University of Michigan graduate student workers strike over wages

Graduate workers at the University of Michigan going on strike, after months of negotiations between the graduate employees' organization and U-M.

"My name is Amir, I am a grad student in political science and as of this morning I’m on strike," said one striker,

Graduate student workers walked out of the classroom Wednesday morning and onto the picket line.

"By walking out of your classes this morning you all just gave U-M the best explanation it could ask for, why it should listen to it’s own workers," said Jared Eno, Graduate Employees Organization.

Right now University of Michigan graduate student employees make $24,000 a year.

"People are selling their plasma, skipping meals, rationing medications," said Eno.

They’re demanding a wage they can live on — they believe an annual salary of $38,500 is fair.

There are approximately 2,100 grad student workers at the university.

The University of Michigan released a statement in response to the strike saying in part:

"Beyond any legal considerations is an ethical one; if collective bargaining is to retain its value, all parties must honor the terms of the contract they signed. We urge GEO to reconsider its breach of the agreement we reached through good faith collective bargaining.

"Nonetheless, our focus remains on continuing instruction for our students and achieving an agreement with GEO through the negotiation process. The next bargaining session is scheduled for Friday and the university remains ready to meet at any time."