University Union Resource List – Grad Students, Adjuncts, and More

When I was a graduate student at Indiana University Bloomington from 2017-2021, my annual stipend was around 15,500 over the course of 4 years (not including the summer months). The stipend didn’t change during my time at IU Bloomington. The pressure from the graduate student union raised the stipend moderately a year after I left.

What is a Graduate Student Union?

A graduate student union is an organized collective of graduate students within a university or academic institution who have come together to advocate for their rights, interests, and working conditions. These unions typically operate as labor unions and may be affiliated with larger labor organizations or independent entities. Graduate student unions often negotiate with university administrations on issues such as wages, benefits, healthcare, workload, grievance procedures, and other aspects of graduate student life.

Forbes on Graduate Student Unions

Inside Higher Ed on Graduate Student Unions

Why do Adjuncts Need a Union?

Adjunct professors often join unions to collectively advocate for fair pay, job security, benefits, and better working conditions. These unions negotiate on behalf of adjuncts to secure higher wages, longer-term contracts, access to benefits like health insurance and retirement plans, and representation in decision-making processes. By joining together, adjuncts gain collective bargaining power, legal protection, and a voice in addressing the systemic challenges they face in academia, aiming to improve their overall well-being and professional status.

Please email any additional unions to afteryourphd@gmail.com or contact me on LinkedIn.

Unions For Graduate Students and Adjuncts

NameTypeDescriptionSocial Media
Boston University Grad WorkersGrad Student UnionBoston University Grad Workers are 3,000 graduate workers whose labor makes Boston University function. They research, teach undergrads and grads, serve on committees, grade exams, supervise dorm living, and perform other essential functions for BU.Twitter
Clark University Graduate Student Union Grad Student UnionClark University Graduate Workers United (CUGWU) – Teamsters, a group of
graduate student workers from across the university taking action together for better pay, safer working conditions, and respect for our rights as workers.
Twitter
Instagram
Indiana Graduate Workers CoalitionGrad Student UnionThe Graduate Student Coalition is a multidisciplinary group of graduate workers fighting for better working conditions for graduate student workers at IU Bloomington.Twitter
Instagram
Northwestern University Graduate Student UnionGrad Student UnionNUGW-UE is an antiracist, feminist labor union fighting for better working and living conditions for all graduate workers.Twitter
Instagram
UC Student-Workers UnionGrad Student UnionThe UC Student-Workers Union represents over 19,000 student workers: teaching assistants, tutors, readers at the University of California.
Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation – OregonGrad Student UnionThe GTFF is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and represents graduate students performing instructional, research, and administrative assignments.  This bargaining unit has more fluctuations than the others, as graduate students move in and out of the unit frequently depending on the nature of their appointment. The unit normally varies between 1300 and 1500 members.
Yale Graduate Student UnionGrad Student UnionFrom running complex experiments in biology labs to teaching daily language courses, we are crucial to the university’s mission of performing cutting-edge research and providing undergraduates with a world-class education.Twitter
Vanderbilt Graduate Workers UnitedGrad Student UnionVanderbilt Graduate Workers United (VGWU) is an independent organization dedicated to forming a labor union for graduate workers at Vanderbilt University. Our mission is to build a union that includes all Vanderbilt graduate workers, whether you work in STEM, humanities, Peabody, or social sciences.Twitter
Instagram
WSU Academic Student EmployeesGrad Student UnionWSU Academic Student Employees are forming a union with the goal of improving the working conditions and experience of teaching and research at WSU.Twitter
Instagram
Temple University Graduate Union Grad Student UnionThe labor union for TA/RAs at Temple in Philly.Twitter
WPI Graduate Student Union Grad Student UnionWorking to make a better WPI for all graduate students.Twitter
Instagram
UMass DartmouthGrad Student UnionThe main goal of our group is to regain and protect UMassD graduate students’ rights to sustainable living conditions amidst rising prices of basic commodities and social services.Twitter
UC Merced Academic WorkersGrad Student UnionWe are fighting for a UC where first-generation scholars do not have to go into extreme debt so that highly paid administrators can live in publicly-funded mansions. We are fighting for a UC in which workers are free from harassment and discrimination and earn enough money to live without excessive rent burden.Twitter
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University of Chicago Graduate Student Union Grad Student UnionGrad workers organizing for better working conditions at UChicago since 2007.Twitter
Instagram
Grad Students United – University of FloridaGrad Student UnionGraduate assistants at the University of Florida have been unionized since 1972. If you are a teaching assistant or a research assistant at UF, Graduate Assistants United is your voice on campus! Together, we use our collective power to improve the lives of graduate assistants. Twitter
New York University Graduate UnionContinuing Faculty & AdjunctsThe union for full-time continuing contract faculty at NYU.Twitter