Details of the university’s last offer to its graduate student union, including a commitment to put details of a financial hardship fund into the labor contract, are being made available to the university community.
On the final day of mediation Monday, Dec. 1, the university submitted two options for consideration by the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation. Both reflected the university’s pledge to make the hardship fund a permanent and continuing benefit to all graduate students.
The university offered to put one of the following two options into the labor agreement itself (follow links for proposal language):
- Option 1: A financial hardship fund of $100,000 per year and minimum salary increases of 5% (Year 1) and 5% (Year 2); or,
- Option 2: A financial hardship fund of $150,000 per year and minimum salary increases of 5% (Year 1) and 4% (Year 2).
The continuing financial hardship fund was proposed by the university to provide additional support to graduate students in times of family medical need or the birth or adoption of a child. The benefit would be available to all graduate students, including those not in the union.
The university proposed putting language directly into the collective bargaining agreement, guaranteeing the existence and amount of the new fund. The fund would be administered through the Graduate School by a committee that would include two graduate students, one of whom would be an appointee of the GTFF.
The financial hardship fund would permit graduate students to apply for grants of up to $1,000 for medical emergencies and $1,500 for financial support related to the birth or adoption of a child. Loss of income related to the medical or family situation would be considered for qualification.
The proposed hardship fund is the latest addition to the university’s offer, which also includes:
- Pay increases over two years which, once fully implemented, salaries per hour would be at least $20.69 for level 1; $23.38 for level 2; and $24.69 for level 3 GTFs;
- Full tuition waivers;
- Significantly reduced fees (a GTF pays only $61 per term);
- Full health, vision and dental coverage for all GTFs, their partners and children, with the university paying 95 percent of the premium; and
- Two weeks of guaranteed flex time for GTFs with a qualifying family or medical need, with the potential to take more time away and make up any missed work over three to nine months, depending on their individual situation.
The university's full contract offer is available here.
―By Greg Bolt, Public Affairs Communications