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UMaine Graduate Workers (UAW) Rally for a Fair Contract

Andy O’Brien
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Graduate workers with the University of Maine Graduate Workers Union-UAW rallied on UMaine’s Orono campus on Tuesday to call on the University to agree to a fair contract. Seven months after graduate workers in the University of Maine System democratically formed their union, and over four months since starting negotiations, the university system administration has still not agreed to contract provisions to address ongoing issues around low and inconsistent pay, substandard health benefits, protections for international graduate student workers, and the need for a voice at work.  The workers were joined by Maine state legislators, community leaders, and supporters.

“As grad workers we teach, grade and perform the research that powers the educational and research mission of the University,” said Em Sowles, a fourth year PhD candidate and Research Assistant in the Physics department. “In short, the Universities of Maine work because we do. But for too long, we have struggled with low and inconsistent pay, substandard health benefits and the need for a voice at work. Today we are asking the University to stop stalling and to agree to a fair contract, so we can focus on our students and our work instead of how to make ends meet.”