I’m a graduate student at Illinois State University and currently graduate students are talking about unionizing with Service Employees International Union. This would be terrible to education and to the university community.
Most graduate assistants at ISU earn about $11 to $12 an hour minimum for their monthly stipend, on top of full tuition waivers. The graduate school already provides social and educational opportunities, and various spots on university and college committees are open to graduate students to serve on. The best representatives for graduate students at ISU are ISU graduate students on the committees and councils already, not a Chicago-based union that just wants to take our money.
Many of the SEIU reps have no idea what it is like to be a graduate student, and SEIU currently does not represent any other graduate student unions in Illinois. It is nothing short of a money grab at the expense of harming university relations and academic freedom. I would encourage graduate students to talk with their Graduate Student Advisory Committee representative or the Graduate Council to learn more about the process and programs already in place before selling out to a corporate union.
Adam Guenther, Bloomington