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Pressure mounts as finals week approaches for IU graduate workers on strike

Nicholas DiVaccaro

The graduate workers coalition at Indiana University has voted with a 95% majority to extend its strike into finals week of the spring semester.

The coalition continues to picket around campus daily. Philosophy and cognitive science Ph.D. candidate Zara Onwarsi explained why the strike has been extended.

“We still don't have union recognition. We still don't have a satisfying solution for getting tuition dollars into the classroom, so the problem is still there,” Onwarsi said. “We're really hoping that the administration can talk to us this week.”

The coalition votes every Tuesday on whether to extend the strike into the following week. A decision on grading during finals week will be made at the next vote next Tuesday, Onwarsi stated.

Dual Ph.D. candidate in U.S. History and American Studies programs Iyoka Wiks encouraged people in the university community who want the strike to end to take action.

“I think what those undergraduates and their parents need to do is email the provost and put pressure on him,” Wiks said. “We absolutely love our jobs and that's why we're on strike. It's because we don't have the working conditions, the pay, to sustain us to do the jobs that we love.”

Also today, Indiana University student leaders are considering a new move to put pressure on the administration in support of the striking workers.

The Graduate and Professional Student Government is meeting Wednesday night to hold a vote of no confidence in Provost Rahul Shrivastav.

The proposed resolution would encourage the organization to withdraw all representatives from committees of shared governance at IU until the administration engages in a meaningful dialogue with the Graduate Workers Coalition.

Wiks and Onwarsi said the strike could continue into the summer if a resolution is not agreed upon.

IU spokesman Chuck Carney said the university has confidence in the plans it has put in place regarding the strike.

“The disruptions have really been fairly minimal across campus, and we think we'll be able to finish the semester successfully,” said Carney, director of media relations.

This Friday, on admission Red Carpet Day, the coalition is planning to hold a large picket line outside the IMU.