GTAC Newsletter – 9 September 2020

“The only effective answer to organized greed is organized labor.” ―AFL-CIO

Dear Friend,

Today is Labor Day, a holiday intended for workers like us to celebrate these victories and enjoy rest from work. Meanwhile, the rest of the world takes May Day to commemorate the martyrs of the 1886 Haymarket Affair in Chicago, who died fighting for a balance between their labor, rest, and recreation. (Sound familiar to us at KU right now?)

Why do we have Labor Day instead of May Day? To isolate us from our fellow workers globally and from our own radical U.S. labor history. It’s been more than 130 years since our fellow workers gave their lives at Haymarket to achieve this balance, and right now, we’re once again forced to fight bosses who want to disrupt that balance. Right now, basic needs like fair pay, affordable quality health care, and fair functional work schedules are considered radical at the University of Kansas, and all over the county. How can we fight back?

By enforcing our right to fair duties and fair hours of work. GTAs should not be asked to create or develop course materials, to complete any duty which is not instructional, or (for .50FTE workers) working more than 20 hours per week. GTAs who are expected to create or develop course materials should click here to find out how to access compensation for that work. GTAs who have been or will be working more hours than agreed by their FTE should click here to find out about back pay and/or an increased FTE to cover actual hours worked.

In solidarity,
President Neill Kennedy

It has always been working people acting collectively who create change – on the streets and at work. It has always been our labor movement that fights for ourselves and our communities and better lives for all. Today we can see unionized grad workers all over the country fighting and winning, from summer healthcare and affordable housing for our union comrades in GEO AFT Local 6300 at UIUC to our own Fall 2020 pay raises here with GTAC AFT Local 6403, we continue to demonstrate that we can achieve together what would be impossible to achieve individually.

All wins begins with workers connecting. Because GTAs are transitory workers, it can be difficult to sustain our connections over cycles of admission and graduation. Time and again, KU admin have chosen to exploit this weakness to exploit our labor and our lives. How can we fight back?

By connecting to win!

  1. Communicate! Add your non-KU contact info to keep up with the latest news.
  2. Stand together! Level up to a full membership today to build our union power.
  3. Fight! Take action to win raises during our Fall 2020 contract negotiations.
  4. Win! Enjoy more raises, like the four raises negotiated in our 2018 contract negotiations.

Join our GTAC Slack by emailing Communication officer Katie Hinders and join our private GTA-only Facebook Group here!

In solidarity,
Katie Hinders

Labor Day Strike? On Friday, we sent an email endorsing the KU Labor Day Student Strike and asking all GTAs to sign their petition. Workers have reached out with questions about participation in this event, so we have put together an FAQ on strikes and absences. If you participated in the the KU Labor Day Student Strike, please click here for the FAQGlad to be a part of a labor union?  This is a time when our solidarity matters more than ever – click here to become a dues paying member of GTAC.

In solidarity,
Graduate Teaching Assistants Coalition
AFT Local 6403

When we fight, we win!

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