February 15th TRU Newsletter

Good morning everyone,

We hope you all had a good long rest after all our celebrating! Our election was truly a historic success, not just for Johns Hopkins but also for the national graduate student unionization effort: we had one of the highest percentages of grad students vote YES in the country. We are truly stronger together!

Our outstanding success doesn’t stop with the union election. As a formal union, we now have the power to negotiate with the university administration for our workplace rights in the form of a contract. This means that we need to start assembling a Bargaining Committee that represents our concerns!

OC Meeting: 

Tuesday, February 21st at 6pm EST

Don’t know what we mean by a “Bargaining Committee”? Want to get involved with this next phase of organizing and negotiation? 

Come to next week’s hybrid OC meeting on Tuesday, February 21st at 6pm to find out how! We’ll talk about the importance of a contract, the role of the Bargaining Committee in negotiating that contract, and our new organizing team: the Contract Action Team (CAT). Fill out our RSVP form now to let us know where you’ll be attending:

  • Homewood: Bloomberg 464
  • East Baltimore: Bloomberg SPH W4030
  • Zoom:

Fundraising (and T-Shirts!)

It’s amazing to see how generous our supporters have been throughout our unionization effort, particularly financially! As we gear up for a Bargaining Committee election and contract negotiations, we need critical supplies like software, ink, and paper to help us run a smooth and secure election. 

To make your contribution today, visit our fundraising site! As always, any money you donate will go to the collective work of building a just workplace at Hopkins.

In January, we used some of our funds to purchase fabulous TRU t-shirts. We still have some left, in sizes S-3XL, so get yours today if you haven’t yet! If you would like to purchase a shirt, contact Andrew Einem via the TRU slack or email at 

TRU in the News

Over the past few weeks, a variety of media outlets reported on our election efforts and record-shattering win! Not only did many of our own university communication networks do reporting, but so did many local and national outlets, placing us squarely in the American labor news spotlight.

At Hopkins, the Hub and the JHU Newsletter announced our win to the campus community. In fact, the Newsletter has been a popular space for unionization discussion. Two of our members, Ali Siddiqi and Kristin Brig-Ortiz, also published an op-ed with the Newsletter explaining the purpose of unionization and what we will collectively achieve through it. And a few days ago, the Newsletter‘s editorial board published an article in support of our next step: bargaining for a contract.

Yet the reporting didn’t stop there! The Baltimore Sun and Baltimore Business Journal declared our win to the wider Baltimore community. The academic world learned of our incredible success through Inside Higher Ed, while the rest of the nation read about it through The Real News Network and Jacobin‘s articles. 

Even with the number of takes on the election’s reporting, every article centered on the historic nature of our election success and how it showed the growing power of grad students across the country. By unionizing, we have not only declared our rights to a safe and protected work environment – we also announced just how important we are as teachers and researchers to the entire university!

Working Group Updates

  • Chronically Ill & Disabled Students Working Group: The group is having a casual outdoor social event this afternoon. Come enjoy the sunshine and get to know each other, us, and what we’re working toward. We’ll meet at 4 p.m. on the Keyser quad (in front of Gilman) and will pass out snacks to go, as well as information about an upcoming listening session on 2/21 hosted by our pals at Equal Access in Science and Medicine. Seating and masks will be available. You can also join us on Zoom here. Feel free to just wander over, or register in advance to let us know about any accessibility needs:
  • International Students Working Group: The ISWG will be meeting this week on 18th Feb at 2 pm over Zoom to discuss next steps and our role in the bargaining committee. Please reach out to us if you have concerns or would like to talk about the bargaining committee and our role in it.
  • Parents & Caregivers Working Group: Come to next week’s OC meeting to learn more about how you can nominate a parent or caregiving grad student to the Bargaining Committee (perhaps even yourself)!

In solidarity,

– The TRU Comms Team