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Tuesday, May 28
The Indiana Daily Student

campus administration

Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition to join other universities in statewide coalition

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The Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition announced in a press release Saturday they would be joining universities across the state to unify in support of union recognition and higher wages for graduate workers. 

IGWC Communications Chair David Garner said the coalition is in contact with Graduate Rights and Our Wellbeing, a Purdue graduate worker labor organization, and graduate workers at IU Indianapolis. The organizations hope that a collective front would lead to further recognition and negotiation power for all the graduate worker unions. 

The organization concluded a three-day strike April 19 to protest IU administration’s refusal to increase wages for graduate workers, drawing support from faculty, staff and undergraduate students.  

Earlier this year, the IGWC delivered 1,300 signed union cards and a letter to IU President Pamela Whitten, urging a union election, negotiations and a living wage minimum Jan. 17. The IGWC said in a press release despite multiple follow-up attempts, there was no response. 

The IGWC said on its website many graduate workers make $22,600 for a 10-month contract. According to a document from the Office of the Vice Provost for Finance and Administration, the minimum stipend for a 10-month graduate worker appointment is $22,000. The IGWC said the living wage for a single person living in Bloomington, based on the MIT Living Wage Calculator, is $41,441.   

RelatedLIVE UPDATES: Scenes, news from the IGWC strike picket line The strike will last three days.

The strike also followed a vote of no confidence April 16, where IU-Bloomington faculty overwhelmingly expressed no confidence in IU President Pamela Whitten, Provost Rahul Shrivastav and Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs Carrie Docherty. The IGWC, Graduate and Professional Student Government and 12 departmental student associations previously voted no confidence in Whitten’s administration, according to the IGWC

After the faculty vote of no confidence, the IU Board of Trustees chose to reaffirm its support for Whitten and her administration.  

“At our direction and with our support, President Pamela Whitten is leading at a time in higher education where the status quo is not an option,” the statement read. The full statement can be read here.   

In response to its requests not being met, the IGWC said it is committed to mobilizing graduate workers across Indiana to demand union recognition and a liveable wage. 

The IGWC release states at Purdue University, graduate workers face similar financial hardships, with base stipends falling below the cost of living in West Lafayette. Purdue graduate workers in West Lafayette receive a base stipend of about $20,000 for their 10-month contracts, where the yearly cost of living is about $40,000. 

According to the press release, graduate workers at IU Indianapolis also encounter inconsistent protections and financial uncertainties, and the split between campuses has led to varying stipends, discontinued funding and inadequate support for international workers, resulting in financial struggles and even medical debt for some. The graduate workers at IU Indianapolis lack a base stipend across campus and continue to pay the same student fee that the IGWC successfully removed for Bloomington in its Spring 2022 strike

RelatedIU organizations support survivors during Sexual Assault Awareness month, year round April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

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