Newsletter 10/10/2022

Happy Monday, graduate workers! In this edition you can find upcoming events, an update on Northwestern’s newly launched campaign, and announcements for the week. 

Over 1,500 Cards signed at UChicago! Have you signed yours?

Calendar 10/10/22-10/14/22

⚡ New Member Friendly

  • Monday 10/10
    • ⚡ Booth GSU Meet and Greet, 6-7:30 PM.
  • Tuesday 10/11
  • Wednesday 10/12
    • ⚡ Organizing Committee, 5:30-6:30 PM at Hyde Park Union Church.
      • The central committee meeting where major organizing concerns are discussed. The strategizing session and beating heart of the union!
  • Thursday 10/13
    • Communications Meeting, 11 AM on zoom.
      • Weekly communications meeting where we’ll talk comms strategy, social media, newsletter, press contacts, and more! All are welcome!
    • ⚡ Departmental Organizer Training, 1-3 PM at
      • This training helps prepare you to become a Departmental Organizer (DO) and help organize your coworkers and colleagues!

Get Involved!

Fill out this form, get in touch with one of your department’s organizers or even email if you are interested in working at the departmental or divisional level. You can always check out our calendar for upcoming events. All meetings are open to all members. 

Ready to get involved?

Northwestern Cards over 1,300!

This past Thursday, 10/7, our Chicagoland peers at Northwestern affiliated with United Electrical Workers (UE) as Northwestern University Graduate Workers (NUGW)! On the first day of their carding campaign, Northwestern tallied over 1,300 cards. Our very own Esther Isaac (pictured above), a born and bred Evanstonian and third-year history Ph.D., spoke at the Northwestern card drop rally and recapped the event for the newsletter.

Isaac says of the rally: “It was very high energy…around two or three hundred people attended, right in front of their main library.” Northwestern graduate workers were galvanized by various chants and decked up in their new yellow-and-purple union t-shirts. The striking sea of yellow attracted “lots of foot traffic,” according to Isaac. She notes that, “[several] people [were] asking what was up” on their way to the library.

With her deep community roots, Isaac spoke to the importance of a “rank and file union” like UE in Evanston. As the University is the largest employer in the community, Isaac believes that “the more militant and democratic NUGW is, the more opportunity there will be to work with faculty, staff, contingent, and contract employees – and more.” She emphasized that “[institutions like] UChicago and NU […] have the money and like to flaunt how much they care about the surrounding communities, but the only real way to back that up is to recognize and work meaningfully with campus unions.” Isaac affirms that “solidarity is the way forward.”

Isaac also took care to remind rally-goers that we are unionizing to make sure “Chicago AND Evanston stay union towns, [and] also that UChicago and NU become union universities, with real voices for all workers who make the institutions run, and real solidarity between and across campus unions.” Poking fun at the NU-UChicago rivalry, Isaac joked that Northwestern would likely beat UChicago’s day-one numbers, while UE President Carl Rosen noted that the real fun would be in seeing who files for election first.

Taking some inspiration from NU demands, Isaac notes that she was particularly roused by international student speaker, Qining Wang. Wang, a fifth-year Chemistry PhD, spoke about the need to hire additional support staff for international students and limit the number of students assigned to international support counselors. This would allow counselors to provide more comprehensive support to international students and their needs.

Overall, Isaac notes that NUGW has the potential to affect massive change in the greater Evanston community. Asserting how  excited she is to “welcome [NUGW] to the UE family,” Isaac believes that the union can contribute to “meaningful working-class politics [and] support organized labor.” Isaac sees these contributions as the missing piece in the city’s current equation – one that would truly cement its reputation as a “liberal bastion.” 

Congratulations to the graduate workers at Northwestern for a successful campaign launch!

  • We are seeking two Communications Secretaries to manage our internal and external communications via our communications committee. We are also seeking candidates for union co-president. The co-president serves as the face of the union, and represents GSU as needed to the University and other organizations. If these descriptions sound like you or someone you know, please consider filling out this form to nominate a candidate:
  • We stand in solidarity with the thousands of people incarcerated in the Alabama prison system who, for more than two weeks, have been striking against their confinement and forced labor by the Alabama Department of Corrections. We amplify the strike organizers’ demands here (list aggregated from Montgomery Advertiser,Alabama Political Reporter, Labor Notes, and Jared Ware of Millennials Are Killing Capitalism):
    • Establish mandatory parole criteria to guarantee parole to all eligible
    • Make the presumptive sentencing standards retroactive immediately
    • Immediately repeal Habitual Felony Offender Act, which requires stricter punishment for those with prior felony convictions, among other mandates
    • Repeal the Drive-By Shooting Statute, which makes drive-by shootings a capital offense
    • End life-without-parole sentences
    • Reduce the 30-year minimum for those classified as juvenile offenders to no more than 15 before they are eligible for parole
    • Create a review board to oversee Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles
    • Streamline the review process for medical furlough and review of elderly incarcerated individuals for immediate release
    • Reinstatement of “good time incentives” to all eligible
    • Create a statewide conviction integrity unit to investigate possible wrongful convictions

Contribute Voluntary Dues

We fund our organizing efforts through voluntary dues from UChicago grad workers. Dues income is used to cover office expenses, printing costs, staff-organizer pay, and union social events. If you want to support our organizing but don’t have time to organize, contributing dues is a great way to help. Sign up for whatever amount you’re comfortable with at

In solidarity,

Graduate Students United