Northwestern University Graduate Workers (NUGW) is an antiracist, feminist labor union fighting for better working and living conditions for all graduate workers. We understand that the material conditions of our academic lives, and the right to a collective voice in decisions that affect these conditions, are inherently issues of racial, gender, and decolonial justice. We are dedicated to building a diverse and democratic union that centers the needs of historically excluded and underrepresented students, particularly Black, Indigenous, POC, queer, trans, undocumented, low-income, first-generation, parenting students and students living with disabilities or chronic illnesses.

As research assistants, teaching assistants, and instructors of record, we play a vital role in the day to day functioning and long term success of Northwestern. We are united in the goal of achieving formal recognition from Northwestern’s administration so we can collectively bargain for an inclusive, collaborative workplace in which all graduate students flourish. Specifically, we advocate for: 

  • A democratic union that empowers students to advance their interests as equal participants in the university’s decision making process and holds the university accountable to its core mission of research and education. 
  • The needs of our diverse student body, especially the needs of historically excluded and underrepresented groups. We strongly oppose inequality, discrimination, and harassment in all forms. 
  • Safe, reasonable, and comfortable working conditions, including increased protection from arbitrary termination, sexual harassment, and all forms of discrimination.
  • The financial security necessary to enable academic success, including adequate healthcare, childcare, and a living wage.
  • The intellectual and academic freedom of graduate students to teach and research topics of legitimate scholarly interest without fear of reprisal. 

NUGW stands in solidarity with workers and students everywhere organizing for a just and equitable system of higher education, and with other workers at Northwestern University, including service workers, staff, adjuncts, and undergraduate student workers. We are committed to actively supporting other organizing initiatives across and beyond Northwestern’s campus, and to linking our common struggles.