Press release: GPSG Passes Resolution to Support Graduate Worker Unionization

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


GPSG Passes Resolution to Support Graduate Worker Unionization

Indiana University’s Graduate and Professional Student Government (GPSG) passed a resolution on Friday, February 4 titled, “Resolution in Support of Graduate Worker Unionization.” The resolution passed with a near-unanimous vote, with a 60-0 vote in favor and 1 abstention.

The resolution encourages graduate student workers to participate in the unionization process by “tak[ing] the necessary steps to form a labor union including voting Yes in a union election” and

“representing the work-related interests of graduate student workers in negotiations with Indiana

University Administration.” The resolution also insists that the University Administration

“respect the call from a majority of graduate student workers to hold a fair union election” and

“remain neutral in all its communications regarding unionization and the voting process.”

Charles Ault, a Chemistry graduate student and co-presenter of the resolution, notes, “the passage of this resolution indicates the vast support among the graduate student and worker body for our unionization efforts.”

The passing of this resolution comes just days after Interim Provost John Applegate denied the Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition – United Electrical Workers’ (IGWC-UE) request for a union election to be held by the University. This denial refuses to acknowledge the supermajority of graduate workers who have signed and submitted union cards to the University indicating their preference for a union election. John Ferrand, another co-presenter of the resolution and a graduate student in The School of Public Health, states “the University needs to recognize that, in denying our request for a union election, they are denying an open dialogue with an overwhelming majority of graduate workers.” Anne Kavalerchik, a IGWC-UE member, adds, “on Tuesday, Provost Applegate told us that we don’t need a union because we have the GPSG.

Today, the GPSG voted overwhelmingly to endorse unionization. We urge IU to listen.”

IGWC-UE member Simon Luo says, “it is great to know that GPSG is among the many

University bodies that are in support of a graduate worker union.” Luo also indicated the letter drafted by the local chapters of CWA and AAUP in January that expresses solidarity with the graduate workers’ union campaign. “We’re seeing more and more people calling on the University to respect our unionization efforts.” This also includes a diverse array of IU faculty who circulated a letter in November 2021 that 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.

In November 2021, the GPSG passed a related resolution titled, “Resolution to Affirm the Rights of Graduate Workers and Assure Employer Neutrality During a Union Organizing Campaign.” This resolution enumerates the rights of graduate workers to self-organize and associate as a labor union, freely and without employer retaliation.

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.

For further questions and correspondence, contact Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition media correspondent, Cole Nelson ([email protected]).

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