The Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition has requested higher pay and union recognition in a letter, asking for a response by Jan. 29. The requests went unanswered. The group is considering a strike to win its demands.
The IGWC passed a resolution of no confidence Feb. 5, only IU’s Board of Trustees can authorize union recognition. The group has 1,300 card-carrying members this semester and has never gone on strike without full membership approval.
The IGWC has campaigned for union recognition since 2021 and kicked off its most recent campaign with a “More say, more pay” rally last September.
They demanded higher pay based on MIT’s Living Wage Calculator and union recognition. The calculator estimates living wages based on full-time work. Grad workers fulfill Student Academic Appointee (SAA) duties while conducting research and pursuing their degrees full time. Ali said they are expected to not have another job, and some students – such as international students – are forbidden from having other jobs.
Before the union sent their January letter to Whitten, the Dean of Bloomington’s Graduate School David Daleke announced a new minimum stipend of $23,000 for a half-time, 10-month SAA appointment.
In 2022, about 1,000 members went on strike for union recognition and the removal of fees. In August 2022, the Whitten and Provost Rahul Shrivastav announced IU waived mandatory fees and raised the minimum SAA stipend by 46 percent to $22,000.
The IGWC said in a press release living wages in Bloomington should be about $28,000 for 10-month contracts and about $34,000 for 12-month contracts.
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