AFT Pennsylvania Statement on TUGSA Strike

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, February 1, 2023



Plymouth Meeting, PA– Arthur Steinberg, President of AFT Pennsylvania, issued the following statement on behalf of the more than 36,000 educators, paraprofessionals, school staff, higher education faculty, and state workers represented by AFT Pennsylvania.

“Temple University was founded especially to accommodate the schedules of working people in a city renowned for its blue collar identity. Today’s Temple University administration has turned its back on those Philadelphia working class values and the very roots of this storied institution by refusing to come to an agreement with the Temple University Graduate Student Association (TUGSA, AFT Local 6290) in twelve months of negotiations.

“The work of Teaching Assistants and Research Assistants of TUGSA is vital to the university’s success, especially as an R1 research facility, and they deserve to be treated and compensated in kind. Despite the University’s nearly $3 billion in annual revenue and its nearly-$1 billion endowment, the $19,500 per year earned by TUGSA members is not sufficient to live in a world-class city like Philadelphia. Many are even forced to spend up to 87% of those earnings on dependent health care, currently not provided by the university.

“Finally, Temple’s attempts to intimidate international graduate student workers with threats to their visa status are disgusting. It’s long past time Temple University comes back to the table in good faith and provide the compensation and working conditions the Teaching Assistants and Research Assistants of TUGSA deserve.”