The Union Difference for Grad Students

As we wait to learn the date of our upcoming union election, it’s important to consider the gains won by our peers across the country. Below are examples of the benefits secured by grad students nationwide, as well as select contracts won by SEIU-affiliated adjunct faculty.

  • At the University of Connecticut, graduate student worker stipend rates increased by 3 percent each year of the contract, a 9.3 percent compound increase over the life of the agreement, in addition to promotional increases based on academic standing.
  • Tufts University part-time faculty, which formed a union with SEIU, will now make at least $7,300 a course after negotiation of their latest contract, 22 percent increase. In addition to other benefits, union members have a contractual right to be paid for work outside of normal classroom duties (e.g., advising, mentoring and independent studies).
  • At Oregon State University, grad assistants won contractually guaranteed protections against discrimination and sexual harassment, protections against over work, workers compensation and medical leave, and provision of the necessary workspace and equipment to perform their duties.
  • At SEIU-affiliated California Faculty Association, union members earned 10.5 percent raise over three academic years. At Boston University, part-time faculty received pay raises between 29 percent and 68 percent over the three-year life of their first contract.
  • In a contract at Washington University in St. Louis, faculty organizing with SEIU will receive a 26 percent raise over the next four academic years. Individual faculty members will also receive $750 for classes that are suddenly canceled.
  • At the University of Florida, grad assistants won transparent and consistent performance evaluations, dental and medical benefits, academic freedom protections, and protections against being overworked, and protections against sexual harassment.
  • After forming a union with SEIU, part-time faculty at the George Washington University, union members’ pay increased as much as 32% in one department when they ratified their first contract.