The healthcare working group develops and implements campaigns to improve the quality of healthcare available to Duke's graduate student workers. Thanks to members of this working group, the union successfully pressured the university to restore gym access to all Ph.D. students in 2017. We are currently working to transfer graduate students to the employee health plan and obtain dental insurance for grad students.
The pay regularity working group exists to make sure grad student workers get paid on time. We're currently working on a proposal that would require Duke to pay first year students before they arrive on campus and help them with relocation costs. We are also pushing to shift all graduate students to a 12-month pay cycle and, ultimately, increase Ph.D. student stipends to the equivalent of $15 an hour. In the future, we'd also like to design a process by which grad students can seek redress for late or incomplete payments through the union.
Harassment and Discrimination
The Duke Graduate Students Union and Workers United UNC “Working Group on Harassment and Discrimination” believes in a campus environment that protects and keeps safe all members of our campus community--particularly the most vulnerable and disenfranchised--from all forms of harassment and discrimination. We advocate for transparent, inclusive, equitable, and effective policies and practices that hold perpetrators accountable. We connect with campuses around the nation to learn how we can best improve the workplace safety of the members of our own community, and we use DGSU and WU-UNC's resources to inform graduate students about their rights. Our successes include establishing a graduate student-worker support group for survivors of sexual harassment and a “know your rights" workshop.
The continuation fees working group is fighting, ultimately, to end continuation fees (often $7,000 annually) for all graduate workers at Duke. Thanks to the efforts of this group, the graduate school ended continuation fees for 6th year Ph.D. students in 2017. Since then, this group has held a weekly bake sale to raise money to help pay continuation fees of union members in their 7th year and above.