My name is Neville Eclov, and I’m a graduate employee in the Biological Sciences Division.
I’m voting YES for our union because graduate employees at UChicago deserve a workplace that supports workers and their families.
My wife Rachel and I had our daughter in 2014, at the start of my third year. Raising Isobel has been one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences in life. However, like many UChicago grads who have children, I’ve been disappointed at how the university administration’s rhetoric about supporting working parents fails to live up to reality.
The administration touts the range of services it offers to grad parents while providing little actual support. The campus has too few lactation spaces for nursing parents, and navigating pediatric healthcare on USHIP can be a nightmare. But for my family and others, the fundamental problem remains the cost of childcare, which can be as high as $1975 per month at the University’s on-campus facility. Even for those who receive the monthly subsidy of $167 (which exists only because of dedicated advocacy by grad parents and GSU members), affordable childcare remains out of reach. For Rachel and me, this has meant each of us working a second job to make ends meet.
The university administration can live up to its rhetoric by making childcare more affordable for grad workers, thereby reducing attrition rates and time to degree. With $7 billion in financial reserves, UChicago has the resources to fix this problem, but the administration doesn’t want to listen to its employees. With a union, we’ll have the collective voice necessary to make more substantive progress on these issues.
Join me in VOTING YES on October 17-18. Together we can build an institution that enables the growth of academic AND family life.