Over 800 Grad Workers Sign Union Cards on Day One of the Union Drive last week

BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – SEPTEMBER 28: The Indiana Grad Workers Coalition holds a rally at Indiana University’s Sample Gates on September 28, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. The workers were rallying for union recognition by Indiana University, and a living wage, according to a press release. Workers were also encouraging Grad Workers to sign union cards. Five hundred cards were signed in under two hours, according to IGWC. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)

Written from a press release

Bloomington, Indiana – October 2, 2023

Over 800 Grad Workers Sign Union Cards on Day One of the Union Drive

Graduate students at Indiana University are demonstrating overwhelming support for unionization and the pursuit of a living wage as they rapidly sign union cards, according to a press release from the IGWC. Over 800 graduate students have signed union cards within the first twenty-four hours of the campaign’s launch, according to IGWC.

The Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition (IGWC), an advocate for graduate worker rights, has spearheaded this movement. Zara Anwarzai, Organizing Coordinator for the IGWC and a graduate worker in the Philosophy Department and Cognitive Science Program, expressed her astonishment at the swift response. “We are so unbelievably overwhelmed by the amount of support we are getting, especially from first-year graduate workers as well as people who went on strike two years ago,” Anwarzai said.

“It means our union is here to stay!” Anwarzai added, noting that many incoming first-year students have shown an eagerness to join the cause after being aware of IGWC’s previous successes on campus.

Anne Kavalerchik, a graduate worker in Sociology and Informatics and the union’s Coordinating Officer, remarked on the surge of organizers joining their ranks. “On the first day, over 150 new people indicated that they want to help sign people up in their department. Grad students at IU are tired of the low pay and of having no say in our working conditions.”

IGWC launched its campaign with a spirited “More Say, More Pay” rally on Thursday morning. Presently, Indiana University provides graduate workers with a minimum stipend of $22,000 for ten-month contracts. According to the Living Wage Calculator from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a living wage in Bloomington, IN, for a ten-month contract is $27,973, and the minimum for a twelve-month contract is $33,568.

Sam Smucker, a graduate student in the Media School, emphasized the university’s disregard for shared governance. “In 2022, the faculty voted overwhelmingly to recognize the union,” Smucker explained. “The Administration is ignoring the faculty and ignoring any semblance of shared governance. Is shared governance just a mirage that the Administration gives lip service to when it suits them?”

For additional information and inquiries, please contact Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition media correspondent, David Garner, at [email protected].

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