Rally Against Private Police Bill on July 1

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On July 1st over a hundred people gathered in Wyman Park Dell to protest the formation of the Hopkins private police force on the day that the bill permitting this would go into effect. Representatives from multiple university and community organizations spoke at the rally, including individuals from the Coalition Against ICE, the Garland Sit-In, and the Hopkins Nurses Union.

A representative from TRU spoke at the event, saying that as workers of the university who earn revenue for the university in the form of teaching students and pulling in grants, we have a right to determine how the fruits of our labor are used at this university. Moreover, because we are a part of this university, we have a responsibility to hold the institution and its administrators responsible when they abuse their power and undemocratically push through a racist, armed, and unaccountable police force.

The Baltimore Brew covered the rally and march.

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TRU Member Interviewed Regarding Private Police on Campus

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On February 13th a rally against private police at Johns Hopkins was held outside Brody Commons. A member of TRU in attendance at the rally was interviewed by the Baltimore Jewish Times. She was quoted as saying: “Baltimore is not the predominantly white uniform face that Hopkins would like to project on its brochures and to the public at large,” she said. “It feels as though, ‘Oh if we make the campus feel safe, or if we project the idea of safety, students will want to come here and parents will want to donate.’ But it’s a false sense of safety and a false sense of security. And of course we have to ask ourselves, ‘safe and secure for whom?’”

TRU continues to oppose the formation of a private, armed, police force on campus because it would endanger the safety of students, workers, and community members. A private police force would not be subject to community oversight, and would only aggravate an already hostile environment towards people of color.

For more on TRU’s history of advocacy regarding private police, see our dedicated webpage on the topic.

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Hopkins Nurses Speak Out at Townhall

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five people st in a row at a long red table. A sign in front of each person identifies them. Above the panelists is a powerpoint projection reading "Hopkins Nurses Speak Out. December 1, 2018."

On December 1, nurses from the Johns Hopkins Hospital presented a report with disturbing information about patient care at Hopkins. They revealed that Hopkins frequently sues its patients for unpaid medical debt. Those targeted by these lawsuits are predominantly poor and Black Baltimoreans. In addition, nurses shared how Hopkins has been illegally intimidation in its efforts to thwart the formation of a nurses’ union.

A flyer with the event details for the "Hopkins Nurses Speak Out" event. The event is described as a "town hall on patient care and public accountability."

A representative of TRU spoke at the event in support. TRU supports the unionization of all workers at Johns Hopkins. Just as the working conditions of graduate students are the learning conditions of undergraduate students, so too the working conditions of nurses are the conditions of care for their patients. Working conditions and the quality of work are inextricably linked. In addition, as workers of Hopkins we will continue to hold our employer to a higher standard. We deserve, and the wider community deserves, a better Hopkins. Unions can continue to hold Hopkins accountable.

A recording of the event is available on Facebook, and the town hall was covered by multiple media outlets. In addition, the JHU News-Letter published an editorial in support.


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A crowd gathers in front of the Eisenhower library steps under a cloudless blue sky. Some people carry signs saying "I support my TA" or "TRU working for you" or "Grad worker". Many people are also wearing buttons. There is a photographer and two videographers. Gilman hall is visible in the background.

On September 26, TRU announced the public formation of a union of graduate students across all divisions at Johns Hopkins. Representatives from the National Nurses Union (NNU) at Hopkins, the grad union at Georgetown, and the union of security guards also spoke at the rally. A letter in support of unionization signed by over 200 graduate workers was distributed after the event.

The rally and announcement was covered by multiple news outlets including the JHU News Letter, the Real News Network, and the Baltimore Sun.

A sepia-colored poster announces a rally for grad workers with the title "Stand Up Speak Out". Three fists with different skin tones are raised up in front of a Gilman Hall tower which is faded int the background. Text running up the right side of the poster reads "Stand with us to build graduate workers' power at JHU"

TRU Co-Sponsors Demonstration to Protest Hopkins Contracts with ICE

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A large group of people carrying signs marches from Gilman Hall towards Garland

TRU coordinated with Students Against Private Police (SAPP), the International Socialist Organization Baltimore, and the Party for Socialism and Liberation to hold a demonstration in September 21 in protest of Hopkins’s continuing contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The demonstration included a playdate, singing, and a march to Garland Hall where we delivered a petition of over 1,900 signatures. A speak-out was then held at Garland Hall.

A member of TRU speaks at Garland Hall. A large ribbon of paper hangs over the railing with all the petition signatures on it.
A member of TRU speaks at Garland Hall. The large ribbon of paper is the list of signatures on the petition.

The Real News Network and the JHU News Letter covered the September 21 Playdate and Rally. In an interview with The Real News Network, a member of TRU reiterated our demands for increased protection and support for international students and workers as well as students and workers of color.

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TRU Stands with other Baltimore Organizations against the Unite the Right 2 Rally

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grads march in the streets of DC

Fascism and white nationalism threaten the well-being of our community. TRU co-sponsored a speak out at Baltimore’s Penn Station against the rise of fascism and white nationalism, and some graduate workers took to the streets of D.C. in protest. The JHU News Letter covered the event.

A member of TRU speaks out at Penn Station.

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TRU connects gender and labor relations at JHU on International Women’s Day

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Grad speaks into megaphone at rally

Teachers and Researchers United (TRU) marked International Women’s Day with the announcement of a new subcommittee, new organizing goals, and new demands, while some of our members participated in a local march honoring working class women. The JHU News Letter covered the events of the march.

First, TRU announced the work of its recently established Gender Equity Subcommittee. Since 2014, TRU has been speaking to graduate students about working conditions, revealing a host of issues relating to gender, from sexual harassment and high attrition rates to lack of healthcare and services. TRU’s gender equity organizing seeks to address these problems and fight for justice and fair treatment within our workplace, as well as ensuring that gender equity guides the principles and workings of our own organization.

In conjunction with TRU’s ongoing healthcare campaign, the Subcommittee took International Women’s Day as an opportunity to draw attention to one glaring issue: childcare. While other universities offer support to parents, at Johns Hopkins graduate workers pay thousands out of pocket for child care expenses. Flyers posted around campus drew attention to this disparity and demanded that the university administration take steps to offer real support to graduate parents.

Posters hung up around campus showed how little Johns Hopkins supports grad student parents in comparison with peer institutions.

In addition to TRU’s organizing, a group of TRU members joined in the Baltimore International Working Women’s Day March. The march, which was sponsored by a number of undergraduate organizations and activist groups, rallied in front of the Eisenhower Library. There, various speakers took up a number of issues– from dealing with anti-Semitism and racism in the United States, to struggles of women in Palestine, Syria, and elsewhere in the global south facing the brunt of climate change, exploitation, and military violence – highlighting the multitude of experiences and struggles that define International Women’s Day.

From the university, marchers proceeded to the People’s Park, and shouted chants supporting Black and Trans lives, calling on the US to condemn fascism and welcome immigrants, and an end to police violence.

At the park, additional speakers focused on issues that intersect with the aims of TRU’s gender equity organizing. First, from Maryland where the lack of a just minimum wage forces many women to work multiple jobs to support their children, to the Philippines where the legacy of US military occupation force women to work overseas to support families back home, gender relations are labor relations. Second, that gender equity is not limited to cis women, but must aim for a much more expansive and complex idea of justice and liberation.
(Photo credit Valeria Villanueva)

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TRU Organizes Grad Tax Speak Out

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grad speaks before a gathering of people on the beach, 2017

Angered by the tax bill’s threats to higher education and frustrated by the university’s inadequate responses, graduate students at Johns Hopkins had to act. In addition to endorsing and circulating the Graduate Representative Organization’s (GRO) petition against the tax bill, TRU organized a speak-out for December 7. More than 75 people turned out to listen as members of TRU, as well as a member of the undergraduate organization Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), condemned the bill’s potential effects on graduate students’ ability to continue working in the university and its ramifications for higher education as a whole. Read our campaign page in the link below for full details. The JHU News Letter covered the event and interviewed some members of TRU.

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Contract Workers Deserve a Living Wage

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TRU stood in solidarity with other activists and unions at Johns Hopkins in demanding a $15 minimum wage for all Hopkins contract workers. TRU is a part of the Student-Labor Action Coalition which also includes Unite Here Local 7, SEIU 32BJ, the Black Student Union (BSU), and Hopkins Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).

Unite Here Local 7 represents the Hopkins dining service workers and SEIU 32BJ represents the Hopkins security workers (aka “Hop Cops”). The Hopkins dining service workers are contracted from BAMCO (Bon Appetit) and the security workers are contracted with Allied Universal Security.

On February 3rd the Coalition held a rally at Hodson Hall and then marched to Garland Hall where we hand-delivered a letter reiterating the request for a meeting with Hopkins administrators, but that email had gone unanswered. The rally was covered by the Johns Hopkins News-Letter.

Anti-Muslim Ban Rally

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On February 9th, 2017, hundreds from the JHU community came together on two campuses to protest President Trump’s racist, xenophobic executive order. A representative of TRU joined other speakers in demanding that Hopkins become a Sanctuary Campus, and that JHU administration provide financial resources as well as full time legal counsel to support students and workers impacted by the ban.

The JHU News-Letter covered the rally.

TRU Marches and Helps Occupy Wyman Park Building in Support of the Humanities Center

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Last Thursday, November 17, TRU and other graduate students and organizations marched from the Levering Courtyard to the Wyman Park Building in support of the Humanities Center. At the Wyman Park building we met with three administrators including Matthew Roller, the vice dean of graduate education. However, the goal was to deliver a petition with a list of demands directly to dean Beverly Wendland. TRU and other protestors then sat in at the building for approximately 45 minutes, chanting, reading out demands, and giving speeches.

The event was covered by the Hopkins News Letter, and a member of TRU was interviewed, saying: “Along with the Humanities Center being a place where first rate scholarship is produced, it’s also the place where faculty, students and administrative workers work and get their income to get their means to eat, to pay rent and to cover healthcare … My fellow graduate workers, we got to understand this is a question of our work, of our livelihood.”

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