Over the last two years, we have been working closely with the graduate school and fellow graduate employee unions across the country to identify ways to improve our contract to support clear communication of our responsibilities as workers. On October 22nd, we had the opportunity to present all of our hard work at the bargaining table and advocate for our need for far clearer job descriptions, timely notification regarding whether or not our contract will be renewed for the next academic year, and even better, to strongly demonstrate our support for multiyear contracts.
We believe that all Grad Assistants should have a clear sense of what their job duties are, who they should report to, and what their expectations are so they can be successful in their assistantship. At the moment, many of us receive a missing, blank, or “to be determined” job description addendum when we receive our offer letters. (Did you receive a 3rd page for your offer letter? What did it say? We’d like to hear about it!) with our offer letters. How can you be evaluated on your performance as a GA if you don’t know what you are expected to do? Clearly articulated job descriptions, in writing, would be beneficial both to us and our supervisors.
Offer Letter Deadlines
Offer letters should be provided by a reasonable deadline, whenever possible, so we can plan our next academic year accordingly. No one should have to wait until the last minute to know whether or not they are going to be employed for the following semester. Timely notification allows us to plan accordingly.
We would also like to give our explicit endorsement for departments to offer contracts that last more than one academic year, so long as your description of duties are updated to reflect your current semester’s assistantship.
We look forward to the administration’s counterproposal to clarify funding and terminology as our initial proposal was received with interest and support.