Indiana University graduates vote 97.8% to strike – The Bloomingtonian

The following press release was sent by the Indiana Graduate Worker Coalition to Bloomingtonian Monday:

“FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

1,008 graduate workers vote to strike

Strike authorization passes with a 97.8% Yes Vote

Strike to start Wednesday

Union members of the Indiana Graduate Worker Coalition – United Electrical Workers (IGWC-UE) voted 1,008 to 23 to authorize a strike in support of their demand for union recognition from the university administration from Indiana. The IGWC-EU Strike Strategy Committee reviewed the results and agreed by consensus that strike plans should go ahead.

Graduate workers strike for union recognition. After years of neglect by the administration of higher education, the IGWC-EU demands a permanent negotiating relationship with the IU administration. IGWC-EU seeks a relationship that will ensure the voices of graduate workers are heard.

For years, Indiana University focused on funding administrative salaries while neglecting educational programs. The result is that most departments have given only two raises to graduate teachers and researchers in the past decade. Some departments have not increased salaries for more than ten years.

“The administration’s priorities just seem wrong. They fund all sorts of prestige projects and high administrative salaries and at the same time neglect the educational mission of the university,” explained Valentina Luketa, President of the Graduate and Professional Student Government.

Directors’ salaries are skyrocketing. The IU Foundation President’s salary increased by more than 54% between 2010 and 2019. During the same period, the IU President’s and Provost’s salaries increased by 124% and 47%, respectively. The IU President received $888,000 in 2020. President McRobbie received over $500,000 in bonuses during his final months in office in 2021. Meanwhile, between 2010 and 2019, faculty salaries incumbents only increased by 6%.

“The IU administration systematically cuts funding for education and transfers those funds to a class of well-paid administrators whose job appears to be to cut educational programs,” explained Sam Smucker of the Media School.

Graduate workers are employed as associate instructors, research assistants, graduate assistants, and faculty assistants on the Bloomington campus. They teach hundreds of classes as lead instructors, conduct research in labs, and perform as artists and musicians.

The IGWC-EU submitted almost 1,600 union membership cards to the board asking for a union election in December 2021. The board rejected this request. The union now claims nearly 1,800 members among the 2,500 qualified employees.

The United Electrical, Radio and Machinery Workers of America (EU) is an independent, democratic union representing some 30,000 workers in a variety of industries. The motto of the EU is: “Members run this union.

For further questions and correspondence, contact the Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition Media Correspondent, Sam Smucker ([email protected]).

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