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Teaching Assistants/Graduate Assistants Rights/Benefits

The agreement between Rutgers University and the AAUP-AFT for teaching/graduate assistants guarantees the rights listed below. TAs and GAs are members of the full-time bargaining unit, which includes the tenured, tenure-track, and non-tenure-track full-time faculty.

The key provisions for Teaching Assistants and Graduate Assistants of the contract that is now in force covering the period for September 1, 2014 through June 30, 2018 are the following as related to salaries and health insurance.

TA/GA Salaries

We consciously sought to do something different. Under current state health care law, TA/GAs are vulnerable to increased health care costs immediately upon receiving a salary increase. We sought bonus payments in lieu of increases but ended with provisions for a Professional Development Fund that will provide research and travel funds and summer support for TA/GA members. The fund will have $525,000 in the current year with an increase in each subsequent year of $100,000. Unused funds in a given year will carry over into the following year. Current TA/GA salaries, now fixed for everyone, will become minimum salaries, allowing departments and individuals to agree upon higher salaries where appropriate.

TA-GA Professional Development Fund: More information

Health Insurance Benefits

Protects members for the life of the contract from any legislated changes to the premium sharing rates currently in effect. So a higher rate than 35% could not be imposed on our members in the middle of the contract period.

All other Articles and Sections referenced below are in the current 2014-2018 contract. Go to this document page to download the PDF of the current Agreement.

  • Academic freedom: the rights associated with the principles of academic freedom [Article II and Rutgers University Policy 60.5.1]
  • Non-discrimination: the right to work in an environment free of discrimination and harassment [Articles IV and IX]
  • Salary: the right to a set salary [Article VIII]
  • Health benefits under the New Jersey State Health Benefits Plan for full-time TAs and GAs and an alternative plan for half time TAs (contract discourages use of half time TAs) [Article VIII, Part Four]
  • Appeal/grievance procedures to address non-reappointment of TAs/GAs and excessive workload [Article XII]
  • Workload cap of no more than 15 hours per week on average; TAs and GAs should keep track of work done to monitor and produce evidence if required to work longer hours on a regular basis [Article XII.C]
  • Time off for health reasons is a right [Article XVI]
  • 6 weeks or longer of paid recuperative leave for birth-mother; eligibility for an additional 8 weeks for parental release time for a total of up to 14 weeks (one semester) of time off for birth-mother but parental leave is also available to any parent, regardless of gender, for bonding with child, adopted or new-born. Read the guidelines for TA-GA use of these paid family leaves.
  • Leave of absence without pay for birth/adoption, or a serious health condition of employee or family member in accordance with State of NJ Family Leave Act and extension of term appointments [Article XVI, Section B]
  • Modifications of assignments due to parental or familial circumstances: Chairs and deans will work with employee to work out reasonable modifications [Article XVI.E]
  • Personnel File Access: the right to review and copy official personnel file and to add material to that file [Article XVIII]
  • Pre-tax payroll deduction for parking fees; sliding scale for parking fee based on salary [Article XIX.D.3]
  • Educational Assistance Program for full time Teaching and Graduate Assistants [Article XIX.E]
  • Health and safety protections: employees will not be required to work under conditions that pose a danger to health and safety [Article XIX.E] 
  • Written notice of employment status to TAs/GAs for coming year [Article XII.B]; contract letters that detail important information regarding the appointment [link to Art XII
  • Paid vacation: Graduate student employees who have a 12-month appointment (calendar year) are entitled to paid vacation days equivalent to one month (not including weekends)



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