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UVa workers union protests graduate stipend task force response

More than four months after launching the “Cut The Check” campaign to address the issue of graduate student workers receiving late paychecks, the United Campus Workers of Virginia chapter at the University of Virginia marched across Grounds to Madison Hall to speak with Provost Ian Baucom on Friday afternoon.

A group of about 70 undergraduate and graduate students, including a graduate campus worker from Virginia Commonwealth University, chanted on the steps of Madison Hall in call-and-response style, demanding that UVa and all Virginia universities abide by their contractual obligations to pay student workers.

A delegation of five workers spoke with the provost as the rest of the group continued to protest outside of the building that houses Baucom’s office.

“Provost Baucom refused to commit to hiring more staff in the appropriate divisions to ensure that UVA’s graduate workers will no longer have to worry about late and missing payments,” the United Campus Workers of Virginia wrote on its website on Friday.

The graduate workers launched the campaign in December of last year after most of them did not receive their paychecks until three weeks after the university was scheduled to pay them, said Laura Ornee, who is a member of the UVa chapter of United Campus Workers of Virginia.

Baucom on Jan. 5 promised to establish a Graduate Stipend Task Force.

He formally charged the task force with identifying the "precise cause of the delay and to ensure that delays are avoided in the future" on Feb. 9.

The Graduate Stipend Task Force sent an update on March 2 with recommendations to get to the root of the wage delays and identify solutions.

Recommendations included better communication of and adherence to established deadlines; aligning monthly stipend payments with bimonthly wage payments in order to minimize the time gap between payments; and creating more ways to upload stipend and wage information to a professional portal.

The graduate workers, many of whom say they are still receiving late paychecks, are not satisfied with the task force’s response.


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