The Graduate Employees Union is an activist, volunteer-run collective bargaining unit that fights for safe, equitable, and just working conditions for all graduate students. Members of the Graduate Employees Union are domestic and international graduate students at Michigan State University, including Teaching Assistants, Research Assistants, Fellows, and others! By uniting and speaking with a common voice through collective bargaining, graduate students have the power to improve our working and living conditions and fight for a better university for all of us and for all of our communities.
We formed a union because teaching assistants, research assistants, and graduate assistants have been consistently overworked, underpaid, and disrespected. TAs, RAs, and GAs are often the first to be cut when budgets get tight, often asked to perform work that is not included in their contracts, and are often passed by when faculty and administrators are given pay raises. With a union, graduate students at MSU have an organization that gives us the support to work to the best of our abilities, holds the university accountable for its actions, and ensures that graduate employees will be treated like professionals. We have fought for and won healthcare benefits for graduate students and our families, higher stipends to reduce the number of graduate students living in food insecurity or poverty, increased employment training, and a detailed grievance procedure to fight unfair treatment like race or gender based discrimination or overwork.
Together, we fight for all of us and for a better future together. The Graduate Employees Union is affiliated with AFT-Michigan (American Federation of Teachers), and the American Federation of Labor/Council of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). We are also a member of the Michigan Alliance of Graduate Employee Locals (MAGEL) which includes all four graduate employee unions in Michigan: the GEU at MSU, the Graduate Employee Organizing Committee at Wayne State, the Graduate Employees Organization at the University of Michigan, and the Teaching Assistants Union at Western Michigan University.