I recently read Nick Finan’s piece on how unionization creates a fairer workplace. I couldn't agree more! As a member of Unionize UNL, I want to add that unionization is key not only in businesses like Kellogg’s or John Deere but also in K-12 and higher ed, including right here on UNL’s campus.

Graduate student workers are building a union through Unionize UNL. Grad workers – teaching assistants, research assistants, and others – teach and mentor large numbers of undergraduate students. Our work is invaluable; the university could not run without our labor. A living wage in Lincoln for a single person, without children and before taxes, is $28,825. Yet most grad workers earn $10,000 less than a living wage! This is one of many reasons why grad workers need a union. To the undergrad students reading this, ask the grad workers in your life how much they make. Is it enough to live on?

Unions are a way workers can collectively organize to demand their needs are met. A union could help grad workers here at UNL earn closer to liveable wages, get better healthcare, have greater say in teaching and mentoring, hold the administration accountable for discrimination or sexual assault and more! Unionize UNL is currently measuring and growing support for unionization; grad workers, let us know what you think about unionization through our commitment survey, and, if you like what you’ve read, email us at unionizeunl@gmail.com to get involved.

In Solidarity,

Kathleen Dillon, on behalf of Unionize UNL