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Graduate unionization made “quite significant” progress in fall semester

Individuals+attending+the+Graduate+Student+Voices+informational+and+question+session+at+the+Ames+Public+Library.
Joseph Dicklin
Individuals attending the Graduate Student Voices informational and question session at the Ames Public Library.

Graduate Student Voices (GSV) is an effort organized by Iowa State graduate students with the goal of unionizing, a movement aimed at increasing salaries, providing more health care benefits and waiving or lowering student fees, as previously reported by the Daily.

GSV made “quite significant progress” toward unionization during the fall 2023 semester, according to Alena Rogojina, member of the GSV steering committee and a graduate student in psychology. 

“In September, we began Step 3 of our unionization timeline: gathering signatures from graduate student workers in order to authorize a unionization vote,” Rogojina stated. 

According to Rogojina, GSV’s goal has been and continues to be at least 50%, or around 1000 graduate student worker signatures, with a required minimum of 30%, or about 800 signatures.

“The 30% of interest in holding a vote is a requirement of the Iowa Public Employment Relations Board, but the reason we are aiming for a higher percentage is to increase the odds that a majority of grad workers DO vote in support of forming a union when the time comes,” Rogojina said.

According to another previous Daily update, by Sept. 25, GSV had received 18% of the signatures from graduate student workers.

Coming into the spring semester, Rogojina stated that “we had signatures from 566 graduate workers,” which accounted for more than 26% of all graduate workers.

If GSV does not meet the 30% goal this semester, they will have to start over with signatures in the fall.

From 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, a GSV social will be held at the Sloss House on campus. This will be an opportunity for all graduate students to “ask questions and build community,” according to Rogojina. GSV will also resume canvassing as the weather improves.

More information can be found at the GSV website.

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