ISU Grad Workers Secure Milestone Raises, Fee Waivers in New Contract


In a milestone achievement, SEIU Local 73 represented Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) at Illinois State University (ISU) have overwhelmingly ratified their new contract which marks substantial progress in their working conditions and compensation. This is the second contract negotiated between the union and the university, showing a trajectory of steady advancement. 

Key highlights of the three-year contract include: 

  • Immediate Raises: GTAs will receive raises every year for the duration of the contract, starting with a 3% increase in 2025, followed by a 2.5% increase in 2026. Notably, the contract includes “me-too” language to ensure GTAs benefit from any higher wage programs instituted by the university. 
  • Immediate Pay Increases: Approximately 65-70% of GTAs will receive an immediate 10% raise, with backpay dating back to August 1, 2023. Higher-paid GTAs will receive a 3.5% raise with backpay for the same period. 
  • Enhanced Benefits: The contract introduces university-wide new employee orientations for all GTAs, along with the right to union representation throughout harassment/discrimination complaints processes. Regular meetings between union representatives and management will be held to improve these processes further. 
  • Improved Grievance Procedure: Changes to the contractual grievance procedure aim to streamline enforcement and ensure fairness for GTAs. 
  • Fee Waivers: GTAs will benefit from significant reductions in student fees. Previously paying 100% of fees, they will now receive a 15% fee waiver this semester, 25% waivers in the Fall and Spring semesters, and 30% waivers in the subsequent Fall and Spring semesters. 

GWU members fought tirelessly over the past year to achieve solid wins in this contract. We saw the importance of coming together, attending rallies and meetings, and making our voices heard. However, the work does not stop here. This second contract is part of a longer process to build union power and solidarity on ISU’s campus so that all workers are paid a living wage.

Addison Lamb, Graduate Instructor
Photo of Addison Lamb, Graduate Instructor