Statement of Solidarity with UW-Madison TAA Sit-In
We, the Graduate Employees Organization at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign IFT/AFT Local 6300 AFL-CIO stand in solidarity with our fellow graduate workers of the UW-Madison Teaching Assistant Association (TAA), who staged a sit-in of the university’s Bascom Hall building on Friday, April 5th, to protest the UW-Madison administration’s unfair fee policies. The sit-in is part of the TAA’s Campaign for Fair Pay, Full Fee Coverage, and Quality Policies, which is a larger campaign aimed at improving working conditions and securing a living wage for graduate workers at UW-Madison.
Fees levied on grad workers do not only place an undue burden on grad workers who often do not even make a living wage to begin with, they constitute a form of wage theft, and erode collective bargaining rights by allowing university administrators to levy student fees that would effectively nullify wage increases won by unions. The UW-Madison administration could easily afford to waive these fees–the fees collected from their grad workers only amount to .21% of their budget.
TAA’s struggle is part of a larger nationwide struggle of graduate employee unions and organizations fighting back against this unfair wage theft. On the same day as the TAA sit in, the University of Illinois at Chicago Graduate Employees’ Organization (GEO) reached a tentative contract agreement after a weeks-long strike in which fees were one of the main issues.
We applaud the TAA’s brave action and stand in solidarity with them and all workers fighting to improve their lives and their communities.
The Graduate Employees’ Organization, AFT/IFT Local 6300, AFL-CIO, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, represents approximately 2,700 Teaching and Graduate Assistants on the UIUC Campus. In November 2009 and in February 2018, over 1,000 GEO members and allies participated in a strike to secure a fair contract and more accessible UIUC campus. With an active presence in the community, the GEO continues to work for high-quality and accessible public education in Illinois.
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. More information can also be found on GEO’s website at www.uiucgeo.org.