NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — A vote has started among graduate student workers at Illinois State University (ISU) on a contract offer from the school.
ISU said this offer is its “final and best” offer, and the student union worker’s bargaining teams recommend them to vote yes on the contract.
The contract that student workers are being asked to vote “yes” on includes a 25% increase in minimum pay for graduate student workers and a 23% increase in minimum pay for Ph.D. student workers. It also includes a 3% increase for graduate teaching assistants who make above the minimum.
Steven Lazaroff, a member of the union and Ph.D. student at ISU, said the contract was a win for now, but the fight for fairer wages in the future is still not over.
“We believe that while ISU’s poverty wages will still continue after this contract, we believe this contract is a foundation towards ending those poverty wages by making our members’ lives better right now and right here,” Lazaroff said.
Until Sunday, workers can vote to accept the contract or vote to authorize a strike. Lazaroff believes workers will accept the contract because many terms within it are things the university refused to agree to in the past.
“We have folks that need urgent wins and need their lives to improve right now, and this first contract is a great first contract because it’s a good foundation and creates momentum for the future,” Lazaroff said. “We’re not just looking to win the contract, we see two, three, four contracts down the line because we know that we can’t win it all in this contract.”
ISU declined to comment on the matter, but referred to it’s website.