UI COGS protest for higher wages on the Pentacrest

The Campaign to Organize Graduate Students advocated for higher wages for workers on Monday.


Shuntaro Kawasaki

COGS protesters are seen in front of the Old Capitol in Iowa City on Monday, Feb. 6, 2023.

Natalie Miller, News Reporter

Campaign to Organize Graduate Students, the University of Iowa’s graduate student union, picketed on the Pentacrest Monday afternoon to advocate for higher wages for graduate workers.

The picketing surrounded the union’s upcoming meeting with the state Board of Regents to negotiate permissive topics, specifically a 10 percent wage increase and parental leave. 

The group was hoping to grab the attention of different graduate and undergraduate students while picketing on Monday, COGS member Flannery Currin said. 

COGS members recently protested at UI President Barbara Wilson’s office on Feb. 3 to gain her support for its demands for the regents. COGS also held a protest in December 2022 to demand increased student wages. At that protest, COGS members said the regents planned to offer a 1-3 percent raise for graduate employees.  

RELATED: UI COGS holds protest to increase graduate employee wages

The group drafted a letter for Wilson to sign stating that she stands with the graduate student workers, although she was not in her office at the time.

COGS member John Tappen said the union is working on publicizing its contract campaign. 

“We are bargaining for a new contract for TAs and RAs at the university this month with the Board of Regents and that contract will cover the next two academic years,” Tappen said. 

Tappen also mentioned the employee benefits of teaching assistants and research assistants at the UI have fallen far behind in comparison to that of other Big Ten schools. 

Infographic by Jami Martin-Trainor/The Daily Iowan

The organization will keep requesting that its demands are met, Tappen said. Though COGS negotiates with the regents and not with Wilson directly, her support would still help immensely, he said. 

“We will continue to ask her to sign that letter in support of our contract demands for better wages,” he said.