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UCWLA union members create petition, issue press release calling on LSU President Tate for living wages and affordable healthcare

LSU promised to raise all graduate worker pay to $23k and provide health insurance for all graduate workers. It has come to light that this promise remains unfulfilled for many of our coworkers. Sign this petition and keep up the fight! We will not stop until we win fair wages and benefits for all!

Sign the petition here. View the flyer here. See full press release below. 

View the memo from Jim Spencer (Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School) and Roy Haggerty (Provost) to Faculty and Graduate Students, as well as helpful information by the LSU Reveille, the Louisiana Illuminator




August 1, 2023

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UCWLA Featured in Louisiana Illuminator

Underpaid and overworked, PhD students respond to LSU’s empty promise to pay them a living wage


BATON ROUGE, La. – United Campus Workers Louisiana (UCWLA) is calling on LSU to fulfill its promise of paying graduate students $23,000 per academic year. Despite the circulation of a memo beginning in fall 2022, and a subsequent allocation of $8 million in the state budget, many graduate students, including UCWLA members, have yet to see the promised increase.

“Graduate assistants do much of the labor required to keep a university running, including research and teaching freshman courses,” said Piper Hutchinson in her Louisiana Illuminator story about graduate student pay. “They are typically offered a tuition waiver and stipend for 20 hours of work, although several told the Illuminator they work many more hours without additional pay.”

Making between $11,000 and $20,000 a year, many graduate students are underpaid and overworked – hovering around the federal poverty level ($14,580) and often unofficially putting in well over twenty hours. And while the Tiger Athletic Foundation reaps the benefits of a government handout, graduate students are struggling to make ends meet: a graduate student at the low end of the scale who pays the median rent in Baton Rouge ($1,256) would have just $34 left over to spend on other essentials and thousands in student fees they are required to pay twice a year.

“I think they are abusing us because we are stuck here and they have the power, and they can fire us easily and they can get rid of us whenever they want,” Hutchinson quotes one LSU graduate student as saying. “With these working conditions, several students said they feel like LSU is exploiting them,” Hutchinson said.

Paying graduate students $23,000 per year – the bare minimum that is still $10,000 less than a living wage in Baton Rouge – is the least LSU could do. We call on LSU to act on promises made.

Sign the petition here. Join UCWLA here. Read the full Louisiana Illuminator article here.