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Graduate Workers Union

ISU Graduate Workers Union begins hunger strike

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NORMAL — Four members of the Illinois State University Graduate Workers Union are participating in a hunger strike leading up to a strike vote on Monday. 

GWU picket on Sept. 23

Illinois State University graduate workers protest Thursday, Sept. 23, outside Hovey Hall as they attempted to catch the attention of administrators. The union, part of Service Employees International Union Local 73, plans a ratify or strike vote on Monday, Oct. 4. Four members will be participating in a hunger strike. 

Union members announced the hunger strike at a picket held around Hovey Hall on Wednesday and in a press release sent out later in the day. The union is part of Service Employees International Union Local 73

Watch now: Kinzy speaks to ISU's persistence through COVID

The union and university met on Tuesday with a federal mediator. At the meeting, the university presented what it has said is its "last, best and final offer." The university also updated its negotiations website with the offer, which includes raised stipend amounts and agreeing to the union's proposed no-strike clause. 

Watch now: ISU graduate workers restart union actions

In the press release, the union said the hunger strike is meant to draw attention to the poverty conditions of graduate workers. The hunger strike started Wednesday and does not have a set end date. On Monday, the union has planned to start a vote to either ratify the contract or strike.

Illinois State University union puts contract talks on hold

The union is asking for solidarity from the public through sunrise to sunset fasts, donations to the School Street Food Pantry and sharing the union's stories.

The pandemic and timing have played a hand in perceived delays with negotiations between the university and the graduate student workers union. READ MORE HERE.

The four people participating in the hunger strike are Ismail Cem Addemir, a master's student in communications, Sayanti Mondal, a doctorate student in English, Trevor Rickerd, a doctorate student in biology, and Steven Lazaroff, a doctorate student in English. 

Update: An earlier version of this article incorrectly said the hunger strike would end on Monday. The participants have not set an end date. 

Contact Connor Wood at (309)820-3240. Follow Connor on Twitter: @connorkwood

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