Dec 13 Bargaining Update

Twelfth Bargaining Session Complete


After 55 days of stalling, the Northwestern administration finally presented their “counters” to our economic proposals. The message was clear: disrespect. With 1000+ grad workers taking the wage survey, nearly 100 grad workers packing the hall to the bargaining room in October, and 500+ grad workers rallying for Pay, Power, and Protections NOW in November, we made it LOUD and CLEAR that the status quo was not acceptable. However, Northwestern came back with paltry economic “proposals” which we were forced to tear up and trash!



Fair wage DENIED

Comprehensive health care DENIED

Caregiving support DENIED

Commuter subsidy DENIED

International workers’ provisions DENIED

Infrastructure and accessibility DENIED

YEP! YOU SAW THAT RIGHT! The admin stalled for 55 days only to strike out almost every one of our economic proposals. Today, they proposed a stipend that wouldn’t have been sufficient for a dignified life 3 years ago. They rejected full coverage for dental, vision, and dependent healthcare; they rejected all proposals on parents and caregivers; they rejected any commuter subsidies; and they rejected all proposals on international workers’ and disabled workers’ needs. Northwestern’s blatant lack of movement points to how little they care about the 3000+ grad workers who provide the labor that fuels their prestige and ranking.

Northwestern’s counter proposals were insulting and patronizing, barely upholding the current conditions that led 94% of grad workers to vote to establish our union. Nearly 2 months after we posed clear economic demands derived from months of organizing, conversations, and building power, Northwestern administration finally responded with barefaced contempt.



The disrespect from Northwestern’s bargaining team today was palpable. Dozens of members packed the room and still the administration persisted in delivering embarrassing counterproposals that either barely maintained or worsened the status quo. Shame is not enough to move this University. Only our collective power will move the University.



As one member observed today: “... they [NU admin] don't listen to anything but escalation.” And we agree! As our union siblings at MIT recently demonstrated, only when we are ready to stand together and withhold our labor does the boss begin to respond with acceptable terms. We will show NU admin we are serious by taking concrete steps to escalate NOW and throughout the Winter Quarter.

You can be a part of this effort by kicking off your New Year with a strike assessment training on Thursday, January 4 at 5 PM! Attend this training to learn how to talk to your coworkers about what it will take to win.

To see all of the details of Northwestern’s counterproposals, check the bargaining tracker. Our next bargaining session is a FULL DAY on January 10th.

Reminder to vote on the statement referendum which closes on Sunday. 


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)