Welcome Students!

Graduate Assistants United would like to welcome new and returning Graduate Students to SIUC for the 2013-2014 academic year.  Thank you for your commitment to our union, this university, and our work ahead.

Don’t be afraid to get in touch, check out our website, and get involved.  We’re actively looking for folks interested in volunteering, serving as Departmental Stewards, and promoting the mission of GAU across campus.  We’d love to hear from you!

Enjoy your time at SIUC!

Matt Ryg, President
Graduate Assistants United

ALEC’s Unwelcome Party in Chicago

A wide coalition of labor, activist and social justice grass-roots groups along with concerned individuals turned out in Chicago last week to protest the now-infamous American Legislative Exchange Council’s 40th anniversary conference.

GAU’s very own James Anderson (Steward, College of Mass Communication & Media Arts) reports the story.  Click here to read more.

Support a Living Wage

A living wage is something we all deserve.  It is also something too many workers do not receive.

We do not view these circumstances wherein workers are not paid enough to live on as moral.  Nor do we accept them as immutable.  Thankfully, neither do underpaid educators and workers across the country currently mobilizing for fair working wages and just labor conditions.  On the notion that people who work full time should not live in poverty, education support professionals have organized a “living wage campaign” to pressure districts to provide livable wages, with notable successes supported by the Illinois Education Association (IEA).

Emphasizing the importance of building relationships, the IEA Living Wage Task Force together with UniServ Director Bonnie Booth spent time working with the campaign activists to further the cause.  Similarly, as Stephen Greenhouse reported for the New York Times, the Service Employees International Union (S.E.I.U.) has lent financial and organizational support to striking fast food workers at dozens of major chains where they are not adequately compensated.

These non-traditional demonstrations taking place at McDonald’s, KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and elsewhere in cities like St. Louis, Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit and New York put the issue of widening inequality and low wages front and center.  Singing, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, $7.40 has got to go,” in reference to the current low wage rate many full-time workers receive, they are proposing an increase to $15.00 per hour – closer to what could be considered a living wage in contemporary society.

These related struggles are important because they stand to significantly improve people’s lives.  They are also important because they are winnable.

Along with concerned citizens here in the Midwest and beyond, we unequivocally endorse the fight for a fair wage.  We encourage everyone to support educators who aspire to teach without falling into poverty, and to stand with service workers who desire to do the work of feeding society while also making enough to not worry about how they will feed themselves.

In Solidarity,

James Anderson, Steward
College of Mass Communication and Media Arts

Matt Ryg, President
College of Liberal Arts, Philosophy

ALEC Exposed Rally in Chicago

The Chicago Federation of Labor and the Chicago Teachers Union are exposing the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) on Thursday, August 8th in Chicago.

There is a scheduled protest outside of ALEC’s 40th Anniversary Conference.  Click here for event details.  Check out ALECExposed.org by the Center for Media and Democracy for history and background.