If you are an academic student employee at UCSB, you sign a contract that spells out the terms of your employment. Periodically, some major parts of this contract undergo revisions when the university negotiates with labor unions such as UAW 2865, which is the union that represents over 13,000 student-workers across the University of California system. The UC employment contract was updated and ratified on June 21, 2014, and included changes that directly affect many graduate students. This new contract will be in effect until June 30, 2018.
Read below for answers to some frequently asked questions.
Q: Which graduate students are affected by the contract changes?
All Academic Student Employees (ASEs) in the UC system, including Teaching Assistants, Associates, Readers, and both undergraduate and graduate tutors.
Q: Which parts of the contract affect me most as a graduate student?
Wages. Wages will increase 5% during the 2014-2015 school year, and will continue to increase each year through 2018 (though by a smaller percentage).
Appointment Notification and Appointment Security. Once an employment offer is received by an ASE, it is guaranteed. The offer should be accompanied by (1) an appointment notification letter, which states the dates hired for, number of hours, and what the pay and benefits are; and (2) a supplemental documentation checklist that details which course the ASE is assigned to and what the specific duties are. If an appointment is canceled, the university either has to reassign the ASE or pay him/her anyway.
Fee Remission. A graduate student who works at least 10 hours a week (a 25% appointment or higher) as a TA, Reader, or Tutor will be granted full remission of in-state tuition, registration fees, and health care premiums. The University has agreed to maintain the status quo with respect to providing an additional $408 per year, and more specifically $136 per quarter, of non-resident supplemental tuition remission as part of the graduate student partial fee remission benefit for qualifying students. Students who have earned partial fee remission as an ASE and have been assessed non-resident supplemental tuition in the same quarter will be provided the $136 credit.
Workload. ASEs are entitled to wages for all duties related to the appointment, including reading the course material, attending lectures, preparing for discussion, attending required training classes, and answering student emails. ASEs cannot be asked to work more hours than they are being paid for. For a TA working at 50%, this means working no more than 220 total hours during the quarter, 40 hours in any given week, or 8 hours in one day.
Child Care Reimbursement. Any ASE working at 25% time or more is entitled to a $900 (up from $600) per quarter child care reimbursement for children up to the age of 12. This subsidy is also available for summer session. To find out more about this reimbursement, click here.
Pregnancy and Childbirth Leave. A salaried ASE shall be eligible to receive up to 6 weeks (increased from 4 weeks) of paid leave for pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions for the period prior to, during, and after childbirth. ASEs are also eligible for up to four months of unpaid pregnancy disability leave, not to exceed the end date of the ASE appointment. This runs concurrently with paid pregnancy leave. An ASE on approved long-term leave is entitled to partial fee remission and student health insurance as long as they remain otherwise eligible for this benefit of employment. Only women are eligible for this type of leave.
Newborn/New Child Bonding Leave . A salaried ASE shall be eligible to receive up to 4 weeks of paid leave to care for and bond with the ASE’s newborn child or a child placed with the ASE for adoption or foster care, provided that the leave is taken within 12 months of the birth or placement of the child with the ASE. An ASE may be approved for up to two additional weeks of unpaid leave for baby bonding. Both men and women are eligible for this leave.
Sick Leave. Salaried ASEs employed at 50% time are entitled to two paid sick days per quarter. This leave may also be used to care for a family member. Any salaried ASE is eligible to receive up to 4 weeks of paid leave due to a serious health condition or to care for a family member who has a serious health condition. An additional 2 weeks of unpaid leave may be approved for a serious health condition.
Non-Discrimination Improvements. Appointment letters must now include a statement about all-gender restroom access. ASEs are guaranteed access to all-gender and ADA-compliant restrooms within accessible proximity to their workplace. If a restroom is not available, ASEs may contact the Union to fill out a request form. For a list of UCSB's gender-neutral bathrooms, click here.
Lactation Support. An ASE must be allowed time, though not during classroom time, for the purpose of expressing breast milk. ASEs shall have access to designated spaces for the primary purpose of expressing breast milk. If no such space exists in reasonable proximity to an ASE’s work location, the department/hiring unit will designate an appropriate temporary space for the purpose of expressing and storing breast milk. For more information on UCSB's Breastfeeding Support Program and to locate a lactation room on campus, click here.
Q: Where can I read the full contract?
The full revised contract may be accessed here.
Q: Who can I contact if I have more questions?
Please contact the hiring supervisor or graduate program assistant in your department with further questions.