United Faculty of Florida - Florida State University - Graduate Assistants United (UFF-FSU-GAU) represents and advocates for the interests of its members and all GA's at Florida State University. GAU was founded in 2008 and is the only legally recognized collective bargaining agent for GA's at FSU and seeks to improve working conditions and defend the working rights of all GAs. GAU's first contract was ratified in the Fall of 2010, ensuring that all GAs across the FSU campus receive fair and equitable treatment as students and employees. Since this first contract was negotiated with the university administration,  we have increased the minimum stipend twice, secured an across-the-board performance raise, increased the health insurance subsidy, secured Family Medical Leave for all GAs, and advocated for the rights of students, as individuals and as groups, through the grievance process.

The current goals of GAU are to meet and exceed the benefit levels enjoyed by graduate students at other universities with preeminent status. Specifically, we want to achieve 100% health insurance reimbursement subsidies and 100% tuition and fees payment for all eligible GAs.  By coming together, we can make improvements in our lives and do much more together than we can alone. Help us make FSU competitive with other universities in the state of Florida.  More members equals more leverage equals better benefits.

Recent gains from the 2014-2015 bargaining session between GAU and FSU include:

  • ensuring that departments cannot unfairly and arbitrarily bar GAs who make less than $7,500 per semester from outside employment, so long as it does not present a conflict of interest;
  • increasing health insurance subsidies afforded to all GAs, as well as establishing a payroll deduction system for health insurance premiums that lessens the burden on GAs by delaying payment and making deductions pre-tax;
  • and increasing pay for all GAs, including a new minimum stipend of $10,000 for GAs on a 0.50 FTE appointment and a 3% raise for all GAs paid more than the minimum.

We’ve also made progress on the issues of fees for GAs. For more information about all of these, please browse our Issues pages, available in the drop-down menu at the top of this page.

Please complete our Online Membership Form to join GAU today!

FSU works because we do!

2015-2018 Tentative Agreement

Hello everyone! We are very excited to share our newly negotiated contract with you! This year was a full book review, meaning GAU and FSU went through every single article in our contract and made changes to better reflect the needs of our union members. There's a lot to go through in this update. Some articles stayed the same as they were before.

Status Quo Articles

  • 1: Recognition
  • 4: Graduate Assistant File
  • 5: Academic Freedom
  • 9: Copyrights and Patents
  • 13: Board Rights
  • 17: Miscellaneous Provisions
  • 19: Totality of Agreement
  • 20: Severability
  • Appendix B: Dues Check-Off Authorization Form
  • Appendix F: UFF-PAC Payroll Deduction Authorization Form

What follows is a list of highlights to the changes to the other articles. Please take a few minutes to review the full PDF and check out the actual changes for yourself. Before we get to those changes, though, it's important to remind our members that none of these changes will go into effect until the contract is ratified! Ratification is a simple process: GAU will notify the entire bargaining unit about the dates and location of the polling places. Simply stop by and cast your vote to ratify or not. A majority (50% + 1) of the votes cast will determine whether or not the contract is ratified. Okay, on to the changes!

Summary of Changes

  • 2: Appointments and Terminations
    • Clarified what goes into appointment letters, how long appointments last, and when appointment letters are sent
  • 3: Employment Performance Evaluation
    • Clarified the minimum standard for employee evaluations
    • Established a procedure for follow-up evaluations (after an initial negative evaluation)
  • 6: Workload
    • Strengthened language to protect GAs from being overworked
    • Clarified what departments need to consider when making assignments
    • Strengthened provisions for GAs who believe they're being overworked
  • 7: Outside Employment or Activity / Additional Employment / Conflict of Interest
    • Established some measure of GA autonomy and independence when engaging in uncompensated outside activity
    • Increased the threshold of GAs who can't be automatically barred from outside employment
    • Clarified how department requests to restrict outside employment are approved, including the requirement that a department's rationale be posted publicly alongside its policy
  • 8: Unlawful Discrimination
    • Added "creed" and "any other protected group status" to the list of groups protected from discrimination
  • 10: Leaves of Absence and Other Leave
    • Though we tried to get paid leave for our GAs, we were unsuccessful this time. This will not be the last time we fight for this!
    • Moved all the provisions governing GAU's supplemental appointments to Article 14
  • 11: Grievance Procedure and Arbitration
    • Only minor clerical changes to establish gender-neutral language
    • We'll be working on this article throughout the year to make changes for the next bargaining session
  • 12: Matriculation Fee and Out-of-State Fee Waiver Program
    • Clarified that tuition waivers for eligible GAs are mandatory
    • Clarified how GAs become eligible for tuition waivers
    • Clarified the process by which out-of-state waivers are distributed
  • 14: GAU Rights
    • Relocated all the provisions about GAU supplemental appointments from Article 10
    • Increased the flexibility of supplemental appointments
  • 15: Union Deductions
    • Clarified how UFF-PAC contributions are deducted
  • 16: Health Insurance
    • Increased the amount of the health insurance stipend to match the increase in cost of the premiums
    • GAs will pay the same for health insurance this year as they did last year, even though it costs much more
  • 18: Other Employee Rights
    • Clarified what departments need to consider in order to provide adequate and secure space to GAs
    • Strengthened the reporting process for unsafe workplace conditions, including the use of the anonymous reporting system, Ethicspoint
    • Strengthened protections for GAs reporting unsafe workplace conditions
  • 21: Amendment and Duration
    • Established that the new CBA covers 2015-2018
    • Allows both parties to open up to 4 articles per year, rather than 3
  • 22: Definitions
    • Added multiple definitions to reflect language in the new CBA
  • 23: Stipends
    • Secured a 20% increase to the minimum stipend, raising it from $10,000 to $12,000
      • This means that GAs on at least a 0.50 FTE will no longer be making below-poverty wages!
    • Gained a 3% raise for everyone else
    • Updated language regarding initial payments to reflect current HR policies
    • Though we tried to secure a signing bonus to cover the cost of fees, we were unsuccessful this year
  • 24: Consultation
    • Guaranteed GAU an annual consultation with either the President or Provost
    • Established the option to use the consultation for bargaining if both parties agree
  • Appendix A
    • This was removed, as it was no longer relevant to the CBA
  • Appendix C: Grievance
    • Minor clerical changes
  • Appendix D: Request for Review of Step 1 Decision
    • Minor clerical changes
  • Appendix E: Notice of Arbitration
    • Minor clerical changes

And that's the lot of it! View the PDF to see the changes for yourself. Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns. You can reach the bargaining committee at chiefnegotiator@fsugau.org


This semester, we will be holding elections for President, Executive Vice President, Vice President of Membership, and Treasurer. The remaining positions on the Executive Committee are appointed by the President. Please refer to our Constitution and Bylaws for position descriptions.

Nominations are due by 5PM on March 31, 2015. Elections will be held at our spring General Membership Meeting on Tuesday, March 31 from 6:30-8PM in LOV 102. Last minute nominations will be taken at the GMM prior to elections. Newly elected officers will take office on April 15, 2015.

Running for office is extremely important. Your GAU works only when it is run by people who care enough to make a difference. If you are interested in a position, but would like to know more, or to submit a nomination, please contact President Kerr Ballenger: president@fsugau.org

Nominations Recieved

President: Kimberly Tate Anderson (English Department), Martin Bremer (College of Education)

Executive Vice President: Martin Bremer (College of Education)

Vice President of Membership: Wayne Reed (English Department)

Treasurer: Tara Baldrick-Morrone (Department of Religion)



This is What UFF-FSU-GAU Does for GAs at FSU!

We are very pleased to announce that the arbitrator ruled in our favor regarding FSU's payment of Health Insurance Subsidies. You can read her entire decision here (the decision starts on page 13 and the final ruling is on page 17). In sum, FSU's practice of "averaging FTEs" was not a well-known practice and furthermore, FSU "did not establish a long-standing past practice of using the 'average subsidy methodology' to calculate yearly subsidies when semester FTE appointments are different." She goes on to say that "Application of the “averaging subsidy methodology” produced incorrect yearly health insurance subsidies for at most 10% of FSU’s eligible GAs during the 2013-2014 year. These GAs all had different semester FTE appointments during that year. The amount due the Union President for the 2013-2014 year is $325. Similarly situated GAs would be owed the same amount for the same period. Because some GAs were not paid $325 of the subsidy salary supplements they earned, the University did not fully comply with Article 16.2 of the Agreement in during the 2013-201(4) year."

The final ruling states "To remedy the violation of Article 16.2 of the Agreement, the University shall pay to eligible GAs the balance of the 2013-2014 Article 16.2 health insurance subsidies that should have been disbursed to them in the 2014 spring semester. These subsidy disbursements shall be made as soon as is practicable, but not more than ninety days from the date of this Award."



Important Information

Letter from Florida Representative Michelle Reywinkel Vasilinda regarding Fees-to-Work

See the letter here.