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Iowa State Daily

GPSS sees unionization update, elects college chairs

Iowa State Memorial Union

The Graduate and Professional Student Senate saw a program from Graduate Student Voices (GSV) regarding their efforts to unionize.

GSV is a movement of graduate students at Iowa State who support the unionization of graduate students. Sarah Chase, a graduate student in education and a member of GSV, said that if a union does form, students would not be required to join.

As previously reported by the Daily, signing GSV’s petition to initiate the voting process is not an indication of whether or not a graduate student wishes to unionize but rather that it is a part of the process.

Chase added that while petition signatures are a part of the process and they do not automatically indicate that someone wants to vote yes or join the union, GSV does want graduate students to both sign to ensure a vote can take place AND hopes that students will vote yes to ensure that graduate student workers will have the option of whether or not they want to officially join the union.

“Unions are voluntary, so you would have to sign up, like you would have to opt-in to the union, which is why I personally say ‘Sign the petition, say yes to a union existing, you’re not agreeing to pay any dues until you literally sign up,’” Chase said.

Chase said being a part of the bargaining unit, whether or not you are in a union, still makes you eligible for any benefits the union bargains for.

In a presentation shown to GPSS, Chase said that GSV has hit the 18% mark with a total goal of 1,065 signatures.

Further information can be found on GSV’s website.

The GPSS passed a bill to form a special committee to amend their constitution to include the position of college chairs.

“It’s calling for a committee that will evaluate what amendments are necessary to the constitution, and they can go beyond the scope of the changes that we’ve made in the bylaws in April,” GPSS Senate Engagement Officer Efraín Rodríguez-Ocasio, a graduate student in chemical and biological engineering, said. “This committee will just evaluate the current document, recommend the necessary changes and amendments, draft a new document, and over several meetings, they will present to a full Senate.”

Rodríguez-Ocasio said should the senate pass the amendments at that future meeting. The bylaws will go into effect at the next GPSS session.

GPSS also confirmed the following as college chairs:

  • Wren Bouwman, a graduate student in English, as LAS college chair.
  • Alycia West, a graduate student in education, as human sciences college chair and social media chair.

“The college chairs are responsible for coordinating the senators from that college,” Rodríguez-Ocasio said.


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    Ryan Everett | Sep 26, 2023 at 10:56 am

    GSV is actually at 20% of 1,065 signatures!