Newsletter 1/25: 1500 Pledge to Vote Yes!

1500 Pledge to vote YES!

Over 1500 graduate workers have committed to Vote Yes for GSU-UE and for winning a Living Wage Always. Each name in the story is a graduate worker with a story of how a union would improve their workplace and research at UChicago. Next week we are preparing for a massive voter turnout and a huge victory. Then the real work of securing economic security begins!

Once we win our union, UChicago graduate employees from across our campus will elect a Bargaining Committee made up of graduate students from every division. It’s time to think big. 

It’s time to transform higher education so that it is accessible to all people and so that graduate employees live with economic security and dignity.

The Bargaining Committee will survey our members and create a list of bargaining goals. We know one of those goals is a Living Wage, Always. 

A Living Wage Always means sufficient income to ensure that we can focus on our research and teaching without economic insecurity. A Living Wage Always means bargaining for significant annual raises that keep up with consumer inflation and the rising cost of rent.

Our sibling UE local union at MIT is in bargaining right now. Their opening proposal for wages is a $59,800 minimum and annual increases tied to inflation.

The MIT Bargaining Committee’s economic demands include:

  • Ensuring that grad workers can afford to live in Cambridge/Boston by increasing our base stipend to $59,800.
  • Addressing that MIT chooses to burden its workers with rent by charging more than 30% of base income.
  • Tying annual raises to the Cambridge cost of living to protect against inflation. 
  • Ensuring that pay is on time.
  • Providing access to MIT’s employee 401k retirement accounts with 5% matching contributions.
  • Ending fees paid back to MIT.
  • Preventing tuition demands from impeding research progress by decreasing tuition for later-stage grad workers.
  • Providing extra compensation for grad workers who coordinate the work of others, such as UROPs or other TAs, as part of an appointment.

These are the initial proposals for the MIT Bargaining Committee. You can see bargaining progress here.

Our bargaining proposals with UChicago will be unique to our needs. However, we want our bargaining committee to make big demands that will change graduate life permanently and for the better. There is a bright future ahead.

In solidarity,

Graduate Students United