UVA Union Launches Graduate Student Worker Campaign
Charlottesville, VA: UCWVA-UVA has released a petition signed by hundreds of grad students demanding clear terms of employment, a living wage, and better healthcare and is calling on the UVA community for support
United Campus Workers Virginia at UVA (UCWVA-UVA) launched a graduate student worker campaign on May 1st titled “Respect and a Fair Deal for Graduate Workers” with a petition demanding clear terms of employment on admission, a living wage, and better healthcare. UCWVA-UVA is calling on the UVA community to read the demands at their website and inform themselves of the campaign and graduate student working conditions at UVA.
The petition has already been signed by over 300 graduate students from across the university. UCWVA-UVA is asking for graduate students to keep signingand for UVA faculty, students, staff, and alumni to show their support by writing letters to university deans. UVA and Charlottesville community members can also show their support by sharing the petition on their personal social media and by following UCWVA-UVA’s social media to keep up on upcoming campaign events and info (@UCWVAUVA).
The campaign is UCWVA-UVA’s first for graduate student workers. It comes after a year of increased workloads and economic hardship for UVA graduate students during the pandemic. Graduate students say their contribution as workers to the UVA community has gone unrecognized for too long, and the campaign is an attempt to bring UVA’s treatment of its graduate student workers in line with its values and mission. “Despite the fact that we perform all this essential labor,” explains the petition, “graduate student workers are still almost exclusively spoken of and treated like students by the University. As a result, graduate student workers share almost all the same vulnerabilities of other University employees without access to any of the benefits.” The petition addresses university leadership, explaining that graduate students are “organizing as workers with UCWVA to demand that... our supervisors and employers recognize our position as employees who deserve fair treatment and compensation.”
About UCWVA: United Campus Workers of Virginia (UCWVA) is a CWA-affiliated union for public college and university employees in the Commonwealth of Virginia with chapters at UVA (UCWVA-UVA) and VCU (UCWVA-VCU). UCWVA-UVA launched on August 24, 2020 with its #ActFastUVA campaign calling on UVA to use its resources to ensure the health and financial stability of UVA workers and students and address racial injustice on grounds and in Charlottesville.
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