Teaching Assistants just scored a major victory! Over two years ago, elected leaders of UAW 2865, the union of Academic Student Employees at UC, filed a grievance against the University for appointing hundreds of TAs/GSIs at UC-Berkeley – primarily undergraduates employed in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS) department – at below 25% FTE to avoid paying contractually-mandated tuition and fee remission and childcare benefits. 

Yesterday, an arbitrator ruled in UAW 2865’s favor – ordering the University to provide retroactive tuition and fee remissions to all affected TAs/GSIs and end the practice of denying remissions moving forward. The restitution from the University to aggrieved workers at UC-Berkeley will total in the millions and affect over 1,000 TA/GSIs.For example, a TA/GSI who was appointed at 20% FTE in Fall 2019 and did not receive tuition and fee remission will receive around $7,500 from the University to be made whole for that term. TA/GSI’s appointed below 25% have increased significantly at UC-Berkeley since 2015. This decision orders UCB to stop this practice. 

This victory underscores the importance of the union contract guaranteeing a fair process for resolving workplace issues, including the right to appeal to a neutral third-party arbitrator. Tuition and fee remission is one of the most important rights ASEs have won and defended over the years. It’s up to all of us to enforce these rights each term and advance the quality of education at UC. 

If you have been appointed as a UC-Berkeley TA/GSI at below 25% FTE at any time since Fall 2017, please fill out this form. If you are a TA currently employed under 25% FTE at a campus other than Berkeley, please get in touch with your campus unit. 

And if you are not yet a member, sign up here and join the majority of ASEs who are union members to win more rights and victories like this. 

Onward to more victories in 2020! In Solidarity, 
Nathan Kenshur
UC-Berkeley UAW 2865 Head Steward
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