Loyola Graduate Workers’ Union Statement on PhD Stipend Increases
We, the Loyola Graduate Workers’ Union, are absolutely thrilled to announce that after five years of union organizing and action, Loyola University Chicago has agreed to increase stipends for all PhD students on research assistantships, teaching assistantships, and fellowships to $28,000 over nine months. This is a 64% increase, or a $10,000 increase, up from $18,000 over nine months. Organizing works! If this is what we accomplish before ever getting to the bargaining table, think what we could achieve with a contract!
But our job as a union is not finished -- it is never finished. These wins need to be protected by a contract by getting Loyola to finally meet us at the bargaining table. The National Labor Relations Board has recently reaffirmed their previous position that graduate students at private universities are workers, and as such, we have the legal right to meet at the bargaining table and negotiate a fair contract.
The Loyola Graduate Workers’ Union began organizing in Fall 2016, and we voted to unionize in February 2017. Since our inception, we have successfully organized to raise stipends, gain access to dental insurance, and increase traveling funding for graduate workers. We have organized walk-outs, sit-ins, grade-ins, and rallies; engaged in acts of civil disobedience; developed public relations campaigns; and held endless meetings with university administrators to finally come to this point, and we certainly are not stopping here!
These stipend increases for PhD students are an immense success, and we are proud of all of the hard work that has gone into organizing over the past five years. However, there is still work to be done. If these increases were formalized in a contract, they would be legally protected, and we could fight to extend these increases to others in our bargaining unit. With this in mind, the Loyola Graduate Workers’ Union will continue to fight for all graduate students, including advocating for stipend increases for Master’s students, PhD, EdD students at all Loyola campuses. We will also fight for increased quality of health insurance, vision insurance, parental leave, childcare services, dedicated graduate student campus space, U-pass access, and more.
The university is never going to give graduate workers anything without a fight. Make no mistake: this was not benevolence. The university has finally conceded to one of the demands of its employees and we are eager to build on this win and continue to fight for workers’ rights.
Additionally, to make sure the university is held to its word, we ask those on 6th year fellowships to be sure to contact your GPDs to ensure that your funding for next year matches this increase.
To get involved with the union, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and loyolagradunion.org. You can follow us on social media at “Loyola Worker Coalition” on Facebook and @loyolaforus on Twitter and Instagram.
Let’s celebrate, and then let’s continue to organize for change. Just imagine where we can go from here!
The Loyola Graduate Workers’ Union