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Fordham Graduate Workers Win First Union Contract

After 19 months of bargaining, members of CWA Local 1104 Fordham Graduate Student Workers (CWA 1104-FGSW) ratified their first union contract earlier this month. This contract is the result of membership solidarity, patience, strength, and action. Fordham’s graduate student workers mobilized and fought for a contract that sets industry standards in several areas and builds a foundation for future union members.

The contract covers an economic package representing an approximate 39 percent increase from the current baseline in the first year alone and 3 percent annual raises for the life of the contract thereafter. Members won improved medical insurance coverage and the creation of a dental insurance plan. Under their union contract, graduate workers now enjoy academic freedom and intellectual property rights to their course materials.

Setting a new industry standard, the contract bans Fordham from requesting non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) from any victim of discrimination or harassment, inside or outside the bargaining unit. The contract effectively ends the silencing of harassment and discrimination for anyone at Fordham, an important win for campus safety.

Setting another industry-leading standard, the contract increases protections for international graduate student workers and establishes an emergency fund to aid these workers in times of acute financial hardship.

Over the past nineteen months, the Fordham grad workers came together across departments to march, protest, walk picket lines, speak out in the press, speak with incoming and prospective students, and highlight the essential role that graduate workers play in the university.