BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) — Graduate student workers on strike at Indiana university will be back on the Bloomington campus on Monday, picketing outside the Sample Gates.
The graduate assistants, instructors and researchers on strike want their union recognized by the university. The group of students are pushing for rights like any other full-time employee. Currently, they’re classified as part-time employees.
The graduate students said the average graduate student who works 50% of the time, makes around $18,000 per school year. That number includes a 5% pay raise they received this year. Graduate student workers are also responsible for paying student fees to the university. The students who are on strike, want those removed and benefits added, including healthcare, paid vacation and childcare assistance.
Almost 2,000 graduate students are a part of the strike and union efforts. They want to make sure the working students are fairly compensated and respected, with a union.
“At our current compensation right now, we cannot survive the next year. That is clear, the inflation is insane,” said Quan Le Thien, an IU Research Assistant in the Department of Physics. “We think that union recognition for graduate workers is the only pathway towards a mechanism to protect us from mistreatment.”
Indiana University said it has only received a few reports of canceled classes, due to the strike. The university said it wants to continue the negotiations and sent the following statement:
“While we continue to monitor the situation, we understand that the majority of graduate students are still teaching and fulfilling their academic responsibilities. We’ve received only a few reports about canceled classes. The contingency planning done by each school is helping to minimize impact on our undergraduates as we near the end of the semester. While we are committed to protecting our undergraduates, we pledge to continue the dialogue with our graduate students that has been initiated under our new administration. These meetings with graduate students have already led to pay increases and tuition waiver flexibility. We will continue to engage with our graduate students working in academic roles, their faculty supervisors, and their schools to determine how we can continue to build on that progress together.”
The IU graduate students on strike plan to picket in front of the sample gates from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday. They also said a press conference is planned for 11 a.m.