Graduate student workers across the country are helping each other unionize.

By Ella Fassler, Truthout

As a first-year master’s student and associate instructor in the School of Music at Indiana University (IU), Chelsea Brinda was forced to sell her blood plasma to survive. Her stipend of just $9,000 was far below Bloomington’s living wage. Eventually, she stopped selling her biofluids, got her first credit card and took out student loans.

Brinda, now a Ph.D. student at IU earning just $16,500 a year for teaching one or two courses a semester, told Truthout that she struggles to balance her own hefty workload as a student with her personal life, the courses she teaches and her part-time job as a COVID tester on campus.

Graduate Student Organizing Committee authorization vote to strike rally at NYU Gould Plaza

“I feel like I’m shortchanging my students. I’m not giving them the best that I could,” Brinda said. “I’m kind of just going through the motions. I know that if I do try and do better, then it’s going to be a lot more work for myself. That’s not what they’re there for. They don’t deserve that.”

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