Understand It

This is a summary of some of the central points of the agreement between NYU and GSOC/UAW Local 2110 (“the contract”) that affect graduate student workers.


Download a full version of the contract here.

Who is included in the contract?

Around 2,500 workers at the Washington Square Campus and the Polytechnic School of Engineering are covered by the contract. Who is included in the bargaining unit was negotiated when NYU recognized the union (Article I).

The following graduate student workers are in the bargaining unit:

  • Graduate students (Master’s Ph.D) who teach (TA/adjunct positions)
  • Ph.D. Research assistants (with some exceptions, Article XVIID)
  • Graduate assistants
  • Course assistants
  • Graduate students holding a range of miscellaneous positions, who are employed by NYU

These graduate student workers are currently not in the bargaining unit, and are therefore not covered by the contract:

  • Graders/Tutors.
  • Graduate assistants at the School of Medicine.
  • Candidates for the Master of Business Administration degree at Stern.
  • Research assistants at Polytechnic Institute.
  • Research assistants in the Biology, Chemistry, Neural Science, Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science and GSAS Psychology departments.
  • Guards and supervisors as defined in the National Labor Relations Act.
  • Graduate employee adjuncts enrolled in Ph.D. programs beyond the 7th year.


Please see contract for further information about work conditions, travel expenses, holidays/vacation & leaves of absence (Articles VIII, IX, XI, XIIA and XIID respectively).

Job postings

  • Departments who usually employ their own students must have a system where all graduates who are eligible to apply can find and apply for the available positions.
  • Departments or Programs who customarily employ non-departmental graduate workers must post employment opportunities University-wide (online) (Article XVI).

Appointment letters

  • Should be received by the graduate employee at least 10 business days after appointment starts and should minimally state pay, duration and average expected hours per week. The appointment letter should include brief information about the union and a union membership card (Article IVA).

Cancelled classes/positions

  • If a class/position specified in an appointment letter gets cancelled, the University must assign the worker to a comparable position for the duration of the appointment if they’ve already received an appointment letter about that position.

Salaries and pay increases

  • Teaching duties (instructor of record/recitations/lab sections) are compensated per contact hour at no less than the rates for the UAW Local 7902 – the Adjunct Faculty Union (Article XVIIA).
  • Eligible Ph.D. Research assistants working through the year will accrue an annual salary of $26,200 (2015-2016), with 2.25%-2.5% increase per year until 2019 (Article XVIID).
  • Other duties are compensated at a rate no less than $15 per hour starting September 1, 2015, with yearly increases until 2019 up to $20 per hour (Article XVIIB). As for September 1 2016, it will be $16/hour.
  • Fully funded Graduate employees who work for more than the minimum wage will get percentage increases every year (2.25%-2.5% of total compensation, unless announced increases in stipends or salaries exceeds this – see contract appendix). This minimum pay rate is calculated based on a 20h/week commitment (Article XVIIE).
  • No graduate student employee will receive a lower salary/less benefits because of the contract (Article IVG).

Job training

  • Fees/tuition for any required training/coursework for an appointment (including ESL language training) should be waived (Article IVF).
  • Graduate employees will receive $150 a day for any required pre-semester training/organizational session (Article VIIIC).


Fees for doctoral student employees

  • Doctoral students who hold a union position will have maintenance of matriculation and related fees waived.


Health insurance

  • If not already covered through their appointment, graduate employees will be able to buy the NYU Basic Plan health insurance for 10% at the applicable rate (Article XVIIIB).
  • If you already get GSHIP insurance for free with your funding package, then you will be able to purchase the same insurance package for your dependents at the cost of the Basic plan (when you are a worker).
  • If you work in J term you are eligible for all Spring/Summer
    If you work in the first 10 weeks of Spring semester you are eligible for Spring/Summer
    If you work in the first 12 weeks of Spring semester and also 4 weeks into Summer, you are eligible for Spring/Summer
    If you work in the Summer, you get just the Summer portion.

Dental care

  • Graduate employees will be covered by the Stu-Dent Plan for NYU students at no cost starting September 1st, 2015 (Article XVIIIC). All they have to do is show up/make an appointment. No enrollment is required.

Employee assistant program

Dependent health care funds for doctoral candidate employees

  • A fund starting at $150,000 will be established Fall 2015 and increase every year. A decision on how these funds will be available/distributed among the membership will be made during summer 2015 through discussions with NYU (Article XVIII).

Child care fund

  • Our childcare fund is distributed annually (per the calendar year) to support working parents and guardians of dependents under the age of 6. If you’ve or will work a union job in 2016 and are part of a family with children under 6, save your receipts! You can check out how the application works here.


If the conditions of the contract are not met, there is an arbitration procedure described in our agreement with NYU that we need to follow (Article XX).


  • Contact the union stewards as soon as possible after you notice a grievance, since we must start the grievance procedure within 15 business days (not including Saturdays, Sundays and university holidays).
  • If the grievance process starts later than 15 days after the grievance happened, NYU has no obligation to respond to the grievance (though we can still try!).


  • The first step is always to informally discuss the grievance with the appropriate faculty member or administrator in the department/unit. The graduate worker can do this by themselves, or ask a Union representative to come with them. If the grievance is not adjusted within ten days to the worker’s satisfaction, the Union will help to appeal the grievance further.
  • If the grievance involves more than one student worker, the Union can start a collective grievance procedure. Please see the contract for details, or contact us, if you have questions!

For information about non-discrimination, sexual abuse, and termination, see Articles XIVB,C.

For information about union leadership and structure, click here (Article IVHa,b; Article XIII; Article VA; Article XIIF).