This article addresses the process of political organization and unionizing among university researchers in Italy which are formally considered to be ‘in training’. This condition puts them in a sort of liminal space, between being recognized as fully employed professionals and being instead considered lifetime students. Their effort to organize politically can be seen as one of many ways through which students are fighting against the establishment of the neoliberal university model. The analysis is focused on the Italian movement called CRNS - Coordinamento dei Ricercatori non Strutturati (Non-structured Research Fellows Coordination), which formed to address this defining issue. The CRNS experiment aimed at achieving a sense of unity among the fragmented academic workforce and it can be considered a prototype of a new, grassroots form of union activity and organizing. The empirical data used in the analysis consists of ten in-depth interviews with university researchers, all Italian citizens, equally divided between men and women, who have all had to move around, as a function of their career and who have all been involved, to different degrees, in political and union organizing initiatives, regarding their conditions of ‘perpetual students’ rather than ‘not quite employed’.