Did you see it? That little bump in your pay this pay period? Graduate Assistants United (GAU) bargained for that raise this during this year’s contract reopener. So go grab a coffee to celebrate!
Pay raises aren’t the only thing GAU bargains for. We also bargain to raise the standard of working conditions for all Graduate Assistants (including Teaching and Research Assistants). This year we bargained to get a 100% health insurance subsidy for all GAs with at least a 0.25 FTE (i.e. 10 hour) appointment. This means that nearly all GAs have access to health insurance at no cost to them!
We also negotiated with the University to obtain additional parking options for GAs. This year was the first year that USF made 150 E-level parking spots available to GAs., so that you can park a little bit closer to your classes. We look forward to working with the University to procure more parking options for GAs, including direct debit of parking fees from GA pay checks.
GAU may also be bettering the working relationship of GAs with their advisers and supervisors just by being here. A recent study (abstract here) shows that GAs at universities with GA labor unions feel that they are being paid fairly, and they make more money than their non-unionized counterparts. GAs at universities with union representation also reported that they felt they were treated as professionals by their advisers more often than GAs at non-union schools. Being treated fairly both in pay and in adviser relationships ultimately benefits both the GA and the university, because students leave the university system with less debt and more positive networks and collaborative opportunities.
You can do your job better and more efficiently if you have better work conditions and relationships, and GAU helps with both of these things. Take a stand for your working conditions and your working relationship with the university by joining GAU, if you haven’t already. If you’re already a member, talk to your colleagues about joining! You can also join us at social events, general member meetings, leader meetings, or for a cup of coffee (just e-mail us if you want to chat!). With increased membership we have increased power to keep raising the bar on our working conditions at USF. Remember, USF works because we do.
Christy M. Foust