Councilman John Goncalves Statement in Support of the Graduate Labor Organization at Brown University

Apr 20, 2021 | 0 comments

Throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic, workers from all different trades, fields, and backgrounds have faced unprecedented challenges. Continuing to work and keep the organizations that they work for running smoothly has come at the risk of their health and financial stability. Unfortunately, it is often the workers who are paid the least that are taking these risks to keep their workplace afloat.

That is exactly why the members of the Graduate Labor Organization at Brown University deserve the raises, rights, and respect that they are asking for. For the duration of the pandemic, Graduate students employed by Brown University have incurred extra expenses and put their health at risk in order to sustain the labor they provide for the University. From purchasing in-home office equipment to maintaining in-person labs by purchasing their own protective equipment; members of the GLO have done the work, paid the price, and deserve to be paid fairly and treated with respect by Brown University.

Brown University leads Ivy League schools across the country, with a twelve percent growth in their endowment in 2020 despite the global pandemic. With a growing $4.7 billion endowment and prosperity that is at odds with the current financial circumstances of most institutions and individuals in today’s economy, Brown University must lead by example, both in its contributions to its workers and its contributions to the City of Providence.

Employees of any organization should never have to pay to work. Especially when that institution has the financial resources that Brown University has. And especially when those employees have done so much to keep classes, research projects, and other commitments going throughout a global pandemic.

As a two-time Brown alumnus, there isn’t an institution more near and dear to my heart. However, for the aforementioned reasons, I am calling on Brown University to listen to the Graduate Labor Organization and heed their requests for a fair raise, a COVID-19 safe workplace, and appreciation for the work they have already done to keep the University prosperous and growing.

John Goncalves

Councilman, Ward 1

Providence City Council

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