As you may (or may not) know, the administration has established a 19.5-hour-per-week cap on student employment in University positions, including library assistants, editorial assistants, research assistants, and other hourly jobs. In the past, since teaching labor was not calculated by the hour, it did not count against the 19.5-hour cap, which allowed students to supplement limited teaching income with other UChicago jobs.
Graduate Students United has launched the Grievance Committee as a pilot project, with the aim of exploring how a student union can help its members address specific workplace concerns. Examples of such concerns could be an unwarranted firing or demotion, withholding of wages, harassment by a peer or supervisor, or other instances of unfair and injurious treatment in the workplace.
While certain university institutions already exist to address such concerns (e.g., the Office of the Student Ombudsperson and the Bias Response Team), reports of their efficacy have been mixed. And while we hope to see these institutions become more effective, we believe there is a clear role for a union to bring its collective power to bear in advocating for the rights of its members.
If you would like to get in touch with the Grievance Committee to discuss a possible grievance, or if you are interested in joining the Committee, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “For the Grievance Committee.” Your inquiry will be handled with respect for your confidentiality. We will work with you to develop an plan of action based on your own priorities. Ultimately, we aim to to brainstorm long-term solutions for the types of grievances most commonly experienced by graduate students.