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Clark University Graduate Student Workers Fight for and Win Strong First Contract


Agreement Includes Significant Wage Increases and Protections

Press Contact: Shannon George Email:    

(WORCESTER, Mass.) – Clark University graduate student workers represented by Teamsters Local 170 have voted unanimously to ratify a strong first contract.

The three-year agreement includes wage increases of up to 90 percent, increased subsidies for health insurance, seven sick days, two personal days, and a grievance procedure.

There are about 170 graduate student workers in the bargaining unit. The workers voted overwhelmingly to join the Teamsters in February. When negotiations with the administration stalled over the summer, the workers escalated their campaign to get a strong contract by rallying, holding actions, enlisting the support of other students, faculty, and parents, and handing out fliers during move-in day.

After voting 97 percent in favor of authorizing a strike, on October 3, the workers walked out to the sound of horns from Teamster 18-wheelers. They picketed around the clock for five days until they reached an agreement with the private research university.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the solidarity that this group showed during negotiations, and a five-day strike, fighting for a fair contract and livable wages,” said Shannon George, Local 170 principal officer.

“The proof of all these efforts is in the contract itself,” the committee of workers wrote in an online post. “Joining the Teamsters was one of the best decisions we made. The Teamsters brought a commitment to rank and file militancy to our campaign. No one has to accept poverty wages and exploitation in the course of their academic apprenticeship. We are Teamster strong, and Worcester is a union town!”

“Since first voting to join Teamsters Local 170, these workers never lost sight of the end goal – a Teamster contract – and they worked around the clock to succeed,” said Thomas G. Mari, Secretary-Treasurer of Joint Council 10. “Working alongside Local 170 leaders and the negotiating team, Clark University graduate workers now have a three-year contract that includes significant wage increases, a grievance procedure and health insurance. I’d like to thank the leadership of Local 170 for helping these members secure a strong first contract.”

Teamsters Local 170 represents approximately 4,000 members in various industries, including freight, brewery, package delivery, public services, and more.