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The Daily Northwestern

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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NU cancels second bargaining session with graduate workers

Daily file photo by Jacob Wendler
Hundreds of community members organized outside Silverman Hall at a Nov. 13 “Pay, Power, and Protections NOW!” rally hosted by NUGW.

Northwestern canceled its Thursday bargaining session with Northwestern University Graduate Workers, the union announced Wednesday afternoon. The meeting is the second consecutive planned bargaining session canceled by the University, after it canceled a full-day session scheduled for Nov. 14.

University spokesperson Hilary Hurd Anyaso told The Daily that NU canceled the Thursday meeting because its lead negotiator tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week. She said the University offered to extend three upcoming bargaining sessions — scheduled for Dec. 13, Jan. 10 and Feb. 21 — from half-day to full-day sessions in light of the cancellation.

The Thursday meeting was intended to be NUGW’s first open bargaining session, meaning union members that are not a part of the bargaining committee could attend.

NUGW bargaining committee member Lawrence Chillrud said while the union is wishing NU’s lead negotiator an easy and quick recovery, the cancellation is particularly frustrating given the sparse bargaining days offered to the union in the first place. 

“That offer to turn those half days into full days really demonstrates that they could have done that this whole time,” he said. “They had initially offered those as half days, making the claim that they weren’t able to make them full days and they were taking contract negotiations very seriously … but this really shows you that a lot of that is just lip service and they could have prioritized this more.”

University spokesperson Jon Yates previously told The Daily that the University canceled its Nov. 14 meeting because it needed more time to review NUGW’s economic proposals, which the union presented to the University Oct. 19.

Nearly 500 community members attended a Nov. 13 rally organized by NUGW to demand the University offer graduate workers a fair contract.

Chillrud said while NUGW hopes it can settle its demands through good-faith negotiations, it is willing to consider a strike if necessary.

“We know that membership is getting more and more frustrated with every passing day that we don’t settle this contract,” Chillrud said. “It’s not anyone’s first hope — it’s not anyone’s second hope — but if we need to withhold labor, then we absolutely have that action available to us. And as other graduate unions have shown, that action is incredibly effective, so we’re confident exercising that if it comes to that.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @jacob_wendler

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