Graduate workers hold annual protest

The protest takes place in the midst of an appeal by the UM Board of Curators of a ruling that recognized workers’ union rights.
The Coalition of Graduate Workers continues to recruit more students to rally for graduate education rights. For more information, check out the CGW’s social media platforms on Twitter and Facebook.

For the fourth year in a row, the Coalition of Graduate Workers held a protest for graduate workers’ rights Aug. 22 on the Francis Quadrangle.

The protest occurs near the anniversary of the August 2015 dispute between graduate workers and MU where workers’ subsidized health care was withdrawn, according to CGW Outreach Officer Nicholas Brothers.

However, this year’s protests took place nearly two months after the UM Board of Curators chose to appeal a district court ruling recognizing graduate workers’ right to unionize.

Brothers said developments in the court case led to a protest that felt different from previous events.

“The idea of winning, of a tangible, concrete win here really energized this union and our membership,” Brothers said. “That righteous anger has now, thankfully, been transformed into righteous joy. Without that anger at first, we wouldn’t have the wins we have now.”

According to Casenet, the board filed an appeal of the district court ruling July 26.

The MU News Bureau couldn’t comment on the protest because of the appeal’s status as pending litigation.

However, university officials have previously stated their intent to improve communication with graduate workers, find a permanent solution for workers’ healthcare and raise workers’ stipends from $12,000 to $18,000, according to past Maneater reporting.

Brothers said past protests have resulted in the CGW making progress in their goals for graduate workers.

“It’s not just the court case, it’s also the university backing down and being willing to retain health insurance. It’s also raising the minimum stipend for all graduate employees,” Brothers said. “Those are wins that wouldn’t have come without us being on this quad, without us organizing this union.”

Edited by Caitlyn Rosen | crosen@themaneater.com

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