The University of Southern California and leaders of its graduate student workers’ union reached a tentative agreement Sunday, averting a strike that was set to start today.
Members of the Graduate Student Worker Organizing Committee, the United Autoworkers–affiliated union, will vote next week on whether to accept the deal, which would be the union’s first contract with the university.
If they approve it, the minimum stipend for the grad workers covered by the contract will increase from $35,700 to $40,000 in August. The university’s website says the minimum stipend would further increase to $41,200 in academic year 2025–26 and to about $42,400 in academic year 2026–27.
Andy Stott, USC’s vice provost for academic programs and dean of its graduate school, said the contract would cover about 2,800 grad workers, 97 percent of whom are Ph.D. students.
A Monday news release from the union further said that the agreement includes “greater rights for international workers,” “protections against bullying and harassment,” “sustainable transit benefits,” and more. Stott said the contract’s new benefits would include, among other things, a legal fund to support international students who lose their visa status, an annual childcare fund, five annual sick days and five days of bereavement leave.
“I think the contract demonstrates the university’s commitment to doctoral education,” Stott said. “It’s an extremely competitive package of compensation and benefits and protections for graduate student workers.”
Mike Miller, director of UAW Region 6, said in the union release that the “contract will improve standards across the country and inspire other academic workers at private universities to join the UAW and fight for better wages and working conditions.”