Understand our contract

This page provides a summary of our contract with NYU. Read below to understand your rights and benefits as a graduate student worker.

For further details, see the full contract. Email us at gsoc@2110uaw.org if you have any questions!

Jump to: Eligibility; Work; Health Care, Dental, Wellness and Dependents; Grievance and Arbitration Procedures; Equity and Inclusion; or Tuition and Fees.


Around 4,000 workers at the Washington Square campus and the Tandon School of Engineering are covered by the contract. Who is included in the bargaining unit was negotiated when we won recognition of our union by NYU (Article I).

The following graduate student workers are included in the bargaining unit:

  • Graduate students who teach (TA/adjunct positions)
  • PhD research assistants (with some exceptions, see Article XVIID)
  • Graduate assistants
  • Course assistants
  • Hourly workers (e.g. department assistants, library workers, etc.)

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 Tandon
  • 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 PhD programs beyond the 7th year (covered by ACT-UAW Local 7902)


See our contract for further information about work conditions, travel expenses, holidays/vacation and leaves of absence.

  • Ensuring all eligible graduates can find and apply for positions: 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.
  • Posting employment opportunities university-wide: Departments or programs who customarily employ non-departmental graduate workers must post employment opportunities University-wide (online) (Article XVI).
  • Letters should be received no later than the first day after the start of work: Letters should be received by the graduate employee beginning 21 days in advance of the first day of the semester, and no later than the first business day after the start of on-site responsibilities.
  • Letters should be detailed: Letters should include title of appointment, compensation, start and end dates, job responsibilities, expected number of hours per week, as well as other relevant terms and conditions as may be established by the Department or Program.
  • Letters should include union info: Letters should include the union welcome letter and a union membership card (Article IVA).
  • NYU must assign workers comparable positions if their classes or positions are cancelled: If a class/position specified in an appointment letter gets cancelled, NYU 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. If no position is available, NYU must pay the worker in full for the cancelled position.


  • Teaching compensation per contact hour: 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). In AY 2023–24, this rate is $206.99 per contact hour.
  • Graduate employee compensation: Graduate employees in hourly positions are compensated at a rate no less than $28.25 per hour as of September 1, 2023, with yearly increases reaching $30 per hour by 2025–26 (Article XVIIB).

Raises and increases:

  • Raises for Ph.D. research assistants: Eligible Ph.D. research assistants working through the year will have an initial raise beginning September 1 2020 of 5%, with 2.5% increases per year until 2025 (Article XVIID).
  • Increases for other graduate employee positions: Hourly graduate employees positions who are paid at rates above the minimum will receive the percentage increases set forth in the Appendix (see next bullet point).
  • Increases for graduate employees in teaching positions: Fully funded graduate employees employed in teaching positions will receive the following percentage increases to the combined total of their stipend(s) and teaching pay: 2020–21: 3%, 2021–22: 3%, 2022–23: 2.75%, 2023–24: 2.75%, 2024–25: 3%, 2025–26: 3%.  NYU may announce increases in stipends and/or salaries that exceed these rates  (see contract Appendix). 

No salary reductions:

  • No salary or benefit reductions because of contract: No graduate student employee will have their salary or benefits reduced because of the contract (Article IVG).
  • No fees for training for an appointment: Fees/tuition for any required training/coursework for an appointment (including ESL language training) should be waived (Article IVF).
  • $150/day for required pre-semester training: Graduate employees will receive $150 a day for any required pre-semester training/organizational session (Article VIIIC).
  • Service bonuses for semesterly appointments: Graduate employees who hold a union-eligible, semester-based position will receive a service bonus for each academic semester worked after meeting the one-semester bargaining unit eligibility requirement. The service bonus is 7% of the total amount earned by the graduate employee in the semester just completed and will be paid after the completion of the semester, in lieu of vacation.
  • Vacation or service bonus for non-semesterly appointments: Hourly graduate employees whose appointments are not semester-based and are hourly appointments will accrue one (1) vacation day for every four (4) consecutive weeks worked. Any accrued vacation days not used by the end of the graduate employee’s appointment shall be paid after the appointment end date. A “vacation day” equals 5% of the hours worked in each four (4) week period.
  • No unreasonable denials of paid leave: NYU cannot unreasonably deny requests for paid leave of reasonable duration due to a graduate employee’s illness or spouse’s or child’s illness, religious observance, or for bereavement due to the death of a parent, child, spouse, domestic partner, sibling, or grandparent.
    • For illness,  “reasonable duration” in the case of any illness is not less than 7 days in any academic year, and for bereavement, up to 3 days in an academic year. Reasonable documentation may be required for an absence exceeding 3 days. Illness leave may also be used for “safe leave” as defined by applicable law.
  • 3 paid personal days per year: Graduate employees receive 3 paid personal days in an academic year (which can be used for religious observance or other matters, such as visa/immigration proceedings).
  • Eligibility for parental leave: Graduate employees who have worked in a union position for at least one semester are eligible for parental leave. Parental leave consists of up to 6 weeks of paid leave in a 12-month period at the employee’s regular weekly pay, and includes bonding as a parent with their newborn child, newly adopted child, or new foster care child. An eligible graduate employee must take parental leave within 12 months following the birth of their newborn child, or within 12 months of when a child is placed in their adoptive care, foster care, or legal custody.
    • Parental leave must be taken on a continuous basis and cannot be taken intermittently or on a reduced schedule.
  • Apply for parental leave: Applications for parental leave may be found here.

Health Care, Dental, Wellness and Dependents
  • Discounts on premiums and enrollment costs: If not already covered through their appointment, graduate employees will be able to buy the NYU Comprehensive or Basic Student Health Insurance Plans with a 95% discount of the applicable premium (enrollment) cost (Article XVIIIB).
  • Support for out-of-pocket healthcare costs: GSOC administers a Graduate Employee Health Insurance Support Fund totaling $300,000 for AY 2021–22 and increasing annually to $700,000 by 2025–2026.
    • Graduate employees may apply for reimbursement of any out-of-pocket medical expenses, including premiums, incurred under the Student Health Insurance Plan, as well as out-of-pocket dental care expenses incurred for services under the StuDent Plan.
  • Eligibility:
    • 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.
  • Free enrollment in Stu-Dent plan: Graduate employees will be covered by the Stu-Dent Plan for NYU students at no cost starting September 1st, 2015 (Article XVIIIC). All employees have to do is show up/make an appointment. No enrollment is required.
  • Support for out-of-pocket dental costs: GSOC administers a Graduate Employee Health Insurance Support Fund totaling $300,000 for AY 2021–22 and increasing annually to $700,000 by 2025–2026.
    • Graduate employees may apply for reimbursement of any out-of-pocket medical expenses, including out-of-pocket dental care expenses incurred for services under the StuDent Plan.

Access to Employee Assistance Program: Graduate employees have the same access to NYU’s Employee Assistance Program as other university employees (Article X).

Discounted enrollment of dependents in health insurance plans: Graduate employees (both Masters and Doctoral) will be eligible to enroll their dependents in either the Basic or Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans at up to a 90% discount on premium costs. The discounts will be paid through a fund of $200,000 in AY 2020–2021, rising to $250,000 in AY 2022–2023 and thereafter (Article XVIII).

  • Access to Childcare Fund: The union administers a childcare fund that increases annually, from $100,000 in 2020 to $325,000 by 2026. The fund is distributed annually (per the calendar year) to support working parents and guardians of dependents. You can check out how the application works here.
  • Family support benefits: Graduate employees have access to Bright Horizons Enhanced Family Supports benefits, which includes, but is not limited to, a free membership to baby-sitting service Sittercity.com, discounted kids’ coding classes, health and safety classes, and more.

Grievance and Arbitration Procedures

In the event of violations of our contract, we follow an arbitration procedure described in our agreement with NYU (Article XX).

  • Contact the union stewards as soon as possible after you notice a grievance. We must start the grievance procedure within 15 business days, except in cases of harassment or discrimination (not including Saturdays, Sundays and university holidays).
    • NYU has no obligation to respond to the grievance if the process to start the grievance begins 15 days after the grievance occurred (though we can still try!).
  • Beginning September 1, 2020, there is now no time limit to file a grievance related to harassment and discrimination.
  • Connect with department via GSOC-UAW rep: The first step is always to informally discuss the grievance with the appropriate faculty member or administrator in the department/unit. The graduate worker should do this with a GSOC-UAW representative. If the grievance is not addressed within 10 days to the worker’s satisfaction, we will help to appeal the grievance further.
  • Collective grievances: 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).

Equity and Inclusion
  • Compliance with affirmative action and equal employment policies: NYU commits to comply with its Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity policy statement.
  • Compliance with equal employment accommodations: NYU commits to comply with its reasonable accommodation statements found on the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity webpage.
  • Provision of disability accommodations: Upon request from a graduate worker with a disability, NYU must meet with the worker and provide reasonable accommodation, absent undue hardship, to enable the worker to perform the essential functions of their job, consistent with state, federal and local law as well as NYU policies.

Advisory committee on power-based harassment: NYU will convene an advisory committee made up of 2 GSOC representatives and 2 NYU representatives to discuss issues surrounding power-based harassment. The committee may make recommendations to NYU regarding addressing complaints about power-based harassment. The committee will meet up to 4 times an academic year at GSOC’s request.

Legal and tax expenses:

  • Fund to support legal and tax expenses: GSOC administers a fund to help international students with legal and accounting expenses. The fund increases annually, from $10,000 in 2021–22 to $20,000 by 2025–26.
  • Eligibility for enrollment in group legal plan: Effective September 2022, graduate employees will be eligible to enroll in the group legal plan offered to other NYU employees at the same rate, currently (as of September 2021) $16.50 per month.

Quality of life:

  • Improving quality of experience for international graduate employees: NYU will hold three (3) meetings in an academic year with representatives from GSOC, the Office of Global Services, University Human Resources, and the Wasserman Center to address improving the quality of the experience for international graduate employees.

ICE and CBP off campus:

  • No ICE or CBP on campus: NYU commits to the following policy:
  1. NYU shall comply with all applicable laws regarding the protection of the privacy of all members of the NYU community.
  2. NYU will not voluntarily provide information to governmental agencies that would enable them to target members of our community based on immigration status for the purpose of detention or deportation.
  3. NYU shall not voluntarily allow representatives of any governmental agency to enter NYU buildings without permission or legal process.
  4. NYU shall not voluntarily give permission to allow representatives of any governmental agency to enter NYU buildings for the purpose of targeting members of our community based on immigration status or for gathering information on them for the purpose of detention or deportation.

Convening a health and safety committee, with focus on presence of law enforcement and workplace safety: GSOC and NYU will convene the health and safety committee (see Article XIII.B) to discuss matters relating to health and safety in the workplace, specifically graduate employees’ concerns regarding the presence of law enforcement (NYPD) and graduate employee workplace safety. The committee will meet at least three (3) times on this subject, and will consist of five (5) representatives appointed by GSOC and NYU, respectively.

Tuition and Fees

Waiving of maintenance of matriculation and related fees: PhD students in union positions will have maintenance of matriculation and related fees waived. These fees sometimes appear as a “ghost class” which you pay for but do not attend.