Live at 6 | Grad Students Protest Over Healthcare
By Zachary Levine – Syracuse, N.Y. (CitrusTV) — Syracuse University graduate student employees took to the quad on Monday to protest a move by the University administration to move them off of the faculty healthcare plan and onto the student one.
“The University made some unilateral decisions to move us off of the employee health insurance plan, which guarantees us good health insurance with a copay structure that allows us to have affordable healthcare,” said Brandon Daniels, a SU grad student and teaching assistant
He says the student plan is designed for a younger population that doesn’t use health insurance.
“When we have to worry about medical bills and finding health insurance services and finding mental health support, we are not able to attend the needs of our students, and it’s a disgrace that the university is caring so little about our rights as employees,” said Daniels.
The group that organized the protest is also pushing to unionize all of the graduate student employees. The group calls itself “Syracuse Graduate Employes United.”
Brandon Daniels has a specific vision for what a unionized graduate student employees association could accomplish.
“There’s what’s called a legal contract, that collective bargaining establishes,” he said. “In that contract, we could make demands on the university. For example, we could say we demand a five percent raise across the board to all graduate students. We could demand a copay health insurance system that is heavily subsidized by the university.”
While this group represents graduate employees, it does not speak for the entire graduate student population. The Syracuse University Graduate Student Organization is the university-sponsored group that does just that.
In a statement exclusive to CitrusTV, the Graduate Student Organization says it has no involvement in this movement.