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TOP: Attendees of the vote for a graduate student union walk west on Kirkwood Avenue towards Switchyard Brewing Company on April 10, 2022. The vote will decide if the graduate students will go on strike on Wednesday.

Ethan Levy

This page will be routinely updated with new content as new developments arise. For the most recent news, check out our reporters' on-the-ground tweets here.

The Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition-United Electrical Workers plans to strike until IU’s administration meets their demand for union recognition.

After more than three years of protesting the working conditions of graduate workers at IU-Bloomington, the IGWC-UE is seeking to represent Student Academic Appointees in a collective bargaining agreement with the university.

Student Academic Appointees at IU perform a number of roles, including teaching classes, conducting research and carrying out administrative tasks, in exchange for annual stipends and tuition remission. During the strike, graduate workers plan to cease performing these jobs until the IGWC-UE votes to end the strike.

In February 2022, the IU administration officially rejected the IGWC-UE’s request for an election to certify their status as a labor union, and has consistently declined to reconsider their position.

In a response to the graduate workers’ petition, the former Provost John Applegate said the university sees SAAs primarily as students, not workers. He also said the university is under no legal obligation to recognize their union.


The current provost, Rahul Shrivastav, has said he doesn’t intend to revisit this decision.

This stance, the IGWC-UE says, is what has led graduate workers to the picket lines after nearly 98% of voters supported the action in a strike authorization vote. The IGWC-UE will vote at least weekly on whether to continue the strike.

The IDS is continuing to report on this developing story. Any news tips can be forwarded to the news desk at

Strike Coverage

Graduate workers began striking Wednesday. The IDS is covering what happens next.

LETTER: Going on strike is not the way to go

Published April 17, 2022

The graduate workers started their strike April 13 to look for union recognition.

‘They don’t want to not work’: IU graduate workers begin picketing for union recognition

Published April 15, 2022

Hundreds of students picketed in support of higher pay and benefits for graduate workers.

GALLERY: Students share why they are picketing

Published April 14, 2022

After 97.8% voted in favor of authorizing a strike, IU graduate and undergraduate students began picketing Wednesday.

Undergraduates show solidarity with graduate students through walkout

Published April 14, 2022

About 200 people attended, according to a speaker at the event.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Faculty, students and alumni express support for IGWC-UE strike, unionization

Published April 14, 2022

The graduate workers’ strike for union recognition began Wednesday.

On strike: scenes from the picket lines

Published April 14, 2022

IU students and faculty picket to demand union recognition for graduate student workers.

Community members support graduate workers at Canterbury House with soup

Published April 13, 2022

Volunteer cook Jessie Wang said graduate workers in their life can’t afford enough healthy food.

Graduate workers promoted Thursday picket lines, community solidarity at virtual meeting

Published April 13, 2022

700 IU students have already signed up to picket. The movement’s goal is 1,000.

Graduate Workers postpone first day of picketing due to severe weather

Published April 13, 2022

TThe weather has not affected their plans to strike.

Bloomington Faculty Council votes in favor of graduate workers

Published April 12, 2022

The council voted for a resolution that supports IU graduate workers' right to strike.

Graduate workers plan to strike starting Wednesday after 97.8% of voters said yes

Published April 11, 2022

They are seeking union recognition to improve graduate student working conditions.

Graduate workers opened virtual poll Sunday for vote to authorize strike

Published April 10, 2022

The poll will close 3 p.m. Monday, and results are expected later in the day.

Live Updates

The IDS has several reporters covering the fallout and strikes on the ground. For the instant news, this Twitter feed will compile our reporters' play-by-play updates.

All IDS reporters will be using the hashtag #IUGradStrike.

The tipping point

Over the last few months, tensions have rose significantly.

As graduate workers prepare for strike, provost lays out potential consequences

Published April 6, 2022

Graduate workers will vote Sunday on whether to begin a strike next week.

As graduate workers contemplate strike, Bloomington campus officials announce raises

Published April 5, 2022

The university denied the initial request in October 2021.

IU graduate workers continue fighting for unionization despite tough legal environment

Published Feb. 23, 2022

Indiana Graduate Workers’ Coalition organizers plan to continue pressuring IU to recognize their union.

Graduate workers hold Work-In demonstration for unionization

Published Feb. 15, 2022

The demonstration aimed to highlight the labor graduate students perform for the university.

Graduate student government asks university administration to meet and discuss unionization

Published Feb. 8, 2022

The student government’s general assembly passed a resolution on Friday supporting graduate workers’ unionization.


Graduate workers denied union election, say fight for collective bargaining continues

Published Feb. 7, 2022

Graduate workers submitted 1,584 union cards to the Board of Trustees in December.

IU graduate workers submit union cards to Board of Trustees, call for union election

Published Dec. 10, 2021

A majority of IU’s graduate workers submitted union cards petitioning for a union vote.

Terms to know

This dispute is complicated. The IDS is trying to make it easier.

Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition - United Electrical Workers (IGWC-UE): The Graduate Workers Coalition - United Electrical Workers is a group of graduate students working to gain recognition as a union by the IU administration. The IGWC-UE unites graduate students across departments to demand better working conditions for graduate student workers, according to the IGWC-UE website. The IGWC-UE formed in summer 2021 when the Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition partnered with the United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America Union, an independent union representing workers in a variety of industries.

Strike: A strike is an organized refusal to work by employees as a form of protest, often to force an employer to comply with demands, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. In the case of the IGWC-UE, graduate student workers will refuse to teach courses, grade assignments and complete other tasks to show the IU administration the value of their work and demand better working conditions. On Sunday, 97.8% of graduate workers voted to strike. As of 2:25 p.m. Tuesday, 1,136 graduate student workers pledged to strike starting Wednesday, according to the IGWC-UE website. The IGWC-UE strike fund has raised over $35,000 as of Tuesday night.

Unionization: According to Union Plus, a labor union is “an organized group of workers who unite to make decisions about conditions affecting their work.” Forming a union begins with employees collaborating and united to hold collective bargaining power against their employer. Workers often unionize to advocate for higher pay, better benefits and increased representation, according to Union Plus.

Picket line: A picket line is a boundary set by workers on strike that they ask others not to cross to show solidarity with their strike, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Crossing a picket line could be seen as undermining a strike.

Student Academic Appointees: Student Academic Appointees, often referred to as graduate student workers, are a group of students who fulfill duties such as teaching, grading and conducting research, according to a News at IU Bloomington article. IU SAAs receive compensation and some employee benefits for this work, but their hours are limited to 20 hours per week to preserve time for their studies. IU does not consider SAAs staff, but they do consider SAAs part-time employees, according to the article. SAAs receive compensation through stipends, grants and tuition waivers, as well as health and dental insurance. SAA compensation varies from department to department.

A strike with a history

This has been an ongoing battle between IU administration and the graduate workers for years. Our previous coverage documents each step taken throughout the way.

IU Graduate Workers push for unionization

Published Sept. 13, 2021

Graduate workers at IU are demanding a response to what they call a lack of dignified working conditions such as unlivable pay and sizable fees to the university, IGWC spokesperson Cole Nelson said.

International graduate workers file discrimination complaint against IU

Published May 31, 2021

Eight graduate workers filed a discrimination complaint May 17 against IU through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, according to a press release from the Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition.

IU accuses Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition of trademark violation

Published March 23, 2021

This comes after weeks of an ongoing fee strike by the organization meant to call attention to the cost of graduate worker fees, which range from $700 to $1,500 each semester.

Graduate Workers Coalition protests Thursday for no additional fees, stipends increase

Published March 11, 2021

The Graduate Workers Coalition organized a picket line Thursday in front of Bryan Hall, where Provost Lauren Robel’s office is located, as part of a fee strike asking for IU’s administration to better compensate graduate workers for their labor.


GUEST COLUMN: I can’t pay my bills with tuition remission

Published March 10, 2021

From a IU Ph.D. candidate

Grad student workers disagree with IU on a big issue: How much is their work worth?

Published Feb. 11, 2021

IU's graduate stipends are some of the lowest in the Big Ten.

Graduate student says he was forced to choose between IU advisory committee, workers coalition

Published Feb. 10, 2021

Alipour said he wanted to discuss how fees were allocated with other graduate students, since they were the ones who had to pay them.

GUEST COLUMN: Ending IU graduate fees is a modest demand

Published Jan. 28, 2021

I’m a graduate worker. The stipend I earn from IU, which is $15,750 before taxes for the 2020-21 academic year, covers all of my living expenses from rent and utilities to those obnoxiously priced textbooks (when they aren’t to be found online) to sustaining a pitiable diet.


Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition calls for boycott of IU’s mandatory fees

Published Jan 11, 2021

The Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition announced a “fee strike” Monday in which its members will refuse to pay mandatory student fees. The group is encouraging other graduate students to join the boycott.

Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition protests mandatory fees

Published Jan 20, 2020

About 450 people gathered at the clock by Woodburn Hall Tuesday, carrying signs, blowing whistles and chanting, “Hey hey, ho ho! All these fees have got to go.”

Graduate workers stand up against unfair conditions

Published Sept. 13, 2019

“I lost a tooth because I couldn’t afford to go to the dentist,” read a statement from an anonymous graduate student at the town hall organized by the Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition on Thursday.

Planned Strike Schedule

Confused what the commotion is on campus? Here's when things are planned to happen:

April 13
10 a.m. to noon CANCELED Picket lines at Sample Gates, Ballantine Hall, Wendell W. Wright Education Building, Chemistry Building, O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs and Global and International Studies Building
Noon CANCELED Undergraduate walk-out and speeches at the Biology Building
Noon to 2 p.m. CANCELED Picket lines at Sample Gates, Sycamore Hall, Simon Music Center, Biology Building, Luddy Hall and Global and International Studies Building
2:30 p.m. CANCELED Rally, land acknowledgement, speeches and performances at Ballantine Hall
April 14: Faculty Day of Solidarity
10 a.m. to noon Picket lines at Sample Gates, Global and International Studies Building, Ballantine Hall, Wendell W. Wright Education Building and Chemistry Building
Noon to 2 p.m. Picket lines at Sample Gates, Ballantine Hall, Swain Hall and Simon Music Center
2:00 p.m. Rally, land acknowledgement and speeches at Ballantine Hall
5 to 7 p.m. Teach-in about international labor movements at the Monroe County Public Library - Downtown Auditorium
April 15
10 a.m. to noon Picket lines at Sample Gates, Ballantine Hall, O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs and Biology Building
Noon to 2 p.m. Picket lines at Sample Gates, Global and International Studies Building, Luddy Hall and Sycamore Hall
2 to 3:30 p.m. Dance party, speeches and a march to the bars in Dunn Meadow
5 to 7 p.m. Teach-in about teacher strikes and organizing at the Monroe County Public Library - Downtown Room 2A
April 18
10 a.m. to noon Picket lines at Sample Gates, Global and International Studies Building, Chemistry Building and Wendell W. Wright Education Building
Noon to 2 p.m. Picket lines at Sample Gates, Ballantine Hall, Swain Hall and Simon Music Center
5 to 7 p.m. Teach-in about undergraduate organizing at the Monroe County Public Library - Downtown Room 1C
April 19
10 a.m. to noon Picket lines at Sample Gates, Ballantine Hall, O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs and Biology Building
Noon to 2 p.m. Picket lines at Sample Gates, Global and International Studies Building, Luddy Hall and Sycamore Hall
5 to 7 p.m. Teach-in about local organizing at the Monroe County Public Library - Downtown Room 1C

Source: IU Graduate Workers Strike Schedule

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