our UNION is crucial

Binghamton University graduate workers perform research and teaching integral to the University’s operation, reputation, and mission—and yet, almost all of us are forced to navigate unjust working conditions during our academic careers at Binghamton.

a bulwark against abuse

The point of organizing as a union is to put pressure on the University that wouldn’t otherwise exist: pressure to treat graduate workers with dignity and adhere to common-sense standards of transparency and democracy in its operations.

seeing the results

We have important wins to show for our recent efforts as a chapter: our fee mitigation campaign helped lead to the statewide abolition of fees for graduate students, and we have won a wage increase that, while still inadequate, will improve the conditions of graduate work for many of our members. In order to keep solving the problems we face as graduate workers, we need all hands on deck!

the basics

Our bargaining unit is everyone officially represented by GSEU. This includes any SUNY graduate worker who is on a GA/TA line of funding, even if they do not become members by signing their union card and paying their union dues. Your offer letter for employment at the University will specify if you are on a GA/TA line represented by GSEU.

(Keep in mind that, because your funding source can change from year to year, your inclusion in the bargaining unit can change, too.)

become a member now

Dues-paying GSEU members are behind all of our victories. Your membership affords us the collective resources to fight for workplace protections, better health insurance, stipend increases, and more. Members agree to have dues deducted in the form of 1.99% of their net pay. They are entitled to representation in any workplace discipline issue, additional funding and training opportunities, a vote in leadership elections, participation in decision-making committees such as the Living Wage or Bargaining Committee, a vote on the new contract, and—of course—a free drink at every union social.

power in numbers

Every GA/TA is automatically represented by our union, receiving benefits like raises without opting to pay dues. But it is still vitally important that every GA/TA opt in to dues-paying membership by signing their union card. The simple fact of another signed membership card is itself an important form of leverage in our fights for fair treatment. The more dues-paying members we have in our bargaining unit, the more seriously we will be taken when we bring our demands to the administration.

participate at your own pace

Signing your union card does not require you to participate in union events or actions—we welcome whatever help members are willing and able to commit, but none is required. Neither does membership require you to vote differently or change your values. Joining the union in no way entails joining or supporting a political party.

We are the union

GSEU is not an activist, advocacy, or charity organization. GSEU is its members: the thousands of SUNY graduate workers who are in our collective bargaining unit.

Our unity is the key to our power: we can only fight for better working conditions collectively. GSEU members elect Business Agents and Chief Stewards, but no one has power alone. What we win or don’t win is up to GA/TAs like you taking action.

our chapter

GSEU Binghamton has our own elected leadership, navigates our unique relationship with Binghamton administrators, and organizes independent actions around campus-specific issues. However, GSEU—our bargaining unit—comprises all GA/TAs on all SUNY campuses. We coordinate with other chapters at Stonybrook, Albany, Buffalo, and other SUNY campuses on certain unit-wide efforts, the most important of which is contract bargaining with our shared employer, New York State.

INTERNATIONAL GRAD WORKERs have a right to unionize

It is illegal for the University or the US government to retaliate against individuals for their union activity, and current/future visa status cannot be affected. Federal law protects international students’ right to join a union. You can read about your rights to organize as non-U.S. citizens in the Wilberforce Pamphlet (PDF), an official US government document which explains this issue.

our legal rights

The Taylor Law, passed in the 1960s, granted New York State public employees like us the right to unionize. This is true even if you are a non-U.S. citizen.

It is illegal for your supervisor, department, or administration to:

... "Interfere with, restrain or coerce" you in your connection with GSEU

... Retaliate against your supporting the union

... Interfere with your vote in a union election

... Deny your request for a union rep to attend a disciplinary meeting


Most unionized groups of workers form a partnership with a larger collection of unionized workplaces in a process called affiliation. Affiliation with a national union structure allows for workers to pool their resources, which in turn provides them with financial support for workplace actions and campaigns, legal expertise in grievance procedures, and training for rank-and-file union reps, among many other benefits. In other words, the role of “the national” is to provide support and resources for “the local.”

GSEU officially joined CWA Local 1104 in the late 1990s. We are under the Education Division of our local, which comprises GSEU, Research Assistants at Stonybrook and ESF, and grad workers at Fordham University. Our local, in turn, is part of CWA District 1.

Despite all the benefits we receive from our parent union, CWA is not “the union” — we, the graduate workers of SUNY, are the union. We democratically determine what issues we want to fight for, how we fight for them, and what we are and are not willing to compromise on.

Read our 2019-2023 contract here