The following press release was sent to the Bloomingtonian this week:
Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition Calls for Cost of Living Adjustment
Bloomington, IN – The Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition – United Electric (IGWC-UE) has
submitted a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) petition to the Indiana University (IU)
administration, calling for an 8% raise for all workers on campus. Our organizing efforts have
garnered well over 1100 demanding this raise.
Last year, our organizing won historic gains for graduate workers on campus. After 1200
students went on strike for four weeks during Spring Semester, the university quickly gave a
massive raise – in some cases as high as 60% to the lowest paid graduate workers on campus.
Despite these wins, grad workers – like all of the most vulnerable workers on campus – are still
facing pay cuts.
“A cost of living adjustment is not just another raise. As inflation continues to grow and the
living conditions for IU workers continue to deteriorate, it becomes a moral imperative to fight
for basic necessities. We are not asking for an 8% raise. We are asking for IU to prevent an 8%
pay cut.” says Denizhan Pak, a grad worker and member of IGWC-UE Coordinating Committee
Rent alone has been a major squeeze for workers in Bloomington. According to the Department
of Housing and Urban Development, Bloomington’s median rent for a single bedroom unit
jumped from $803 in 2022 all the way to $1025 in 2023 – a 28% increase. At the same time, the
Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates that every dollar has lost 8% of its buying power as a result
of price increases for essential items. These pressures have been especially intense on graduate
workers, who – even after our raises – make far below the calculated cost of living in
Bloomington at $33,571.
Of course, the IU administration has been more than able to weather these economic hardships.Publicly available compensation data shows that the top 20 IU administrators make a total of
over $9.5 million. – and they never had to go on strike to make it happen. The University’s
former president alone – a man who doesn’t even work here – raked in over $2.2 million dollars
in 2021. The University has clearly made a decision about which workers it will strive to take
care of. It is up to the rest of us to organize to get both our fair share, and a seat at the table.
IGWC-UE is the union for graduate workers but this fight is for all workers at IU. Our
organizing efforts were not only directed at SAAs but also staff, faculty, facilities, hourly
workers, undergrads, and everyone else who does the day to day work that makes IU function.
The IGWC is calling on the Indiana University administration to respond to the petition within
two weeks. If the administration fails to respond, graduate workers will take action to
ensure that their voices are heard.