Benefits Awarded through Collective Barganing

We're providing this list of benefits awarded through collective bargaining to give people an idea of what graduate student unions at other universities have achieved through collective bargaining. People should not expect to get everything included here - this is just a list of highlights and best-case scenarios. It should provide insight into what a union could potentially do for graduate employees at Tufts.


  • Since 2001, increases bringing the fully funded stipend up to $36,000 (NYU)
  • Yearly cost of living increases (UCONN)
  • 17% stipend increases for all graduate student employees over the four year agreement (University of California system)
  • Increasing compensation for pre-masters, post-masters, and candidate status (University of Washington)
  • Option to be paid on a 12-month schedule (Southern Illinois University Carbondale)
  • 19% increase of minimum stipend levels (Michigan State)
  • Provisions that allow graduate workers to work additional jobs outside the university if they choose to (Florida State University).
  • Minimum wage for any hourly positions held by graduate student employees is $21.99 dollars per hour. (UMass Amherst)
  • 3.5% annual stipend increases for all graduate student employees (UMass Amherst)
  • Merit based raises in keeping with faculty raises and protections against any salary
    decreases, plus minimum salary increases of $500 per year, regardless of merit increase. (University of Kansas, Lawrence)


  • Full dental and vision coverage (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign)
  • Waivers for all fees (Michigan State)
  • Free Parking (Western Michigan)
  • Subsidized public transit passes (University of Washington)
  • Millions ($) set aside in a professional development fund for graduate student employees (Rutgers)
  • Contractual protections for all previously existing benefits and fee waivers. (UMass Lowell)
  • Subsidized health insurance for spouse and dependent(s). (University of Iowa)
  • Reimbursement of SEVIS and/or visa fees, up to $360. (Oregon State)
  • Information and assistance with tax information. (University of Illinois, Urbana- Champaign)
  • Up to 10-weeks unpaid leave for Emergency Family Leave. (UMass Amherst)

Workload and Flexibility

  • Graduate assistants should average 20 hours of covered work a week. Cannot be required to work more than 30 hours a week, although a grad worker may choose to as often as they please. (University of Washington).
  • Guaranteed time off for TAs and RAs in winter & summer break (UMass Lowell)
  • Expected hours of work clearly defined at outset of appointment and the departmental chair shall review assignments for consistency of workload expectations. If it is found that a graduate student employee’s assignment is more hours than it should be, they will be compensated more. (University of Iowa)

Childcare and Parental Leave

  • $80,000 childcare fund (UCONN)
  • $157,500 childcare fund (UW Madison)
  • 6 weeks of paid medical/parental leave (Florida State University).
  • Access to lactation space (University of Washington).
  • Up to 6-weeks paid and 6-weeks unpaid parental leave. (University of California system
  • $1350 per semester for child care for graduate students with a child under 12-years old. (University of California system)
  • Sick time and flex time available for parental and family leave. (Oregon State)
  • Up to 2 months paid medical leave. (Michigan State University)
  • Up to 6-weeks paid parental leave for childbirth or adoption and up to 6-months unpaid maternity leave. (University of Rhode Island)
  • Up to 12-weeks unpaid family/medical leave with continued health insurance coverage. (University of Oregon)

Grievance and Arbitration

  • Comprehensive grievance procedure to resolve disputes and remedy contract violations. In the case that an agreement can not be reached, option for binding arbitration (all contracts). University of Montana.

Equity, Inclusion, and Increased Voice on Campus

  • Creation of all-gender bathrooms (UMASS).
  • Joint university/grad student committee for recruiting, retaining, and encouraging the professional development of graduate students from underrepresented identities.
  • Creation of a task force to examine low-income housing opportunities for graduate students (New York State University System).
  • Graduate student representatives meet with the Office of Access and Equity to provide input on sexual harassment and discrimination policies (Illinois State University Chicago).
  • Any department-wide changes must be discussed with affected graduate student employees. (UMass Boston)
  • Regular meetings to discuss specific training programs, content of programs offered or programs to be considered for development so union members can provide input and suggestions to University Community members with relevant expertise. (Michigan State University)
  • Regular meetings with Dean of Graduate School and other administrators to discuss issues. (Michigan State University)
  • Annual meetings with union representatives and President or his/her designee to discuss outstanding issues. (University of Rhode Island)

Academic Freedom and Intellectual Property

  • Protects current copyright and patent policies (Florida State University).
  • Comprehensive academic freedom standards and protections (University of Southern Illinois Carbondale).
  • Creation of a labor-management committee to examine and ensure equal academic and professional development increases for non-DACA qualified undocumented graduate students as compared to their documented peers. (University of California system)
  • Labor-management committee created to track the ways student-teacher ratios affect the quality of UC education. (University of California system)
  • Joint grad student and administration committee created for the purpose of examining intellectual property rights for grad student employees. (UMass Boston)
  • Protections on the right to outside employment (Michigan State University)

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