It’s no wonder why…Stanford’s own IDEAL survey found existing processes were insufficient to support workers experiencing harassment and discrimination on campus. In bargaining, we discovered Stanford doesn’t even track whether Title IX recommendations are carried out or how reported situations resolve.

Here’s why discrimination and harassment should be covered by our union grievance procedure:

  1. It protects graduate workers by granting recourse to an independent arbitrator, rather than Stanford’s failed process.
  2. It guarantees strict timelines: Under Stanford’s Admin Guide, the suggested time just to investigate a complaint would be 90 days. Under our union grievance procedure, it would take 70 days maximum to bring the complaint to an independent arbitrator.
  3. It goes beyond Title IX by providing recourse for harassment that isn’t based on sex or gender.
  4. It goes beyond protected categories by providing recourse for any and all harassment, bullying, and abuse of power.
  5. It prioritizes protection over punishment by obtaining accommodations for grad workers whose ability to work is being impeded by harassment, power abuse,or discrimination.
  6. It codifies graduate workers’ right to a union representative in grievance proceedings.
  7. It places additional pressure on the University to act when faced with a complaint over harassment or discrimination that may come before an independent arbitrator.

Discrimination and harassment are not a superficial concern that affects a minority of Stanford’s graduate workers. They could affect you at any point in time during your career. That’s why we need the power to file a union-backed grievance over discrimination, power abuse or harassment–at the hands of one’s co-workers, advisors, PIs, or faculty.

Union Shop

Union shop means all graduate workers are members of SGWU. This ensures we have the power we need to win and enforce a fair contract.

Stanford wants to weaken our union by requiring new grad workers to opt into membership in SGWU (open shop). They hope our organizers will be forced to spend time signing up new members instead of defending our rights.

Union shop ensures every graduate worker is protected by SGWU and that we can collect dues from all grad workers. Dues are critical to building a strong, long-lasting union with enough resources to enforce our contract. You will only pay dues when we win our contract, and we will only accept a contract with a raise larger than the cost of dues. So even with dues, all grad workers will see a net increase in pay. You can read more about dues here.

Funding Security

The Stanford Provost claims to offer five-year guaranteed funding for all PhDs. Yet grad workers:

  • Have testified that this “guarantee” was inaccessible when they needed it.
  • Have been forced out of research groups due to funding shortfalls.
  • Have had to leave their program or switch to entirely different research fields after losing funding.

Stanford’s existing guarantee has failed, so SGWU is fighting for a 6 year funding guarantee in our contract where we have the power to enforce it.

Protections for International Workers

Our international workers have called out four major issues as barriers to their success at Stanford.

Visa fees.

Our proposed contract requires Stanford to cover visa fees and related expenses (including travel) for all graduate workers.

Bechtel delays.

Bechtel’s delays processing visa paperwork have trapped workers outside the US. Our proposed contract requires timely responses from Bechtel with real consequences for missed deadlines.

Job security.

Graduate workers have lost their positions at Stanford after facing delays entering the US. Our proposed contract guarantees re-appointment to a position once visa issues are resolved.

CPT/OPT restrictions.

Some departments unfairly restrict CPT and OPT. Our proposed contract eliminates these extra restrictions.

Fellow Inclusion

About one-third of graduate workers are paid by internal or external fellowships. They do the same research and teaching work as the rest of us - yet Stanford wants to unfairly exclude them from SGWU.

This isn’t about any real distinction between workers paid by fellowship, TAship, or research assistantship. It’s about Stanford’s desire to weaken our power by dividing our members. We know fellows are workers - that’s why we reach out to them for our campaigns, ask them to vote for their bargaining representatives, and encourage them to take leadership roles in SGWU. Fellows are workers and deserve a strong union contract!