Press release: Indiana Graduate Worker Coalition Announces over 70 Union Representatives

The Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition sent the following press release to the Bloomingtonian:

“FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Indiana Graduate Worker Coalition Announces over 70 Union Representatives
Today, the Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition – United Electrical Workers (IGWC-UE)
announced that over seventy graduate workers have volunteered to serve as Union
Representatives for the upcoming union election. Union Representatives are committed to
ensuring that graduate workers win the upcoming union election by being the face of the union in
their department and encouraging all union members to vote. The list of Union Representatives
can be found on the IGWC-UE website.
Union Representatives will keep members in their department informed about the progress of the
union campaign and answer questions and concerns that may come up. A union election among
the 2,500 graduate employees will require a massive get-out-the-vote operation and Union
Representatives will lead that effort.
“We are building an incredibly powerful union here. One that can truly represent all graduate
workers from across campus and is strong enough to win the things we are asking for,” explains
Nora Weber, an Instructor in the Sociology Department.
“There remains widespread dissatisfaction among graduate employees about stagnant wages and
high fees. For instance, the School of Education has not provided an across-the-board wage
increase to its graduate workers in nearly a decade,” explains Chelsea Brinda, an Instructor and
President of the Education Graduate Student Association.
“Our goal remains to end the fees and win a living wage for graduate workers. The only way we
can ensure that is by becoming a powerful voice for graduate workers. We are the only ones who
will stand up for our own interests.” Hilary Warner-Evans, a Graduate Assistant and PhD
candidate in Folklore and Ethnomusicology.31 January 2022
Last semester, IGWC-UE members submitted 1,584 union cards to the IU Board of Trustees,
calling on the University to hold an official union election in accordance with their HR 12-20
policy. The letter requests a response before February 1st, 2022. At the time of this press release,
no response has been received.
The HR 12-20 policy, titled “Conditions for Cooperation Between Employee Organizations and
the Administration of IU,” stipulates that the University is obligated to hold an election after a
petition is received by the University indicating that 30 percent of an employee unit favors an
election. A majority of IU graduate workers have signed union cards with IGWC-UE, indicating
their desire to be represented by the IGWC-UE in a bargaining relationship with the University.
A union election will determine whether or not IGWC-UE will represent IU graduate workers
through negotiations with the University. “Graduate workers have indicated their overwhelming
support for a union at IU,” noted Drew Heiderscheidt, Geography student and member of
IGWC-UE. “The University needs to honor that and hold a union election so that grad workers
can finally represent their interests.”
Graduate workers are seeking increased wages, an end to mandatory and international fees,
improved benefits, an external grievance procedure, and fairness for international students by
forming a union.
Graduate workers are employed as Associate Instructors, Research Assistants, Graduate
Assistants, and Faculty Assistants on the Bloomington campus.
In the course of their union drive, IGWC-UE has gathered support from the Graduate and
Professional Student Government (GPSG) as well as from a wide range of IU faculty. In
November, the GPSG passed a resolution that iterates the rights of graduate workers to organize
a union and calls on IU to refrain from intervening in the union process. Later in the month, a
diverse array of IU faculty circulated a letter that further details graduate workers’ rights and
insists on the University’s neutrality with regard to unionization. The letter gathered signatures
from over 100 IU faculty members.

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