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October 3, 2022

Clark University graduate workers go on strike

Photo | Kevin Koczwara Clark University Graduate Workers Union members on strike at Clark's Main Gate during the first week of October. The union voted to ratify a new contract agreement.

Clark University Graduate Workers United in Worcester, supported by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 170 of Worcester, announced it is on strike as of 10:30 AM on Monday.

According to a Monday press release, the union is demanding a living wage, affordable health care, and better working conditions for its members.

The union accuses Clark of bad-faith negotiating, saying that after submitting an initial contract offer in April, Clark administration refused to discuss economic aspects of the collective bargaining agreement in six separate meetings through late August and that the school reneged on a previous commitment to fully subsidize the majority of doctoral student worker health insurance premiums.

Clark University provided a statement responding to the strike Monday afternoon, saying that the school regrets that the union opted to strike without providing official notice instead of focusing on reaching agreement on a contract. The statement also claims that significant progress has been achieved in negotiations except on the topic of compensation and benefits. 

On Aug. 15, the Teamsters Local 170 filed a charge of unfair labor practices against Clark University on behalf of the grad students.

The union voted for certification in March, and voted to authorize a strike on Sept. 12.

The Clark strike comes as the Worcester Polytechnic Institute Graduate Worker Union is working toward its own vote to unionize.

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