Workers' Rights

Fair wages and employment practices make Penn State stronger.

Democratic workplaces for all employees

More than 30,000 faculty, staff, and student workers across the Commonwealth make Penn State possible. All deserve dignified, democratic workplaces. We support codifying a labor union recognition policy that protects employees’ right to organize and bargain without fear of administrative retaliation, interference, and intimidation. 

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$15 an hour campus minimum wage 

Many students work on-campus to afford attending Penn State. Per a 2019 survey on food insecurity, however, current wages are not enough: working students are more likely to be food insecure, and nearly half of those working full-time are food insecure. We support increasing the minimum hourly wage across campuses to $15 or the county living wage as estimated by MIT, whichever is higher, for all employees, and we support regular surveys of student employees to actively respond to concerns around working conditions and wages.

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Equity and transparency in employment practices

Penn State must be a safe and transparent place to work to stay competitive in the hiring market, particularly with respect to faculty and graduate worker rights. To ward off growing national attacks on faculty employment, we support expanding transparency in promotional processes and protecting academic tenure. Further, amidst struggles to hire and retain diverse faculty across all colleges, we support fully adopting the call of the More Rivers to Cross reports, including a timetable to fund tenure-track hiring lines for Black faculty, an external study of pay equity, and an overhaul of the affirmative action complaint process to better respond to concerns from Commonwealth campuses. Penn State must also adopt stringent policies against power-based discrimination and harassment for graduate workers and a balanced grievance process that permits third-party arbitration, developed in concert with graduate workers.