UM grad students form union, send letter to Bodnar seeking negotiations

Graduate students working at the University of Montana have successfully formed a union and sent a letter of majority support to the president’s office in hopes of starting a voluntary collective bargaining agreement process, a representative of the union said on Tuesday.

The graduate student union has been collecting union cards for the last six months, according to member and Ph.D. candidate Collette Berg. The group needed about 282 graduate student employees to sign, according to its social media post.

This month, the union said it has signed a supermajority of the graduate students at UM, meaning no union election is needed to ratify the union. Union cards have been sent to the appropriate state labor agency, Berg said. 

A letter sent by the graduate student union to UM administration on Monday said graduate students are struggling to make ends meet while taking on research or teaching undergraduates. 

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“We seek to improve working and living conditions for graduate employees through a collaborative and non-adversarial relationship with the university administration,” the letter read. “Only when basic needs are met can graduate employees excel in their roles as educators and researchers, supporting

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