I'M A GSR (GRADUATE STUDENT RESEARCHER) IN STEM. OUR STIPEND RATES EXCEED THOSE OF OTHER DEPARTMENTS. WILL A UNION LOWER MY STIPEND TO GIVE OTHER DEPARTMENTS A RAISE?
No graduate student union contract we’ve encountered raises the wages of some students while lowering others. Most set raises by an across the board percentage increase. In the University of California System’s contract, they bargained a 5% increase which applied to the minimum and maximum rate on the salary schedule for all job classifications, as well as to the individual salary rates of all employees.
In any case, contract negotiations start from the status quo, meaning in this context, ‘the existing state of affairs or circumstances.’
LET'S DO THE MATH ...
TOTAL OPERATING REVENUES = $2,169,662,000
TOTAL OPERATING EXPENSES = $2,083,999,000
BUDGET SURPLUS = $85,663,00
*According to the most recent audited financial statement (http://www.cfo.pitt.edu/documents/FY17AnnualReport.pdf FY 2017, p. 2)
Status Quo refers to the current working conditions of the entire body of graduate student employees. Your status quo is your current working conditions. It is the status quo of the body of workers that graduate student employees’ working conditions are different. Bargaining for you (your department, job class, wages, benefits, etc.) starts with your status quo.