Graduate Assistants represent an extremely valuable workforce for Universities. We cost less than tenured faculty, specialized faculty, and even adjuncts, and yet we teach the same classes, do the same research, and perform much of the same labor throughout the University. We're also a source of income; although most of us earn tuition waivers as a benefit of employment, we still pay fees and represent a source of state funding as students.
Since unionizing, we have made it clear that it is unacceptable to expect GAs to work long hours for inadequate compensation. Many of us know that, although our appointment letters might say we only work 20 hours a week, we usually put in much, much more than that for the sake of our students and our departments. We're taught to view academia as a calling, and to accept these conditions as part of the climate of the profession.
But that climate was established by tenured faculty with far better job prospects and far better compensation than many of us can hope for. We must not forget that the work we do is labor, and that the University cannot continue to endorse an unspoken policy of unpaid overtime for the sake of keeping down its costs. If we're only paid for 20 hours of work, then we should only be assigned 20 hours' worth of work.
- We believe in fair workloads for all GAs.
- We will continue to strengthen provisions in our contract to put the burden of assigning fair work on our employers.
- We will continue to educate FSU administrators about the very real working conditions that often exploit the inexperience and vulnerability of the GA workforce.
Many of us love what we do, but that doesn't change the fact that we deserve fair pay and reasonable hours. A labor of love is still labor.