August 09 Bargaining Update

Fifth Bargaining Session Complete!


  • 1 more Tentative Agreement today! Check for updates in the bargaining tracker
  • The athletics scandal has exposed Northwestern’s inadequate harassment prevention policies to the national eye. We continued to push for non-discrimination language backed by a grievance procedure to ensure a safer future for graduate workers
  • Open shop outrage: NU continues to question our credibility to represent all graduate workers when they enter the unit. We silenced them with facts
  • Silkwood Movie viewing with CAT next Wednesday (8/16/2023) at 6pm!  

We completed our fifth bargaining session! We reached a Tentative Agreement on ONE more article (Union Rights). You can view the text on our bargaining tracker. Our next bargaining session is yet another half-day in two weeks on Wednesday, August 23rd.


A reckoning moment for campus non-discrimination policy

In the midst of our push for a robust non-discrimination clause backed by a grievance procedure, Northwestern admin’s latest counter-proposal asserts that existing systems for resolving equity and discrimination issues are sufficient. At the table, we underscored the inadequacy of these systems, evidenced by the national attention Northwestern has received from numerous outlets reporting on Northwestern’s failure to protect students from abuse. 


As Northwestern athletes likely knew when they attempted unionization a decade ago, we need our own systems of protection beyond what admin offers us. Similarly, today we presented anonymous testimonials from NU grad workers describing a culture where issues of abuse went unresolved, and sometimes even resulted in retaliation. The solution is clear: as BC member Esther Kamm (History) argued, “The University could continue to take its pick of partners at prestigious firms to respond to harassment suits as they arrive. Or they could commit to non-discrimination protections for all their workers that can be enforced through a union contract.” 


We ARE the majority - NU admin is out of touch

Although admin claimed “Northwestern is not an anti-union organization,” they presented an open shop proposal that seeks to divide and weaken our union, a view in line with the “right-to-work” legislation often pushed by right-wing lawmakers. Other unions on campus have union shop, but admin insisted that we have a “unique” position as students first and foremost. They also once again questioned whether we represent all grad workers in our unit, but as Jakob Reinke (MSE) asserted, 76% of our bargaining unit (according to the latest list provided to us by admin) voted YES back in January. During bargaining, BC members rapidly came together to refute the shaky logic admin provided, demonstrating how across institutions, union shop helps us all. We heard crickets in response – how can you argue with cold, hard facts?!


Pick up the pace!!

After 5 bargaining sessions and 65 days into the bargaining process, NU admin has only responded to 13 of our 23 proposed articles. More than 40% of our articles are left essentially untouched, and economic proposals have yet to land on the table. If our research was progressing at this rate, do you think PIs would be upset?  


Come Hang with CAT!

Want to get involved? Join CAT in flyering campus so NU knows we mean business on UNION SHOP. After the meeting next week (Wednesday 8/17 at 5pm), CAT will also be hosting a viewing party for Silkwood with popcorn, pizza, and good vibes. Get some ideas from Meryl Streep’s portrayal of labor union activist Karen Silkwood while she investigates nuclear-level labor violations and organizes her fellow workers.

Signed, The NUGW-UE Bargaining Committee: Alejandro Abisambra (Management and Organizations and Sociology), Jade Basinski (Civil and Environmental Engineering), Maddie Brucker (Computer Science & Learning Sciences), Lawrence Chillrud (Electrical and Computer Engineering), Peter Cummings (Clinical Psychology), Adam Goldsmith (Communication Studies), Jack Hamill (Music), Reem Ibrahim (Interdepartmental Neuroscience), Lauren Johnson (English), Cataldo Lamarca (Materials Science and Engineering), Elisabeth Latawiec (Chemistry), Thomas McKenzie-Smith (Physics and Astronomy), Behailu Mihirete (Communication Studies), Ben Oxley (Chemistry), Summer Pappachen (Political Science), Sebastian Poblete (Economics), Andrew Poverman (Physics and Astronomy), Adrian Ray-Avalani (Linguistics), Jakob Reinke (Materials Science and Engineering), Mounica Sreesai (Anthropology), Drew Weidner (Chemical and Biological Engineering), Teke Wiggin (Sociology), Ruoxi Zhu (Electrical and Computer Engineering), Kavi Chintam (Chemical and Biological Engineering), Esther (Em) Kamm (History)