We, the graduate workers of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) present the following contract demands to (1) improve our working conditions, (2) better support WPI’s mission to conduct world-class teaching and research, foster diversity, attract and retain talents and (3) recognize the importance of its location in Worcester as the city continues to develop. These demands are based on bargaining surveys completed by a majority of the over 550 graduate workers.

These demands reflect the specific needs of graduate workers and a vision for our research and teaching community. They take into account the need for reinvestment in research and instruction, the specific challenges of living in Worcester, and the need for an academic pipeline supporting greater diversity among rising educators, researchers, and professionals. We aim to ensure fair pay and benefits for all graduate workers; to support all graduate workers’ career development; to provide greater stability for non-citizen graduate workers; to ensure that graduate workers with families can afford childcare and associated costs; and to build a truly inclusive, accessible, and diverse research and teaching community free from bullying, harassment and discrimination.

We believe that the achievement of these goals will facilitate the recruitment and retention of the most talented, diverse group of graduate workers, and therefore enhance our ability to produce the world-class teaching and research conducted at WPI.

Improve healthcare for all.

We strive for improvements to the quality and affordability of medical, mental health, dental, and vision coverage, including dependent coverage, as well as access to healthcare providers affiliated with Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Establish fair wages

We strive for improved pay for all, commensurate with the value of our work and the high cost of living, including a significant increase to pay minimums and guaranteed annual salary increases.

Increase access to housing

We strive for accessible housing support for all graduate workers, and increased quality conditions and amenities for the on campus housing. 

Ensure freedom from harassment and bullying

We strive for a fair, timely and enforceable process for addressing sexual, gender-based, and other forms of workplace harassment and bullying.

Create a more family-friendly workplace

We strive for fully paid parental leave, priority access to and significant financial support for childcare on and off campus, after school programs, tuition benefits, and affordable insurance coverage for dependents.

Foster a safe and productive work environment

We strive to establish a fair process to resolve health and safety problems, improve access to wellness resources and recreational facilities, and guarantee adequate workspace and workplace accommodations to all graduate workers

Increase transparency for job appointments and dismissals

We strive for a transparent job posting, appointment and renewal procedures, including detailed offer letters that include but are not limited to responsibilities, salary, benefits, access to the resources necessary to perform the work, and access to the WPI-GWU-UAW contract agreement, and just-cause dismissal proceedings, in addition to stronger security of funding throughout graduate workers’ employment.

Broaden access to and improve retirement and other benefits

We strive for the right to better plan for our futures through improved access to retirement, and other benefits including life insurance, disability insurance, tax withholding for all researchers, and access to free financial, legal, and tax advice.

Increase support for international graduate workers

We strive for improved access to information on visas, improved support, and stronger protections for graduate workers holding visas.

Improve rights to paid vacation and leave

We strive for enhanced, and guaranteed access to paid holiday, vacation, as well as medical, family and other leaves of absence.

Expand access to educational resources and professional development

We strive for access to funds supporting individual professional development opportunities, including courses offered at WPI, tuition waivers, expansion of support for career development, and immediate coverage for work and travel-related expenses.

Improve transit and parking benefits

We strive for improved and equitable transit and parking benefits to relieve the burden of commuting costs and support graduate workers with bicycles, cars and other forms of transportation.

Recognize and promote union rights and representation

We strive to maximize the ability of our union to engage in effective representation, including a variety of standard provisions on union representational rights and contract enforceability, as well as ensuring that all new graduate workers receive adequate orientation about rights and benefits under our contract.

Protect academic freedom and intellectual property

We strive to improve intellectual property and academic freedom rights, including clear guidelines on authorship criteria and protection against listing without consent.