What does the union contract do for me?
Our union contract applies to most academic student workers—GSIs, tutors and readers–and covers work conditions such as tuition remission, the number of hours a week we can be asked to work at a certain appointment level, the amount of notice we should be given for an appointment, prohibition of discrimination against a grad student on the basis of race, gender, sexuality, etc., provisions for childcare reimbursement, and so on. The full contract is here: http://www.uaw2865.org/about/current-uaw-contract/.
For a complete list of the rights included in the union contract click here to read the Berkeley – Know Your Rights Flyer (updated July 2014).
Who can join the union?
Any graduate student at UC Berkeley can join the union, and undergraduate tutors and readers can join as well. If you are a GSI, reader or tutor you are automatically covered under the UAW contract. Unfortunately, our union does not represent GSRs at this time.
How is the union structured?
Regular members, or “rank-and-file” members, are the driving force behind our union. Stewards are volunteer representatives from each department who work to organize departmental activities, such as orientations and happy hours. Head Stewards, the Unit Chair and the Recording Secretary are elected positions responsible for directing union work on each campus.
Image created by Micki McCoy.
What is a grievance?
If you are a GSI, reader or tutor, whether or not you are a union member you can file a grievance with the union. So, for example, if your department offers you a position and then rescinds it at the last minute, that would be grounds for a grievance. If you are hired for a position where you are required to work 30 hours rather than your allotted 20, you can file a grievance. Contact us directly to discreetly discuss any issues you’re having in you workplace!
What’s the deal with dues and fees?
The dues are minimal compared to the benefits! You only pay while you work under the contract (so if you are on fellowship for a semester then GSI a semester, you only pay during the semester you GSI). Whether or not you become a member, when you work under the contract 1.07% of your paycheck goes to union fees. If you become a member you pay slightly more (.37% more) but you have a say in important decision-making. Altogether, union fees and dues come out to about $5 a month, the cost of a fancy latte. Also, when you start to work, there’s also a one time $10 initiation fee. However, we just won a 5% wage increase for this year, compared to only 2% in the last contract, which more than covers what you pay each month.
I still have questions.
Take a look at this Introduction to Union Pamphlet – (updated July 2014).
Or, contact us.