Contract Gains by Other UAW Academic Unions

The following are examples of the types of gains that are possible with a strong union contract.

CONTRACT COMPARISON HIGHLIGHTS
New York University Graduate Workers
GSOC-UAW Local 2110
NYU Before and After
Read their current contract here.
University of Connecticut Graduate Workers
GEU-UAW Local 6950
UConn Before and After
Read current contract here
.
University of Washington Academic Student Employees UAW Local 4121WU Before and AfterRead their current contract here. University of California Postdoctoral Researchers
UAW Local 5810UC Before and After
Read their current contract here.
New York University Adjunct Faculty
UAW Local 7902
NYU Adjuncts Before and After
Read current contract here.
COMPENSATION/STIPENDS
Union: Retroactive pay; guaranteed annual minimum increases; minimum wage increased 50% from $10 to $15/hr, and doubled to $20/hr in 2019. No Union: Wage increases were unpredictable, determined unilaterally by UConn.

Union: Up to $2200 more per year over the life of the contract.

No Union: Wage increases unpredictable and determined unilaterally by UW.

Union: ASEs’ annual wage s have increased $9,090 per academic year.

No Union: UC’s recommended minimum salary was below the NIH minimum and some postdocs made as little as $18,000 per year. No guaranteed pay increases.

Union: All postdocs must be paid at least their NIH NRSA experienced-based step and many are paid above scale. Average salary has risen by more than $7,400 per year (an increase of 17.6%).

No Union: Unpredictable wage increases and no guaranteed annual increases.

Union: Pay increase of nearly 20% for majority of adjunct/part-time faculty in first contract. Doubling of pay rates in lowest paid departments. Minimum 3% increase for all adjuncts in each year of contract of first contract.

TUITION WAIVERS/FEES
UnionFee waivers broadened. No Union: Graduate Assistants received waiver of tuition but had to pay more than $2200 per year in additional mandatory fees.

Union: Nearly $900 in new fee waivers (equal to additional 3.2%-7.6% pay increase). 

No Union: 50% FTE graduate assistant received waiver of 93% of tuition, but had to pay the cost of all existing and any newly-created student fees beyond tuition.

Union: Amount covered by waiver has increased by $6,542 since our first collective bargaining agreement.

HEALTHCARE BENEFITS
Union: Individual healthcare subsidy for all previously uncovered workers; landmark family healthcare fund created; Student dental plan fee covered. No Union: Unilateral removal from state employee health plan in 2003, then subsequent erosion, including major cuts in 2013; UConn determined premium rates unilaterally for GAs and their families, with significant increases over time.

Union: Restoration of state employee health benefit levels;GAs pay less for better benefits. 

No Union: Several years of unilateral cuts to benefits.

Union: No cuts since 2004 and numerous improvements.

No Union: Many Fellows and Paid-Directs did not receive UC-provided health insurance for themselves or dependent.

Union: All postdocs and dependents receive comprehensive UC-provided health benefits at greatly lower cost than non-union UC faculty and staff plans.

No Union: No access to paid health
benefits.
Union: All adjunct/part-time faculty have access to health insurance and, based on teaching load, the university pays 50 – 100% of the individual premium cost, which can be applied towards family coverage.
CHILDCARE BENEFITS
Union: Breakthrough childcare fund achieved. No Union: No childcare subsidies for GAs.

Union: Establishment of GA childcare subsidy fund.

No Union: No guarantee of childcare subsidies or other benefits for ASEs.

Union: Up to $3600 per year in subsidies.

MATERNITY/FAMILY/MEDICAL LEAVE
  No Union: No guarantee of paid family leave.

Union: Contractually-guaranteed paid family leave.

No Union: No leave benefits for maternity, family, medical or other reasons.

Union: In addition to up to seven days of paid leave, a grad assistant can take up to three months unpaid leave with continued health insurance coverage fully-paid by UW.

No Union: No guaranteed parental or family leave, maternity leave was only 60% of salary for five of six weeks.ave benefits for maternity, family, medical or other reasons.

Union: Parental and family leave are guaranteed; maternity leave is paid at 70% for five of six weeks and postdocs have the right to use PTO and sick leave to supplement salary. If the postdoc funding source provides for longer leave, the postdoc is entitled to it.

SICK LEAVE
  No Union: No guaranteed sick leave.

Union: Contractually-guaranteed sick leave.

No Union: No sick leave; TAs often had to find someone to cover their classes when sick.

Union: Up to seven days sick leave without loss of pay.

 
TIME OFF
No Union: Time off on holidays or for vacation at the discretion of the department or PI, with requests often denied or ignored.

Union: Time off on holidays or for vacation at the discretion of the department or PI, with requests often denied or ignored. 

No Union: Time off on holidays or for vacation was at the discretion of the department or PI, with requests often denied or ignored.

Union: 4 weeks vacation time off with pay per 12-month appointment, (pro-rated).

No Union: No fixed amount of PTO. Maximum was 20 days but only at the PI’s discretion, and time off requests were frequently denied. One sick day per month; no roll over to new appointments. No guarantee of time off on UC holidays.

Union: 24 days PTO and 12 sick days available on the first day of appointment, and all 13 UC holidays. Sick days roll over to new UC appointments if unused.

APPOINTMENT/JOB SECURITY
Union: Appointment Security achieved. No Union: GA appointments could be withdrawn after being offered.

Union: Contractually-guaranteed appointment security. Once a GA accepts an appointment, the University must honor it at the level of pay and benefits offered. 

No Union: No guaranteed appointment length and appointments could be withdrawn after being offered.

Union: No guaranteed appointment length and appointments could be withdrawn after being offered. 50% FTE appointments must be for at least one academic year, when funding is available.

No Union: No minimum appointment length.

Union: Postdocs must be appointed for at least one year; many are appointed longer.

No Union: No job security; unpredictable, last-minute appointments.

Union: After teaching 2 of 3 semesters in three consecutive academic years, good faith consideration to reappointment and after six semesters firm reappointment rights and payments equal to the lost earnings if they were not reappointed to any and all teaching appointments.

DISPUTE & RESOLUTION
Union: Won grievable non-discrimination protections. No Union: No neutral, fair dispute resolution process.

Union: All disputes are resolvable by a fair and expedient grievance procedure and, ultimately, appeal to a neutral arbitrator.

No Union: Instances of discrimination/harassment handled through UW offices or state/federal agencies.

Union: We have strong protections against institutionalized discrimination.

No Union:No neutral, fair dispute resolution process. The only neutral recourse for discrimination or harassment claims was through costly and time- consuming state and federal agencies.

Union: All workplace disputes (including discrimination/harassment) are resolvable by a fair and expedient grievance procedure and, ultimately, appeal to a neutral arbitrator. State and federal agencies can also be utilized for discrimination/harassment claims.

No Union: No neutral, fair dispute resolution process. The only neutral recourse for discrimination or harassment claims was through costly and time- consuming state and federal agencies.


Union: 
All workplace disputes (including discrimination/harassment) are resolvable by a fair and expedient grievance procedure and, ultimately, appeal to a neutral arbitrator. State and federal agencies can also be utilized for discrimination / harassment
claims.

WORKLOAD PROTECTIONS
Union: Workload protection achieved. No Union: No guaranteed recourse for excess workload.

Union:Contractual access to workload relief or extra pay.

No Union: No recourse for assignments that required 50% graduate assistants to work more than 20 hrs per week.

Union: 50% FTE appointments may receive relief or additional pay if assignment requires more than 220 hours of work (average of 20 per week) within a quarter.

No Union: There were no limits on the number of hours or days that a PI could demand that postdocs work.

Union: PIs can only require postdocs to work what’s reasonably necessary to complete the project.

 

DISCIPLINE & DISMISSAL
Union: Just-cause standard for discipline and discharge established; grievance and arbitration procedure established. No Union: Graduate assistants could be disciplined or dismissed arbitrarily or “at will” at any time.

Union: UConn must prove “just cause ” in order to discipline or dismiss graduate assistants.

No Union: ASEs could be disciplined or dismissed arbitrarily or “at will” at any time.

Union: UW must prove “just cause” in order to discipline or dismiss ASEs.

No Union: Postdocs could be disciplined or dismissed arbitrarily, or “at will.” UC could lay off postdocs at any time and for no reason with no notice or compensation.

Union: UC must prove “just cause” in order to discipline or dismiss postdocs. Layoffs require very specific conditions and postdocs must receive at least 30 days  notice and pay before being laid off.

HEALTH & SAFETY
Union: Health and Safety committee formed; regular labor management meetings established No Union: UConn unilaterally set and enforced health and safety standards.

Union: GAs have contractual rights to a safe and healthy work environment.

No Union: UW unilaterally set and enforced health and safety standards. Some ASEs did not receive the proper training or equipment when requested.

Union: ASEs have the right to health and safety training and to proper safety equipment, and cannot be required to perform a hazardous assignment

No Union: UC unilaterally set and enforced health and safety standards. Some postdocs did not receive the proper health and safety training or equipment when requested.

Union: Postdocs have the right to health and safety training, to the proper safety equipment, to refuse a hazardous assignment until it has been remedied or determined to be safe, and to access safe operating procedures and legally-required safety records for chemicals, substances and equipment.

No Union: NYU unilaterally set and enforced any health and safety policies that would apply to adjunct/part-time faculty.

Union: NYU contractually-obligated to maintain safe working conditions and to meet twice yearly

with Union to discuss matters relating to health and safety.

 

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS’ RIGHTS
No Union: No unified GA voice in state or national policy making.

Union: Helped make theparticular concerns of international student workers a priority in efforts to securecomprehensive immigration reform.

No Union: No unified ASE voice in state or national policy making.

Union: Passed the Washington DREAM Act; stopped the state from imposing an additional surcharge on international student tuition; won full waiver of the International Student Fee for 50% ASEs.

No Union: No protection against university delays in visa processing.

Union: Postdocs must be compensated for any losses suffered due to delays in work authorization processing that are UC’s responsibility.