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### BU Graduate Workers’ Strike Leads to Class Disruptions: “System Collapse” Without Us

About 3,000 graduate student workers at Boston University initiated a strike on Monday, advocating for enhanced compensation and benefits in a labor dispute that caused various disruptions to classes and academic activities at the institution.

A large gathering, comprising workers, undergraduate students, and notable supporters like Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Ayanna Pressley, convened for a midday rally to kick off the work stoppage. Despite the inclement weather, the demonstrators proudly displayed signs adorned with the school’s mascot, the terrier, along with messages such as “We can’t teach if we can’t eat” and “BU: You get what you pay for.”

Dave Foley, the president of Service Employees International Union Local 509 representing the BU graduate student workers, expressed the challenging decision to strike, acknowledging the impact on the quality of education. However, he emphasized the workers’ dedication to their students’ well-being.

As the strike continues until a contractual agreement is reached, the repercussions on the university’s 37,000-plus students, who rely heavily on graduate students for various academic support roles, remain uncertain.

University spokesperson Rachel Lapal Cavallario stated that it was premature to assess the extent of class cancellations resulting from the strike. Efforts are underway to mitigate disruptions to teaching, research, and student life.

While departments have the option to arrange for replacement workers during the strike, reports indicated that some undergraduate students experienced cancellations of discussion sections led by teaching assistants.

The strike, following months of contract negotiations between the university and the Boston Graduate Student Workers Union, revolves around issues such as compensation, healthcare coverage, and additional benefits like childcare and transportation assistance.

One of the primary grievances highlighted was the stipend pay for PhD students, with the union advocating for a substantial increase compared to the university’s proposed counteroffer.

The strike aligns with a broader trend in the labor movement within higher education, with graduate student workers increasingly advocating for better working conditions and compensation.

Key figures like Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Ayanna Pressley voiced their support for the striking graduate workers, emphasizing the importance of fair treatment and respect for labor rights.

The ongoing strike underscores the complex dynamics at play within the university community, with students navigating uncertainties regarding class schedules, exams, and academic support services amidst the labor action.

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