AMST Statement in support of Academic Labor United

The UH American Studies Department recognizes the organizational work of Academic Labor United to demand better labor conditions for graduate student workers. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act requires the University to provide employees–including GAs and lecturers–who are unable to work from home with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19 through December 2020. However, as we enter times of increasing hardship, especially for those working as adjuncts or GAs, we need to do more.

The department endorses Academic Labor United’s March 2020 petition for sick leave and other support, and we believe these basic rights should extend beyond COVID-19. In the face of the uncertainties of our working environment in Fall 2020 and beyond, we recognize ever more clearly that the need for sick leave and collective bargaining rights, as well as for guaranteed mental and physical health care, is a matter of public health and safety, as well as a way to support graduate students’ basic needs and well being.

We further urge the University Administration to take into account the similar needs of adjunct faculty, including for comprehensive health care and sick leave.

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