PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Temple University and the Temple University Graduate Students' Association (TUGSA) have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract, university officials announced Thursday night.
This agreement comes after a long six weeks since the strike first began.
"Today, we reached a new Tentative Agreement with Temple University," TUGSA said in a tweet on Thursday. "This TA reflects the incredible work of striking members over the past six weeks. It includes significant movement on all four of our core demands! Members will now vote on whether or not to ratify the TA."
TUGSA had been negotiating with the administration on four key demands: higher wages, better benefits, and improved working conditions.
Action News reached out to Temple University officials for comment on the tentative deal. The university's Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer Ken Kaiser responded with the following statement:
"We appreciate how difficult a time this was for the entire university community, especially for our graduate students. I think the deal agreed to is fair for everyone and we look forward to having our graduate students back in the classroom and labs to continue the excellent work they do for our students and faculty and the university."
The news comes as the striking students had to pay their tuition by Thursday. If they didn't, they faced a $100 late fee and also the inability to register for more classes.
"After six weeks of striking, the strength of our members combined with the support from our political, community, and union allies pushed Temple to finally engage with our core demands," said TUGSA's lead negotiator Matt Ford. "We are happy that Temple has finally recognized the value of its graduate employees and that both teams could come to this agreement."
"I'm really excited about it, and it sets the union up to continue being a strong part of what makes Temple, Temple," said TUGSA organizer Evan Kassof.
Kassof is a member of the union's negotiations team.
"The wage movement is significant enough that I think it sets people up to be able to be able to live more like humans in Philadelphia," he said.
The union voted down the tentative agreement reached in February, after the negotiating team for TUGSA put the proposal before members without taking a position.
This time, TUGSA's negotiating team and executive board are unanimously endorsing this agreement.
"Once the votes are tallied, if it's ratified, it's ratified," said Kassof. "And it becomes the new collective bargaining agreement."
A temple spokesperson said the university is optimistic the tentative agreement will be accepted.
In a statement, Temple University spokesperson Deirdre Childress Hopkins said:
"We are ready to see our graduate students get back to doing what they do best, which is teaching and mentoring our students while also conducting innovative, industry-leading research. TUGSA will present the agreement to its membership for ratification today, and we are optimistic that it will be accepted."
The strike was the first in the Temple University Graduate Student Association's 20-year history.