We believe that the best way to fight the misinformation surrounding the unionization campaign is to be as open as possible about who we are and what we believe. Here are some short bios of your fellow graduate students running this site and why they oppose unionization.
Ian Henrich – 4th Year Pharmacology Student, Biomedical Graduate Studies
What really concerns me about GET-UP is the lack of transparency about what they are planning to do. They do not have a specific list of demands and instead promise vague improvements to grad school. We basically have to agree to be part of the union before we even know what they are going to ask for! Another particular concern is the nearly $700 annual fee that they would impose upon us with no way to opt out if you do not support the union. The union fee wouldn’t even stay and benefit Penn, but instead would be funneled to AFT/AFL-CIO, an outside group with many competing interests.
Kayla Barekat – 2nd Year Pharmacology Student, Biomedical Graduate Studies
I believe that university-wide unionization will not solve the problems that GET-UP representatives are proposing, and there are simpler, less costly avenues by which the same goals can be achieved. Furthermore, I am concerned that a union encompassing all Penn graduate students will not accurately reflect the interests of this whole group because we are a diverse student body with dissimilar needs and priorities. By that logic, it would make more sense to allow for the formation of micro-unions so that each graduate group can decide whether they even want to unionize and what specific aims they hope to accomplish in doing so.
Laura Bryant- 6th year Neuroscience Student, Biomedical Graduate Studies
What concerns me the most about the unionization movement at Penn is that all of the issues they are proposing to address can be addressed without the bureaucratic burden and inherent antagonistic tone of a union. We already have democratic representation in our student governments (GAPSA and BGSA) and they bring our concerns to the university. If we do not want to go through the student government, we can bring our concerns to the university directly. In my experience, the university does not need to be legally required to meet with us and talk about the problems faced by graduate students.