Johns Hopkins grad students rally for fair wages, launch union card campaign – Baltimore Sun

Graduate students at Johns Hopkins University rallied on Tuesday afternoon to demand fair wages and launch their organizing campaign.

The group, called Teachers and Researchers United, met on the Keyser Quad on the Homewood campus alongside supporters from outside the university, including a representative from the Baltimore Teachers Union.

Graduate student workers have several demands. They seek to earn a living and want safe and reliable workplaces and transportation. They stand up for timely payment, better support for international students, and efficient grievance procedures. At the event, organizer and graduate student Andrew Eneim said hundreds of people submitted signed union cards.

“Johns Hopkins University respects the right to organize and has a long history of positive and productive relationships with union representatives on campus,” university spokeswoman Megan Christin said in a written statement. .

“For our graduate students, whether or not to join a union is a personal decision that is entirely up to each eligible voter. The university will not seek to influence this decision or the outcome of the process,” Christin said. “As always, we encourage graduate students to seek out facts and information and to listen to diverse perspectives that enrich our academic community.”

Eneim, who works and studies in medical school, said his stipend was around $35,000. Others in his school may earn $2,000 less depending on their area of ​​research.

“Everything really varies, which is part of the problem,” Eneim said.

He said they were asking for graduate students to be paid around $40,000 or more. This number is based on the MIT Living Wage Calculator and rising inflation.

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The crowd listened to a number of pro-union speakers. Emcee and graduate student Caleb Andrews said it was the biggest event since 2019, when the organization successfully fought for dental and vision insurance. Hopkins students began advocating for a union in 2018.

“You have the right to a union and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise,” Andrews said.

Another graduate student, Jodie Baris, explained how the decentralized nature of Johns Hopkins allows for pay differences and difficulties in grievance processes. She said low salaries mean students struggle to buy groceries or pay for expenses like car repairs.

“Fair pay is a college issue that affects all students at Hopkins,” Baris said.

Martin Yepes, a graduate student at Hopkins, said late payments exacerbate these problems for graduates. He said missed paychecks are forcing people to choose between paying medical bills or buying food. He also said that graduate students with scholarships are more likely to be paid late.

Yepes said late payment could be considered a mistake if it happened once, but he said about 150 students had reported the same issue.

“Why can’t we [Hopkins] meet the deadline that keeps the roof over your head? said Yepes.

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