Our Impact

Graduate student workers are helping lead the movement to change higher education. Already, 54,000 faculty and graduate student workers on 60 campuses have joined the Faculty Forward movement and formed unions.

We have won small things like gym access and bigger battles like an end to multi-thousand dollar continuation fees. We’ve improved our working conditions and wages, spoke out for debt-free college for all, won commitments from candidates to support smart higher education policies, fought national legislation that would hurt graduate students workers and been part of the fight to pass legislation that ensures part-time faculty makes wages on par with their full-time counterparts. You can see the impact of our movement in greater detail here.

How It Works
Are you interested in uniting with your colleagues and forming a union? Here’s how you can get started.

  1. Find out more. Read our FAQ.
  2. Reach out to us.
  3. Connect with your coworkers and sign up members.
  4. File for an election.
  5. Vote.
  6. Negotiate your first contract.

Our Recent Victories

The Faculty Forward Movement in Florida adds Broward College

The Faculty Forward Movement in Florida adds Broward College

Dec 15, 2017

92 percent of Broward College voting contingent faculty said yes to forming a union, and became the second Florida college and the fifty-first institution nationwide to form a contingent faculty union with SEIU. At nearly 1,700 eligible faculty members, the Broward College unit is also the largest bargaining unit of contingent faculty in the country.

“As a Broward College adjunct professor for more than fifteen years, I’m so proud that we came together to form our union and finally have a real voice at work,” said Alice Wujciak, a Broward College adjunct professor. “Now that we have a seat at the table, I’m confident we can start to win the changes to compensation, job security and student learning conditions we need.” 

“Today we’re joining with our colleagues at Broward College and across Florida to stand up for higher education,” said Michelle DeMarco, a Broward College adjunct professor. 

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Grad students arrested protesting #GOPTaxScam

Grad students arrested protesting #GOPTaxScam

Dec 05, 2017

Eight graduate students were arrested protesting the Republican tax bill outside House Speaker Paul Ryan’s office. Community supporters, adjunct professors and graduate students from Missouri, Illinois, North Carolina, New York, Georgia, California and the District of Columbia gathered to protest the GOP tax breaks’ impact on working families and higher education.

The proposed $1.5 trillion cut would devastate higher education by taxing student loan debt, gutting already inadequate college and university funding by taking away important state and local deductions and count waived graduate student tuition as income. With so many people out of work, underemployed or poorly paid, it’s already hard enough to make it in America without a tax plan that makes it even harder to earn a college degree. Instead of taxing our tuition and student loan debt, Congress should be fighting to make college free so everyone who works hard has the opportunity to continue their studies.

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Illinois State University grads organizing a union score support from two gubernatorial candidates in one week

Illinois State University grads organizing a union score support from two gubernatorial candidates in one week

Dec 01, 2017

Grad students organizing at Illinois State University gained ringing endorsements from two gubernatorial candidates last week.  On Monday, state Sen. Daniel Biss published a public letter of support and on Friday signed a pledge to support grad assistants, adjunct and non-tenure track faculty across Illinois by passing a state budget that raises stipends and contingent faculty salaries, supporting union organizing, passing a law to allow research assistants to form unions, and helping defeat the GOP tax bill that seeks to tax waived tuition for graduate students. .

Not to be outdone, Democratic frontrunner JB Pritzker also declared his support, saying “people who power our state’s most valuable institutions deserve every right to bargain for fair wages and benefits."

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Non-tenure track full-time faculty at Howard University vote to join SEIU Local 500

Non-tenure track full-time faculty at Howard University vote to join SEIU Local 500

Nov 30, 2017

HBCUs are in the Faculty Forward movement with a victory at Howard University. The unit of 150 faculty are the first full-time only unit to join Local 500. Historically Black Colleges and Universities generate $14.8 billion in economic impact annually, according to a stunning new report by the United Negro College Fund.

Local 500 already represents the adjuncts at Howard University. This was the first HBCU to form a union for adjunct faculty, followed closely by the University of the District of Columbia also with Local 500. It is also important to note that, HBCU faculty members earned $11,000, or 17%, less than their non-HBCU peers. With their union, they are now able to advocate for better wages and working conditions.

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Graduate Workers Protest Tax Plan That Hurts Them #Walkout

Graduate Workers Protest Tax Plan That Hurts Them #Walkout

Nov 29, 2017

Working graduate students took action across the country on Wednesday, November 29th, 2017 including a walkout at Duke University, to protest the Republican tax bill being considered this week by the U.S. Senate. The tax plan has been criticized for discouraging our nation’s children to pursue their dreams of attending college by eliminating key tax deductions for students, including the interest paid on student loans and the tuition break for graduate students who work as teaching and research assistants. This could be disastrous for many graduate workers who already find it difficult to make ends meet on meager stipends. Since the release of the GOP tax bill, graduate workers have spoken out on the devastating effects it would have on higher education. In addition to Wednesday’s national #GradWalkOut over 150 graduate workers at Syracuse University were joined by SEIU Local 200United members and other allies for a campus rally. From the University of Maryland to the University of California Davis, students are committed to speaking out against the GOP tax giveaway.

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See all our victories