Starting as a small group of students in 2014, Teachers and Researchers United (TRU) has since campaigned for and won many improvements to the living conditions of graduate workers at JHU. In 2018 we went public as the graduate worker union, and have been working ever since to build the majority support grad workers need to win our right to collectively bargain for our first contract with the university. Check out the timeline below to see how we got here!

You can read more about TRU’s early history here. For more details about specific efforts, check out our News Page or our page on campaigns we have partnered with. Questions? Comments? Or want to be a part of this movement? Email us at or hit us up on any of our social media pages!


September 1

TRU Makes its First Steps

In the aftermath of a new set of university policies called the Strategic Plan, a group of students come together to discuss the implications of the plan. Why did the administration fail to consult or listen to graduate students as they made big decisions around our working conditions? How can..Read More
September 1

Healthcare Campaign

As graduate workers at Johns Hopkins’ Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, we recognize can’t afford to get sick. Johns Hopkins may boast a top-ranking medical school and world-renowned hospital, but our healthcare plan is so poor that we cannot afford to take care of ourselves in the most routine..Read More
June 1

Save the Humanities Center Campaign

In June 2016, in the middle of their summer break, the students of the Humanities Center learn that their department would be shut down as of June 30, 2017. Dean Beverly Wendland made the decision behind closed doors and without public oversight – stranding students and faculty. This set an..Read More
April 13

Healthcare Campaign Escalates

TRU’s healthcare campaign culminates in an action delivering hundreds of signed postcards from graduate workers demanding better healthcare. Later in the year, JHU finally introduces parental leave for grad workers, and creates the Provost’s Advisory Team on Healthcare (PATH) to review existing grad health insurance.
September 1

Health Insurance Improvements Won!

Grad workers finally win improvements to health insurance, including vision and dental coverage, as some of PATH’s recommendations are incorporated into new student insurance plans.
September 26

The Unionization Campaign Goes Public

TRU goes public as the JHU graduate workers’ union for the first time, publicly announcing our partnership with SEIU-Local 500 and intentions to win collective bargaining rights for PhD students at Hopkins.
February 1

Coalition Work Against University Militarization

TRU works in coalition with other groups over the semester, including the Hopkins Coalition Against ICE working to end JHU’s contracts with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, Students Against Private Police seeking to stop the university’s plans for a police force, and the JHToo movement, formed to support survivors of sexual..Read More
August 1

Organizing for Six Years of Funding and Our Union Rights

TRU members organize around financial insecurity and the need for at least six years of guaranteed pay for PhD students, after their core concerns are left unaddressed by the Provost’s office. Later in the year, as the Trump administration moves to threaten grad collective bargaining rights, TRU collects hundreds of..Read More
March 16


TRU collects over 800 signatures on a petition articulating the relief necessary to protect grad workers, including universal extensions of grad pay, no retribution for delayed research progress, suspension of non-resident tuition fees, and extensions of health insurance coverage. TRU members author a series of op-eds to draw attention to..Read More
December 11

TRU Vehicle Caravan

After our calls for COVID-19 relief appear to have fallen on deaf ears, TRU members take to the streets in a vehicle caravan from the Medical Campus up to the Homewood campus, to raise the profile of our campaign. Even so, a few weeks later graduate students are excluded from..Read More