Graduate student group and MU discuss compensation, unionization
COLUMBIA - In an effort to address concerns raised by graduate students at MU regarding a variety of issues, leadership from the University of Missouri held its third meeting with representatives of the Coalition for Graduate Workers and the National Education Association.
Issues included improving compensation and workload for graduate assistants, support structures for graduate students, and a desire by the group to form a union.
“In our continuing effort to address the concerns of MU’s graduate students, university leadership has met with representatives of the Coalition for Graduate Workers several times, and we appreciate their willingness to partner with us,” UM System Interim President Michael Middleton said. “We believe that the university needs clarity on the graduate students’ legal right to organize, as there is no legal precedent or clarity in current Missouri law to make that determination.”
In recent weeks MU leadership has announced increases in stipend rates from the current $12,000 to $15,000 beginning July 1, 2016, and another increase in 2017 from $15,000 to $18,000.
The university is also preparing a request to obtain proposals for affordable graduate student housing that would include options for childcare.
“We understand and respect the graduate students may choose to seek legal clarification on whether they have the right to have a union vote, but frankly, we should not wait to continue to address outstanding issues,” MU Interim Chancellor Hank Foley said. “There is significant progress being made to address the identified concerns, and we are committed to working directly with graduate students to find common ground. We believe that the best approach is for the graduate students and our leadership to continue to engage in direct, ongoing communication to seek and achieve collaborative solutions to relevant issues.”