January 29, 2024 Winter General Member Meeting (GMM)
After waiting 55 days to respond to our common-sense economic articles, Northwestern administration has offered us an economic package that does not allow us to meet our rising costs of living and falls significantly behind industry standards. For months and months, graduate workers have been telling Northwestern that we deserve dignified working conditions.
On Monday night 1,000 graduate workers across Northwestern came together to hear from fellow workers about why they’re pledging to strike if the administration does not meet our collective demands for:
- Fair compensation
- Comprehensive healthcare, dental, and vision benefits
- Financial support for international workers
Why Are We Pledging to Strike?
“Any international student here knows how terrible the first month here is for us. Some of us had to borrow money to get here in the first place. Then we arrive [in] early September. We have to deposit security plus the first month of rent to get an apt, buy furniture, feed ourselves and, in some cases, dependents.”
– Behailu Shiferaw Mihirete (Rhetoric, Media, and Publics)
“I can’t afford to add the dental and vision insurance to my student plan so I keep glasses that no longer fit my prescription and skip my ‘annual’ dentist appointment when things don’t hurt. … My internet bill just doubled and my housing costs increased by almost $300 a month but my stipend has barely changed to reflect current inflation rates.”
– Emma-Rose Newmeyer (Chemistry)
“To be able to rest, to afford my children’s education and my family’s healthcare needs: these are the reasons why I am ready to walk off the job, and I urge you to join in this fight for a life that allows us all to flourish.”
– Charles Logan (Learning Sciences)
“I know we turned down more lucrative offers at other universities or from industry jobs to do the research we are passionate about, but we are certainly not doing any less work than our fellow scientists and engineers.”
– Nathaniel Hiott (Material Science and Engineering)
“With the rise in inflation, the current stipend awarded to Northwestern’s graduate student workers is so inadequate that I was recently informed that my family now qualifies for food stamps. I was able to swallow my pride, recognize my state of need, and go through with the application process. Unfortunately, it turns out that due to my wife’s immigration status, we are ineligible to receive government benefits like SNAP.”
– Sharif El Shishtawy Hassan (Sociology)
“They do not want 1,000 graduate workers rallying here to say: we do not have to back down, because WE have the power. We’ve seen what our peers have won, and we’re gonna do that too. We will not back down. I’m pledging to strike because we all have each other’s backs, and together we can’t lose.”
– Spencer Aeschliman (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
When graduate workers voted to certify Northwestern University Graduate Workers in our union election January 2023, we decided to create an institution by and for graduate workers. An institution that advocates for the very real, often ignored needs of workers; where we can come together to protect each other and ensure real gains for current and future generations.
To win a fair contract and a strong union, we need to show Northwestern that we are united and prepared to strike if they do not meet our demands.
Want to Get More Involved?
And remember the hundreds of workers who turned up at the GMM are ready to stand together and fight, so you won't be alone!
When we fight we win,