Graduate student union negotiations set to begin

September 9, 2022
Melissa Nobles, Chancellor | Cynthia Barnhart, Provost |

Dear colleagues and students,

On September 19, MIT will begin collective bargaining negotiations with the MIT Graduate Student Union and United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (MIT GSU-UE). We write today to share an update on how we plan to approach these negotiations.

Commitment to good-faith negotiations & MIT’s core educational and research missions

The MIT administration and the MIT GSU-UE share many of the same goals when it comes to ensuring the well-being and success of our graduate students.

The upcoming negotiations, which will focus on the terms and conditions of employment for the members of the bargaining unit, represent an opportunity to find common ground in order to build on the progress we’ve been making to improve the graduate student experience.

We remain committed to bargaining in good faith. And we are hopeful that the road to a first contract will be as smooth and efficient as possible.

That said, reaching an initial collective bargaining agreement between a graduate student union and an institution of higher education typically takes many months and, in some cases, years, and good faith disagreements between the two sides are certainly to be expected.

Throughout the negotiations, MIT will uphold its responsibility to provide the best possible educational and research experiences to all students, an obligation that is at the heart of our mission as an academic institution. MIT has 12,000 students, and the union represents less than one-third of them. We will continue to serve the collective best interests of every student, both those who are represented by the union and those who are not, and will not agree to terms that will undermine our academic or research missions. Indeed, as this is a labor bargaining process, we do not intend to negotiate on academic matters with the union.

In closing

In the absence of a contract, we will continue to operate our academic programs and all other activities as we have in the past. Once a contract is agreed upon, we will communicate any changes that may be necessary.

If you have any questions in the meantime, please reach out to for assistance or visit for information about the bargaining process.


Melissa Nobles, Chancellor

Cynthia Barnhart, Provost