MARQUETTE — Change is what graduate teaching assistants at Northern Michigan University are fighting for.

Graduate employees at the university, created a petition to get the schools attention about things they need to help them get through this pandemic. With NMU’s intent to move forward with in–person classes, graduate employees asked for these changes to be made:

-Northern Michigan University will provide health insurance to all graduate employees

-If possible, provide the option for graduate employees to conduct job responsibilities online during the pandemic

-If jobs or instruction cannot be conducted online, then graduate employees will receive 25% of hazard pay.

“This reaffirms our basic needs,” said Tori Rego, Graduate teaching assistant at Northern Michigan University. “Right now, I think it’s got over 600 signatures and it’s been circulating just for a week. It’s basically just restating these needs and asking for them once more. We want to just keep everyone engaged.”

Despite the number supporters the petition has, Rego says the university still hasn’t responded to it.

“They’ve had ample time to sit with us and talk and we’ve opened ourselves up too .We want to have those dialogues, but they haven’t sat down at the table with us to listen to the concerns of graduate employees in relation to the petition.”

Graduate teaching assistants at NMU make around $9000 a year and receive nothing else after that. Rego says these changes will help graduate employees, but they are also fighting for contingent and adjunct faculty members.

“They also don’t receive health care and adjunct faculty members make up a large amount of teaching instructors just like we do. It’s a lot of people that don’t have options, that are making a really small salary and don’t receive proper health care, “Rego said.

Rego says  graduate teaching assistants have second jobs to make meet ends, but that jobs conflicts with them getting Medicaid and other situations, which is why they’re asking for these changes.

You can visit the website WWW.NONMU.ORG for more information.

Click here to view the petition.