Press release: IGWC-UE Launches Reproductive Rights Platform

The following press release was sent to the Bloomingtonian this week:


IGWC-UE Launches Reproductive Rights Platform

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. [August 15, 2022] — The Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition-United Electrical Workers added reproductive rights to its list of demands. The IGWC-UE Coordinating Committee asserted in a statement, “Reproductive rights are labor rights.” 

The Coalition will fight for provisions such as funding for out-of-state travel, out-of-network procedures, and paid time off for those seeking reproductive healthcare. The faculty and staff of IU are also calling on the administration to provide similar provisions.

“We took 1,000 students on strike for union recognition. The threat to our control over our own bodies has given students even more motivation to stand up for fair working conditions, which include access to reproductive healthcare,” said Wes Zebrowski, a graduate worker in the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. 

Indiana legislators passed SB1, a bill banning abortion (with few exceptions) and closing abortion clinics in the state, on Aug. 5. Prior to the bill’s passage, Indiana, Indiana University, and IU President Pamela Whitten received national attention for failing to defend Dr. Caitlin Bernard, a practitioner affiliated with IU’s School of Medicine who is being investigated for providing an abortion to a 10-year-old rape victim. 

“On and off campus, faculty members, students, and observers are increasingly united, and the administration is once again out of touch,” Zuzanna Koziatek, a graduate worker in English, said.

Reproductive rights are only one of several concerns driving heightened labor activity on the Bloomington campus. IGWC-UE members have begun signing pledges to strike on Sept. 26. A group of undergraduate parents supporting the union has also formed. Over 500 parents were invited to join as undergraduates moved into their dorms over the weekend.

About the IGWC-UE

Graduate workers are employed as Associate Instructors, Research Assistants, Graduate Assistants, and Faculty Assistants on the Bloomington campus. They teach hundreds of courses as primary instructors, conduct research in labs, and perform as artists and musicians.

IGWC-UE submitted nearly 1,600 union membership cards to the Board of Trustees requesting a union election in December of 2021. The Board rejected that request. The union now claims more than 1,800 members among the 2,500 graduate employees.

The United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE) is an independent, democratic union representing some 30,000 employees in a variety of industries. The UE’s  motto is: “The members run this union.”

For further questions and correspondence, contact Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition media correspondent Katie Shy ([email protected], 919-622-8648). 

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