FAQ for grad workers

See below for answers to questions that may be of interest to graduate workers. Email us if you have questions that aren’t answered below!

Graduate NYU workers recognized as part of the bargaining unit by New York University are covered by the contract:

  • Graduate students (Master’s/Ph.D.) who teach classes or have appointed teaching assistantships or laboratory assistantships (except Ph.D. student adjuncts beyond the 7th year and MBA candidates at Stern)
  • Research assistants (with exceptions at Poly and GSAS STEM departments)
  • Graduate & course assistants (with exception at the School of Medicine)
  • Graduate student workers in a range of miscellaneous positions, who are employed by NYU

To read about the exceptions, click here.

Download the full contract or read the boiled-down version here. Benefits include, among other things, 95% coverage of healthcare, StuDent dental coverage, yearly pay raises, substitution appointment if the class you are teaching gets cancelled, a dependent healthcare fund, and a childcare fund.

If you are part of the bargaining unit and covered by the contract, you should sign a union card under Article III of our contract.

By signing a card, you confirm your membership in GSOC/UAW Local 2110. We are the union together, and we are only as strong as our member ranks. More members enable us to better advocate for graduate worker interests and workplace rights! Becoming a member will also make you eligible to vote in union elections and issue ballots, shaping the priorities of our union.

By signing a card, you also authorize deduction of union dues from paychecks during the semesters you are employed in a union position. Even if you have not signed a card, you must pay the Agency Fee (equivalent to the dues and initiation fee) during the semesters you work in a union position. By signing a card, you also make that process easier for yourself and for the union!

There are currently three ways to get a card to sign and become a union member:

  1. Union stewards and staff will circulate cards in all departments.
  2. A union membership card should also be included in your letter of appointment (for all eligible graduate employee positions). Contact us if that is not the case!
  3. You can also download a card directly from Local 2110’s website and email it to Local2110@2110uaw.org.

Once you have initially signed and submitted a union card, it will be kept on file for any subsequent union positions you work. You do not need to resubmit your card.

If you are appointed to one of the positions included in the agreement, you are covered by the contract automatically. You cannot opt out. You could choose not to sign a card, but you MUST still pay an Agency Fee (equivalent to dues and initiation fees) as a condition of continued employment.

Dues are only paid/deducted the semesters you are working in a union position, even if you sign a card during a semester you are not working. Dues are deducted from your paycheck on applicable semesters, if you have signed a card.

If you have not signed a card yet, you must pay the Agency Fee (equivalent to cost of dues) no later than 31 days after you start working. Agency fee workers do not get voting rights in the union, although it will continue to represent them. Either way, you’ve got to pay, so why not sign a card?

Dues are 2% of total compensation during the semesters in which you are employed in a union position. Dues are deducted from every pay-check. This includes your wages from your union work and your NYU funding package. In addition to the dues, there is an initiation fee of up to $50 (it may be less, depending on your pay grade) when you first join the union.

Membership in the union helps you save money in the long run! Pay raises in our union contract stipulate at least 2.25% increase of total compensation per year, and many employees covered by the contract will also have fees waived–and 95% of their health insurance costs paid. No one will end up with less money in-pocket because of the contract!

Your union dues support our:

  • Operational costs: Dues are the Union’s sole source of revenue and pay for all operational costs including staff, legal costs, rent, equipment, etc.
  • Costs of organizing new workplaces: Our ten-year campaign to regain union rights cost a lot of money (around $6 million), and was funded by dues income from other UAW members. Our dues will go on to contribute to organizing other university workers and winning their labor rights.
  • Funds to support workers on strike: A portion of dues also goes to the UAW Strike & Defense Fund, which covers all UAW members in case they must during strike during contract negotiations.

Our contract provides a mechanism for addressing these workplace issues: the grievance procedure. If you think you might have something to grieve, contact a union steward immediately. Our contract requires grievances to be filed within 15 business days of the offense.

First steps: You can take the first step of an individual grievance—talking with the appropriate faculty member or administrator—on your own, but it’s best to discuss first with a union representative and ask them to come with you (as is your legal right). If it’s a wider problem that affects more than just you, a steward may recommend you join a group grievance to get the best outcome.

Learn more: You can read more about grievance procedure in Article XX of our contract. Keep in mind that 1) union representatives will aim to get you the best possible settlement for you at every step of the procedure; and 2) how far that procedure goes, from initial departmental conversations to formal arbitration, is a strategic decision that takes into consideration your input as a grievant alongside the strength of your case and the resources of the union.

Contact a steward, one of our committees, or the graduate student representatives! We’re here to help.

Feel free to stop by one of our meetings (typically the 3rd Tuesday of the month), fill out the organizing form, or contact one of the stewards to hear about getting involved. Start by following us on Instagram and Twitter, and signing up for our mailing list! We are the union, together!