Philip Kear: Why I'm voting yes for CGSU

Dear Colleague,

My name is Philip Kear and I’m a graduate student in CALS. I’m not a US citizen or a Green Card holder; I’m in the US on a non-immigrant F1-visa holder that allows me to study and work at Cornell. I don’t intend to settle in the US; I just came to study. Together with me are my wife and two daughters, which are F2 holders. It is because I’m not an American citizen that I’m voting to form a union at Cornell on March 27! I’m asking that you join me!

Despite my mostly positive experience working as a graduate employee at Cornell I have struggled with the unrealistic burden of Cornell’s lack of affordable health insurance provision for dependents. Basic Cornell health insurance for a spouse and two children will cost my family approximately $8000 annually. Because of my wife’s visa status she is not allowed to work, making our family of four financial survival dependent on my assistantship. Ultimately, this has led to long periods without insurance. It’s actually cheaper for our family to seek medical treatment in another country than to pay the sky-high insurance fees at Cornell. Our ability to negotiate over the cost and quality of our healthcare will only come with forming a union and negotiating with Cornell. That’s why we must vote yes on March 27 and 28th. Join me!

I come from a country where health insurance costs are covered through taxes. Every person has access to the same coverage regardless of citizenship after 90 days in the country. I’m voting yes on March 27 to join a national union that invests resources in fighting for the preservation of and to improve healthcare in this country, as well as for the rights of those of us who are scholars from other countries. We chose to come to study at Cornell for a reason. That’s why I’m voting yes.

My story is not unique. I’ve talked to many other grad employees with stories similar to mine and the high cost of health insurance and how deeply it affects our family is why we’re voting for a union on March 27 and 28th.

Join us.

Philip Kear

Teaching Assistant, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences