Agreement Reached With Academic Student Employees and Graduate Student Researchers

Quick Summary

  • Units are the last 2 involved in UAW's monthold labor action
  • Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg joined talks 4 days ago
  • Postdoctoral scholars and academic researchers settled earlier

The University of California today (Dec. 16) announced a tentative agreement between the university and the United Auto Workers, or UAW, regarding contracts for UC academic student employees, or ASE, and graduate student researchers, or GSR. Under the tentative agreements, the university would provide minimum salary scales for academic student employees, including teaching assistants and graduate student researchers, as well as multiyear pay increases, paid dependent access to university health care, and enhanced paid family leave. If approved, the contracts will be effective through May 31, 2025.


“I would like to thank Mayor [Darrell] Steinberg, and negotiators for both the university and the UAW, for coming together in a spirit of compromise to reach this tentative agreement. This is a positive step forward for the university and for our students, and I am grateful for the progress we have made together,” said Michael V. Drake, president of the University of California. “Our academic student employees and graduate student researchers are central to our academic enterprise and make incredible contributions to the university’s mission of research and education. These agreements will place our graduate student employees among the best supported in public higher education. If approved, these contracts will honor their critical work and allow us to continue attracting the top academic talent from across California and around the world. I would also like to thank our faculty, students and staff, who have managed the burden of this strike with dedication and patience over the last month.”

Negotiations for academic student employees and for graduate student researchers began this past March and April, respectively. On Dec. 9, UC and the UAW agreed to engage Steinberg, mayor of Sacramento and former president pro tem of the state Senate, as a third-party mediator to facilitate discussions and to help resolve outstanding issues and reach agreements on the contracts for those units.

In the last year, the University of California has also settled contracts with unions representing its lecturers, nurses, police officers, clerical and other administrative staff. Most recently the university also negotiated a contract with our postdoctoral scholars and academic researchers, also represented by the UAW. These agreements were the result of both sides working collaboratively to find solutions and demonstrating flexibility and a genuine willingness to compromise at the bargaining table. UC has approached its negotiations with the UAW in the same fashion.

Terms of the tentative agreements for GSRS and ASEs, separately, and for both units:

Graduate student researchers

  • By Oct. 1, 2024, the first step on the new, six-point GSR salary scale will be set at $34,564.50 for 50%-time work. There will be a side letter with UCSF to move its GSRs onto the salary scale by Oct. 1, 2024.

Academic student employees

  • By Oct. 1, 2024, the minimum nine-month salary for teaching assistants will be $34,000 for 50%-time work. By Oct. 1, 2024, the minimum salary rate for Berkeley, San Francisco and UCLA will be $36,500. The university will proportionally increase the associate instructor and teaching fellow rates for Oct. 1, 2024, to correspond to the additional increases provided for TAs.

Both units

  • Total compensation — Compensation under the contracts will include certain student support funds, where the funds are provided in the same term as employment.
  • Child care reimbursements — GSRs and ASEs will be entitled to $1,350 per quarter or $2,025 per semester, plus $1,350 for summer. GSRs and ASEs will also be entitled to an additional $100 per year, effective Oct. 1, 2023, and Oct. 1, 2024.
  • Dependent health care premiums — Continued participation for eligible GSRs and ASEs in a UC-sponsored student health plan to the same degree as other eligible students at that campus. Eligible GSRs and ASEs with 25% or more appointments will continue to receive full remission of monthly premiums for a UC-sponsored student health plan. In addition, UC will pay 100% of dependent child premiums for eligible GSRs and ASEs.
  • Trainees and fellows — Trainees and fellows in the GSR unit, as defined by the recognition article, will be paid salaries that match the GSR wage scale.
  • NRST — UC will cover nonresident supplemental tuition for up to three years for eligible ASEs and GSRs who have advanced to candidacy in their degree programs.
  • ULPs —  All unfair labor practice charges will be dismissed upon ratification.
  • Return to work — Student employees are expected to return to work and picket lines will be pulled down immediately.

The above terms build on UC’s last offer made on Dec. 2, 2022. The terms of our previous proposal are available here.

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