We’ve heard questions from many grad workers about your first paycheck in March, when the university had to begin paying an increase in the TA/GA minimum salary. After investigating the issue, we think the university made the correct calculations. But they managed to cause a lot of confusion along the way. We’ll try to unravel it for you.
First, a recap: The TA/GA minimum was frozen at the 2019–20 levels of $28,569 for academic-year appointments and $32,204 for calendar-year appointments when the administration declared a “fiscal emergency” in Spring 2020. Our unions’ fiscal emergency negotiations won back the increases, but on a deferred basis. The increase that was due on July 1, 2020 was paid on July 1, 2021 (September 1 for those on academic-year appointments), and the increase for July 1, 2021, went into effect on March 1, 2022.
Confusingly, your paystub doesn’t show the new annual salary set in our contract. This is because payroll decided to show you the actual amount you will get from September 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022 (or July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022 for calendar-year appointments). For academic-year appointments getting the minimum, the overall total of $29,724.40 reflects the roughly 60 percent of the year when you were paid the previous minimum and the roughly 40 percent of the year that you will be paid the new minimum. (We won’t go through the numbers for calendar-year appointments, but your paystub likewise shows your overall salary from two different minimums.)
To make matters even more confusing, our biweekly pay since March 1 has been calculated on the basis of this $29,724 salary (again, for academic-year appointments), rather than the full amount of our salary under our contract and the fiscal emergency agreement. If this was all you received, you would have been shortchanged by the end of the year. The mysterious second check for around $167, which you likely received on March 4, should make up the difference.
If you didn’t receive the second check or if you see any other problems with your pay, contact us at email@example.com, and we’ll contact the administration about your case. We also encourage you to contact University Human Resources and demand a clear explanation of payroll’s baffling decisions. But we think we’ve confirmed that payroll has not shortchanged anyone from getting the increase for TA/GAs.
When the administration declared a “fiscal emergency,” they wanted to cancel our increases for good. Because we organized, we won those raises back, though not retroactively. If management had its way, you’d still be getting a minimum salary of $28,569. Because we signed the fiscal emergency agreement, your pay is $1,593 per year higher.
Alex Adams, Vice President for Grad Workers
Dylan Simpson, Grad Worker Steering Committee
Emmet von Stackelberg, Grad Worker Steering Committee
Mich Ling, Grad Worker Steering Committee