Graduate Workers Speak Out for a Union with SEIU

Srijata Chakravorti

Srijata Chakravorti

International Students Have This Right

“International students have the right to form a union and press for changes we want to see in our work.  The rent keeps going up in Nashville, and many of us struggle to make ends meet with our stipends.  A union will bring us together to take on the problems and challenges we all face.”

Srijata Chakravorti, Vanderbilt University



Amanda Scott

Amanda Scott

We’re Fighting To Improve Conditions Across Higher Education

“As teaching and research assistants, it is our right to unionize. Work and study are not mutually exclusive, and we owe it to the university community as a whole to fight to protect and improve working conditions across higher education. As tenure lines continue to be cut and university budgets slashed, we cannot wait until after graduation to demand fairer and more sustainable treatment of university workers and faculty. The movement begins now, and at Wash U, it begins with joining SEIU.”


Amanda Scott, Washington University in St. Louis

Pablo Zavala

Pablo Zavala

This is important Work

“I think that it’s really important to unionize as a graduate student. Now that we’ve been recognized as workers we can take advantage of the historical benefits that collective bargaining has given the workers of the United States, the most prominent being the weekend and the 8-hour work day. Collective bargaining is a significant democratic process essential to treating workers with dignity and respect. Washington University in St. Louis and its workers would be amiss not to partake in this momentous opportunity.”



Pablo Zavala, Washington University in St. Louis

Fixing higher ed and our economy

Jackson Christopher Bartlett

“Private research universities are some of the wealthiest and fastest growing institutions in the world. I believe higher education should be open to everyone, not just the wealthy. That’s why Northwestern graduate workers want to form a union with SEIU to push to shrink the gap between rich and poor in our departments, on campus and across our country.”

“University administrations already have a collective voice.  We do the bulk of the teaching and research on campus. We want to come together and make our voices heard too.”
Jackson Christopher Bartlett, Northwestern University



Student Power is Real

Joshelyn Smith

Joshelyn Smith

“I want to enhance student power, create affordable education, and empower others to take collective action”

Joshelyn Smith, American University






It’s about the year not just the school year


Cecily Hunter


“I want to to make sure the entire graduate community can have year round access to heath care and fair wages.”

Cecily Hunter, Saint Louis University





The roles we play are important

Roberta Singer

Roberta Singer

“I support forming a union because I want to have an integral role in the university and ownership over my education.”

Roberta Singer,  Saint Louis University






Pete Miller_SLU

Pete Millar

We need an equal voice

“I support a union because I think graduate student workers should have an equal voice in dealing with the administration.”
Pete Millar, Washington University in St. Louis 






We’re coming together at Duke!


Bennet Carpenter

“I am so excited about coming together with other graduate students, at Duke and across the country who want to form a union. Working together, I am convinced we can achieve better, fairer, more transparent wages, benefits and work conditions—including clearer policies about work expectations and better procedures for addressing workplace harassment and discrimination, which I know are all too common for many of my peers. I believe this will benefit the whole university as well; healthy, happy, financially stable graduate students make for better researchers and teachers, leading to improved productivity and outcomes.”
Bennett Carpenter, Duke University 




Anastasia Karklina

International graduate employees should be valued

“International graduate workers—especially those from low-income backgrounds like myself—are especially vulnerable to wage insecurity and rising costs of living. We already earn limited wages on-campus due to immigration regulations, and we are not permitted to work off campus, yet alone access loans. Given lack of financial security throughout the year and the looming weight of continuation fees, my future at Duke feels precarious at best. Coming together to collectively negotiate our working conditions is the only way for us to have meaningful agency. I am joining my colleagues to form a union with SEIU because I want to belong to an educational institution where graduate employees are valued and afforded more than construction projects.”

Anastasia Karklina, Duke University


Matilda Stubbs

We want to help our campuses thrive

“Graduate students provide a central service to the university  – supporting undergraduates, faculty, and staff – while conducting our own original research and projects. Our precarious status as students and workers is why we need some sort of organized representation, to best enable us to continue to help the campus thrive.”

Matilda Stubbs, Northwestern




We are employees


Elizabeth Eikmann

“I am fighting to be recognized as the employee that I am. My student status should not mean I don’t deserve a fair wage with benefits.”

 Elizabeth Eikmann, St. Louis University








Cody Burleson

We’re Acting Now!

 “I’m excited to work with SEIU to make our compensation and benefits match the labor we provide. With the increasingly competitive and precarious PhD job markets, we can’t afford to put our lives on hold.”

Cody Burleson, Washington University