Illinois State University Grad Assistants Celebrate Union-Building Milestones

On the same day the Koch brothers and billionaire class escalate their judicial assault on working folks ability to band together for dignity, hundreds of ISU grad assistants marched on their administration and filed for card check to win their public sector union.

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Illinois gubernatorial front runners State Senator Daniel Biss and JB Pritzker both penned congratulatory letters celebrating the filing, detailing how they will expand grads’ ability to organize, and calling on the administration to negotiate a fair contract.

State Senator Biss wrote: “[congratulations] ISU graduate students for filing today” and urged ISU’s administration “to bargain in good faith to reach a fair contract. […] Every worker deserves the right to form a union, and especially with attacks on organized labor from the White House and our own Governor’s Office, it’s up to all of us to carry the torch of the labor movement.”

And gubernatorial frontrunner JB Pritzker wrote:

“Today, I extend my hearty congratulations to you as you file for recognition of your union. No day could be more fitting for your announcement as the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in a case designed to limit your power by seeking to divide working people. I share your belief in the strength of unions to improve your working conditions and your students’ learning conditions, and to ensure that our public university system works for everyone. You proved your strength in numbers in December when your rallies and direct action helped defeat a proposal in the Republican federal tax bill that would have taxed your stipends. […] Unlike Bruce Rauner, as governor I will make sure the state recognizes the value of partnering with organized labor to ensure economic justice and fairness. As your governor, I will work with stakeholders to change the law so we can expand the opportunity to form a union to research assistants.”

The rally was one of more than 600 actions in 27 states nationwide planned as the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Janus v. AFSCME, a lawsuit driven by anti-worker CEOs and billionaires attempting to divide working people and limit their power in numbers. Tens of thousands of people at rallies, marches, and workplace actions sent a clear message that working people won’t be deterred from joining together in unions for good jobs and strong communities.

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