February 16, 2022

IU graduate student workers stage 'work-in' with hopes of forming union

Graduate student workers staged a "work-in" at Franklin Hall Tuesday.  - (Devan Ridgway, WFIU/WTIU News)

Graduate student workers staged a "work-in" at Franklin Hall Tuesday.

(Devan Ridgway, WFIU/WTIU News)

Around 75 graduate student workers staged a “work-in” today at Indiana University’s Franklin Hall.

The student-workers say university administrators minimized the work they complete when they denied the group’s request to hold a formal election to unionize.

IU policy currently recognizes some staff unions, but asserts graduate workers aren’t staff, rather “student academic appointees.”

Cole Nelson, a member of the Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition, says today’s work-in seeks to reveal the scope of work students complete for IU.

“This is an occasion to highlight that two weeks later we wanted to be able to indelicate that we are, in fact, workers,” Nelson said.

Under Indiana law, public employees can form unions, but they can’t strike and employers aren't required to recognize them.

University spokesperson, Chuck Carney, said the school recognizes “the important work that these graduate students do for the university, but we also must be mindful that they are primarily students earning degrees. As students, that work is both part of their educational pursuits, and it is necessarily part-time and temporary.”

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