We’ve formed a union! On September 19th, we filed for an election to certify our union, WPI-GWU, with nearly 75% of graduate student workers support. With a union, we look to bargain over our working conditions such as our pay, our healthcare, our workload, job security and protections from harassment and discrimination. We follow a national trend of student workers organizing around the country at: public institutions like University of Massachusetts, University of California, University of Washington, University of Connecticut, and many more; and private institutions like Harvard, Columbia, Brown, New York University, Tufts, Brandeis, American University, Georgetown, and others.

Since we filed our petition for our union election, faculty all over campus are showing their support for the WPI graduate student workers’ right to organize and showing us their support for our union. The graduate student workers appreciate all the resounding support from all of the WPI community members.

Inevitably, some questions may arise during our election raised by a variety of sources. We have put together a list of common questions that are often raised in union elections. If you do not see a question below that you would like answered, please email us at wpi.gwu@gmail.com.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What do the increased costs of unionization mean for research budgets? Will we have fewer RAs or teaching fellows? 

How will unionization affect student-advisor relationships? Won’t inviting a third-party into this relationship risk the academic sanctity of this relationship?

How will strikes affect my research lab? 

Why are existing methods of representation, like the Graduate Student Government, not sufficient? What can a union do that these channels can’t? 

How can such a varied bargaining unit adequately represent my department’s students? Our department is different and their concerns will get drowned out. 

The university already faces budget shortfalls which means new spending is already cut. Won’t unionization make the situation worse?  

Why the UAW? UAW is a political organization with its own agenda. Why does it make sense to involve them in important decisions on our campus?