About CGW

The Coalition of Graduate Workers (CGW) is a graduate employee union for graduate workers at the University of Missouri-Columbia. It is affiliated with the Missouri National Education Association and the National Education Association. We are also proud members of Missouri Jobs with Justice.

CGW works to ensure all graduate employees have dignified working conditions and just compensation for their labor. Our five primary goals, as enumerated in our Bylaws, are Organizing, Collective Representation and Bargaining, Education, Community and Solidarity, and Social Justice. 


CGW arose out of the grassroots graduate student rights movement created by the MU health insurance crisis of August 2015. CGW originally acted as the Organizing Committee of the Forum on Graduate Rights (FGR); upon our affiliation with MNEA, we became an independent union local. After collecting more than a thousand signature cards from graduate workers at Mizzou calling for a union representation election, CGW approached the University of Missouri to set up an election, but the University refused to work with the union. CGW contracted the League of Women Voters to hold an independent representation election in April 2016, in which graduate workers chose CGW as their representative by a margin of 84%. The University of Missouri continued to deny our constitutional right to organize despite the overwhelming proof that graduate workers wanted a union, leading to a lawsuit, Coalition of Graduate Workers vs. The Board of Curators of the University of Missouri. On April 20th, 2018, the case was heard in the Boone County Court by Judge Jeff Harris. A decision on the case is still pending.

CGW is governed by three bodies: the Coordinating Committee, composed of the Local’s officers, who handle day-to-day operations; the Representative Assembly, composed of the Coordinating Committee and representatives sent from the membership of departments and programs that employ graduate workers, which sets policy for the Local; and the General Membership Assembly, which consists of all members of the Local and holds the ultimate authority for our Local’s actions.

CGW’s 2021 Coordinating Committee:

  • Chairs: Mike Olson, Connor Frew
  • Outreach Officer: Vacant
  • Corresponding and Recording Officer: Ryan Smith
  • Financial Officer: Vacant
  • Organizing and Grievance Officer: Vacant
  • Diversity Officer: David Beckwitt
  • International Student Affairs Officer: Yonca Cam

Our first point of contact with the Missouri NEA is Laverne Copeland, our UniServ Director. If you have questions about MNEA, please reach out to her here.

Please consider donating to CGW using the button below. All donations go towards the work of advocating for graduate employees at the University of Missouri. No donations will be used for political purposes or contributions.
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