On October 18, Graduate Teaching Assistants at Illinois State University (ISU) won their union election to become the newest members of SEIU Local 73! Graduate workers across the nation have become increasingly frustrated with overwhelming workloads for low pay among other issues. At ISU, graduate workers have faced years of state budget cuts that have led to stipends as low as $400 per month. Poverty level stipends have forced many ISU graduate workers to take on second jobs to meet basic living necessities.
Lydia Marvin, a graduate worker in the Psychology department states,
“I currently have to work a second job to make ends meet, and this takes away from both my students’ education and my own. I am voting yes to improve wages so I can do my best work as a graduate worker and a graduate student.”
Inspired by the gains the Brandeis, Tufts, Loyola Chicago and Emory graduate workers have won with SEIU, ISU started organizing last year and are now ready to take their seat at the table.
Kelsey Clarkson, a graduate worker in the Math department states,
“I’m voting ‘yes’ for a student grad union because my stipend as assistantship are our livelihood for myself, my husband, and my children right now. We deserve a livable stipend, reasonable expectations, and a voice in the process!”
We are excited to have graduate workers at Illinois State University join our growing union at SEIU Local 73. Welcome ISU brothers and sisters!