UF trustees sign off on raise for grad assistants

Published: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 at 5:23 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 at 5:23 p.m.

The 4,000-plus graduate assistants who work at the University of Florida will get a 4.4 percent raise on top of a 10 percent increase in their minimum stipend starting Oct. 1, under a contract approved unanimously Tuesday by the University of Florida board of trustees.

"I'm very heartened to be able to do this," board Chairman David Brown said.

The new pay scale and raise will increase the graduate assistant payroll by $3.6 million over a salary base of $72 million.

Under the agreement, a half-time graduate assistant on a 9-month contract currently earning $10,000 would see a pay increase to $11,484, a nearly 15 percent hike, for someone making the minimum. About 544 graduate employees will be affected by the minimum stipend increase.

Provost Joe Glover said the agreement was reached after considerable bargaining.

The increase brings graduate assistants at UF close to parity with their peer institutions, said Kelsey Antle, co-president of the graduate student union. Ensuring graduate assistants are paid adequately is important because they teach at least a third of all classes, Antle said. Twenty-four percent of grad students earn below the poverty level, she said.

The contract still must be ratified by the graduate assistant union membership.

In January, the union successfully negotiated family medical leave. A person with a child or seriously ill family member can take up to six weeks of unpaid leave without losing their assistantship, tuition waiver and health insurance.

The union is still working on changing the mandatory fees that grad assistants must pay as a condition of employment, Antle said. That is expected to be the focus of next year's negotiations. Those fees have risen 95 percent since 2005, and are now at $702 a semester or $1,400 for two semesters.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top