Sign up to Fight for a Great Contract! Join the Contract Action Team (CAT)

As the bargaining process develops, the responsibilities of CAT members may vary.

Potential actions include flyering, event turnout, bargaining updates, and more.

By structuring this work in the CAT, the goal is to create an accountable structure that allows everyone to play their part in the union, no matter how much time or how many spoons you have.

Every bit counts to help win the contract we have all been fighting for!

Join today!

four nugw members smiling and holding up flyers they are passing out

Why Unionize?

Explore resources to learn why a graduate union on campus can increase your wages, create an arbitration system, and build structures to support parents, BIPOC, workers with disabilities, international students, and ALL graduate workers.

A room full of NUGW members sitting in classroom with their gazes looking towards a powerpoint slide

Become a Member

Beyond signing a card, the number one thing you can do to stay involved is to become an official member of NUGW. If you are able, you can elect to donate a monthly amount to help support the fight to form a recognized union of graduate workers at Northwestern.

A group of 15 NUGW members stand in gold NUGW shirts in front of Deering Library. They are raising their fists in solidarity in front of an NUGW banner stating: NUGW, The University Works Because We Do!


Donate or become a dues-paying member today to support the fight for more pay, more say, equitable working conditions, and dignity for all graduate workers on campus

Know what you need in a contract? Let us know today!

The best way to make sure your needs are met by a contract is making sure your colleagues know about your priorities! Let your fellow organizers and your bargaining committee know issues you are facing via our "Contact Us" form.

5 Point Platform for Grad Worker Rights

Competitive Pay through Graduation Day

Higher base stipend with yearly raises, stable funding past Year 5, and a free opt-in U-Pass for all graduate workers.

Professional Standards in Labs & Classrooms

Guaranteed time off, paid sick days, and extra pay for heavy teaching loads or work outside of standard responsibilities, like lab safety designates.

Comprehensive Healthcare

Vision, dental, and dependent insurance at no extra cost, and no lapses in health coverage during medical leave.

Support for International Students

Legal support for immigration, visa processing, and tax filing available in multiple languages.

Power & Protection in Our Workplace

Work conditions negotiated democratically, collectively, and transparently by graduate workers, faculty, and administration. Independent processes to protect grad workers from abuse, harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation.

Why We Unionize

NUGW is built on grassroots organizing across every department and graduate program at Northwestern. Hear from your department organizers about why they dedicate their time to bringing their fellow graduate workers together to win a collectively bargained contract.

A majority of grad workers have pledged to vote YES!

By NUGW | January 2, 2023

More than 1600 graduate workers at Northwestern University have pledged to vote yes in our union election. The MAJORITY of graduate workers at Northwestern are saying a resolute YES TO OUR UNION! We are voting YES because we deserve:   Competitive Pay through Graduation Day Comprehensive Healthcare Support for International Students Professional Standards in Labs…

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Comprehensive Healthcare

By NUGW | January 2, 2023

Happy Holidays to those who celebrated last week, or continue to celebrate this week. If you haven’t heard the news, our union election will take place in just a few weeks on January 10th and 11th! If you haven’t yet, take a minute to look up where your polling place will be and what times…

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Major Update: Election on Jan 10 and 11th!

By NUGW | December 20, 2022

Our union election will take place on Tuesday January 10th and Wednesday January 11th A supermajority of you signed cards authorizing an election, over a thousand of you have pledged to VOTE YES, and when we come back from Winter Break it will be time to vote! Over the last several weeks, your coworkers on…

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Election FAQ

By NUGW | December 20, 2022

NUGW Union Election Basics We are having an election to ratify our Union and secure our collective power! Come out and Vote YES for NUGW-UE on Jan 10 and Jan 11, 2023! This is our chance to secure our collective power and earn real wins for grad workers! Voting times and locations depend on your…

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Support for International Students

By NUGW | December 19, 2022

Together we sent a powerful message of solidarity and unity by having a supermajority of 2000+ graduate workers sign cards authorizing a union election in under one month! Our colleagues, friends, and coworkers called in a united voice for an election, and we have earned that election. Now every grad worker has a chance to…

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Fight for professional standards in labs & classrooms

By Communications Committee | December 12, 2022

You all should know how truly astounding it is that 2000+ of us signed cards authorizing a union election in under one month. Now, in two weeks almost 1000 of us have already pledged to vote YES on election day.  We are the third largest union filing in the country in 2022, only trailing our…

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Is our pay competitive at NU?

By Communications Committee | December 6, 2022

In just one month, a supermajority of over 2000 graduate workers across all departments and schools at Northwestern signed their union cards and made it clear that YES we want a graduate student union. Now, we are standing together as we prepare to vote YES when the union election day comes. We’ll soon have more…

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By NUGW | October 6, 2022

NUGW Launches Union Drive with UE Today, October 6th is the official start of NUGW’s drive to form a legally recognized union of graduate employees. Hundreds of graduate workers are coming together at noon on Deering Meadow to fight for More Pay & More Say. Northwestern graduate workers are organizing to make sure that we…

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Survey on Graduate Needs

By NUGW | April 4, 2022

A crucial survey for assessing graduate student needs, organizing goals, and support for a legally recognized union at Northwestern.

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2021 University Finances

By NUGW | February 4, 2022

NUGW shares this year’s annual report on Northwestern’s finances.

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Fall 2021 Statement On Protests, The Rock, & Admin Messaging

By NUGW | November 23, 2021

In early November 2021, writing on the Rock celebrating Native American Heritage Month was vandalized. Shortly thereafter, student activists stormed Ryan Field during a football game to protest the university’s harmful investments. Guess which one was condemned by the administration? This statement was jointly written by NUGW members in order to contextualize emails the Northwestern…

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New Op-Ed on President-Elect Blank

By NUGW | October 29, 2021

Northwestern Graduate Workers have published an op-ed in The Daily expressing concerns about incoming president Rebecca Blank. You can read the Op-Ed in The Daily Northwestern. For questions, please email us at

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University Finances

By NUGW | January 7, 2021

Here you will find NUGW’s 2020 analysis of Northwestern’s finances. You can download our full, updated report, as well as the financial data used for analysis, below. Included within, you will find: Facts about NU’s finances and what these numbers mean for our demands. Data analysis of NU’s finances according to economic principles of management…

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Building an Abolitionist Graduate Workers Union

By NUGW | October 26, 2020

Dear NUGW members,  For the past two weeks, Northwestern University Community Not Cops (NUCNC) have been holding actions at Northwestern and the broader Evanston community to bring attention to their demands for NU to invest in Black students and abolish NUPD. NUGW as an anti-racist, feminist graduate worker union unequivocally supports NUCNC.  NUGW has supported…

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Northwestern University Graduate Workers Letter Expressing COVID-19 Concerns for STEM Graduate Researchers

By NUGW | October 9, 2020

July 27th, 2020 Dear President Morton Schapiro, Vice President and General Counsel Stephanie Graham, Interim Provost Kathleen Hagerty, Interim Dean Kelly Mayo, Vice President for Student Affairs Julie Payne-Kirchmeier, Vice President for Research Milan Mrksich, Senior Associate Vice President and Chief Risk & Compliance Officer Luke Figora, Director of Environmental Health & Safety Gwen Butler:…

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Northwestern University Graduate Workers Statement on Milestone Extension

By NUGW | October 9, 2020

July 9th, 2020 Earlier today, July 9, 2020, Interim Dean of TGS Kelly Mayo announced that in response to COVID-19, TGS would automatically extend the milestones of all graduate students by one year but explicitly declined to grant a one-year funding extension to all graduate students.  This policy change is completely insufficient to meet the…

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Northwestern University Graduate Workers Statement on ICE Modifications to Student and Exchange Visitor Program

By NUGW | October 9, 2020

July 6, 2020 U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has just announced that international students with F-1 and M-1 visas taking a fully online course load must leave the United States or else face deportation. This unconscionable and draconian policy affects nearly ⅓ of the Northwestern’s graduate student population and nearly ¼ of its entire…

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Call for Northwestern to invest in Black students, divest from law enforcement

By NUGW | October 5, 2020
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Northwestern University Graduate Sick-Out Demands

By NUGW | October 5, 2020

Northwestern University must meet the following demands: Funding: Provide a universal one year funding extension to all currently enrolled students; extend all time-to-degree deadlines by one year; and guarantee six years of funding for all graduate students entering Northwestern in Fall 2020 or after. Remove all eligibility restrictions on GA-ships and remove limits on the…

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Northwestern University Graduate Workers Statement Regarding COVID-19

By NUGW | October 5, 2020

Northwestern faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students: You can show support by signing this document here. Dear President Schapiro, Dean Woodruff, Provost Holloway, Members of the Northwestern Board of Trustees, Deans, and Administrative Officials of Northwestern University, Over the past few weeks, Northwestern University was forced to drastically reorganize its operations in response to the…

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COVID-19 Impact Statements

By Communications Committee | April 4, 2020

Read NUGW’s Statement Regarding COVID-19 and leave your own comments here.

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Letter to Provost Holloway from Department Chairs

By Communications Committee | May 21, 2019
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University Finances 2019

By Communications Committee | March 1, 2019

This is our 2019 report, kept here for archival purposes. Follow this link for our latest report. We have updated NUGW’s 2019 Financial Report in light of the University’s statements regarding COVID-19’s financial impact. You can download our full, updated report, as well as the financial data used for analysis, below. Below you will find…

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Support for the campaign to form Latinx Studies and Asian American Studies Departments at Northwestern

By Communications Committee | January 29, 2019

We, Northwestern University Graduate Workers (NUGW), endorse the Latinx Asian American Collective’s endeavor to establish Latinx Studies and Asian American Studies Departments at Northwestern University. We call upon all graduate workers to express their solidarity for this endeavor by signing the Collective’s petition and by partnering with organizations who have likewise endorsed this endeavor. We…

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NUGW Stands in Solidarity With Trans* Students

By Communications Committee | January 29, 2019

On October 21, the New York Times reported that a memo written by the Department of Health and Human Services sought to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, stating, “Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identified by or before birth.” It further clarified, “The sex listed…

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Interdisciplinary Assistantships

By Communications Committee | May 26, 2018

On May 10, graduate workers in the humanities and social sciences received an email from Dean Woodruff regarding eligibility requirements for TGS-funded interdisciplinary graduate assistantships. According to the email, TGS will no longer approve these assistantships for students beyond their fifth year. This policy and its abrupt enforcement put many graduate workers in a precarious…

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By NUGW | February 22, 2018

This year, members of NUGW have had hundreds of conversations with you, our colleagues. Based on your feedback, it’s clear that Northwestern’s student healthcare plan does not meet our needs. Some of you have paid out of pocket for MRIs or have faced high premiums to add spouses and children to your insurance policy. Furthermore,…

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DMA Continuation Fees

By Communications Committee | October 17, 2017

Thanks to the hard work and organizing efforts of the Doctor of Musical Arts candidates and their colleagues at the Bienen School of Music, the fee structure for the Doctor of Musical Arts program will now be reduced to be equitable and competitive with Northwestern’s peer institutions. The reduction of these fees will help alleviate…

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By Communications Committee | March 16, 2017

UPDATE: We won! TGS announced that going forward all PhD students will be guaranteed five full years of guaranteed funding. Thank you to the hundreds of people who signed our petition and contributed powerful testimonials, you made this victory possible! Currently, not all Northwestern University graduate students are funded five full years, even though over…

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A majority of grad workers have pledged to vote YES!

By NUGW | January 2, 2023

Comprehensive Healthcare

By NUGW | January 2, 2023

Fall GMM-2 (Thursday Dec 01)

By NUGW | November 29, 2022

Rally for More Pay and More Say

By NUGW | October 6, 2022

Graduate Needs Survey Results Webinar (Thursday, June 16th)

By NUGW | June 7, 2022

Building Trust through Solidarity (Thursday, May 19th)

By NUGW | May 16, 2022

Faculty Fireside Chat, Humanities/Social Sciences Edition (Tuesday, May 17th)

By NUGW | May 10, 2022

NUGW Information Sessions (May 13th and May 24th)

By NUGW | May 9, 2022

NUGW Information Session (Tuesday, April 26th)

By NUGW | April 22, 2022

Organizing 101 (Sunday, April 10th)

By NUGW | March 31, 2022

Spring 2022 General Member Meeting (Wednesday, April 13)

By NUGW | March 30, 2022

Faculty Fireside Chat (Tuesday, March 15th)

By NUGW | March 8, 2022

NUGW Info Sessions

By NUGW | February 1, 2022

Organizing 101 Returns!

By NUGW | January 23, 2022

Winter 2022 General Member Meeting (GMM)

By NUGW | January 11, 2022

Fall 2021 General Member Meeting (GMM)

By NUGW | September 28, 2021

Welcome-Back Happy Hour & Picnic!

By NUGW | September 13, 2021

Meet the new Co-Chairs – Thurs. 06/10 @ 5pm

By NUGW | June 10, 2021

Organizing 101 – Sat. 04/17 @ 11 am and Sat. 05/22 @ 1 pm

By NUGW | April 17, 2021

Spring 2021 General Membership Meeting – Wed. 04/14 @ 5pm

By NUGW | April 14, 2021

Who’s Got Your Back: A Week of Reflection on the One-Year Pandemic Anniversary – Starting Mon. 03/29

By NUGW | March 29, 2021

Unions 101: Building a Radical Union – Thurs. 02/18 @ 2pm

By NUGW | February 18, 2021

Winter 2021 General Membership Meeting – Wed. 02/03 @ 5pm

By NUGW | January 25, 2021

Unions 101: A Political Education Event – Fri. 11/13 @ 3pm

By NUGW | November 13, 2020

NUCNC March + Teach-in – Fri. 10/30 @ 3pm

By NUGW | October 6, 2020

Fall 2020 General Membership Meeting – Wed. 09/30 @ 5pm

By NUGW | September 30, 2020

Spring General Membership Meeting

By NUGW | April 17, 2020

Spooky Work-In!

By Communications Committee | October 8, 2019

Work-In / Comment-In

By Communications Committee | October 8, 2019

General Member Meeting

By Communications Committee | September 16, 2019

Welcome Back Happy Hour

By Communications Committee | September 16, 2019

March for a Guarantee

By Communications Committee | May 21, 2019

Sixth Year Funding Rally

By Communications Committee | April 10, 2019

Public Forum on University Finances

By Communications Committee | January 29, 2019

NUGW Winter Social

By Communications Committee | January 27, 2019

Work-In: Making Grad Labor Visible

By Communications Committee | January 26, 2019