Groups at Virginia Tech launch two unions

Published: Sep. 5, 2023 at 4:36 PM EDT
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - Students, faculty and staff at Virginia Tech gathered September 5 to rally support for two new unions on campus.

“We’re just really looking forward to being able to get a bigger group of students and really start making change around here, and getting people excited about having power,” Virginia Tech Grad Student Oliver Shuey said.

“Virginia Tech is already in an amazing place; our goal is to make it even better and for everybody on campus,” Virginia Tech Coordinator for General Education Jenni Gallagher said.

The Virginia Tech Graduate Labor Union consists of university grad students and the United Campus Workers at Virginia Tech, made up of students workers, faculty and staff.

“We’re really looking for worker solidarity, and advocating for workers’ rights right now,” Shuey said.

“It’s about democratically organizing together for what we decide is best for our campus,” Gallagher said. “I imagine that one of our main focuses will be have establishing a living wage for all of our workers.”

Tuesday’s rally brought together a crowd full of supporters for the two groups. They say the next step is increasing membership and starting dialogue.

“Unions historically, and now consistently, work together, and so we decided to band together because we figured two groups going public on the same day is definitely a lot louder than just one, and we were excited to stand in solidarity with faculty and staff as well,” Shuey said.

“We are all fighting for the same thing, which is the best working conditions for everybody on campus and the best education possible for our students,” Gallagher said.