Frequently Asked Questions
I am an international GA/RA/TA/Instructor without U.S. citizenship, can I join?
Yes! Joining a union is fully legal and the university is rule-bound to not treat union members differently. If you feel uneasy, remember that you can decide your level of involvement. We appreciate all the support we can get and can cite high membership proportions in bargaining. This is your home, your workplace, your union!
The union already won all of us graduate assistants a new contract/benefits; why should I join?
We fight for regular raises. Your rent, food bills and clothes go up every year – your pay should, too! You can also see your due as insurance payments. Anything could happen, and knowing the union is there should be some comfort. The union also provides member-only benefits.
But I already have a four-year contract, don't I?
When accepted as a GA you get a “letter of appointment.” Your department awards you a graduate assistantship but the document determining working conditions and fee deferrals and deductions is the contract, or “collective bargaining agreement,” which is renegotiated by GAU every three years.
Is membership automatic? Does Florida have "closed shops"?
Florida is a “right-to-work” state, meaning that unlike other states, union membership is not a necessary part of hiring, even though all workers see the benefits that the union wins on their behalf. That is why we ask all of you fellow graduate workers to join. We are only as strong as our members.
Where do my dues go?
GAU retains only ten-percent of all member dues we collect. These dues are used for daily operations, including member services, office supplies, meetings, recruiting, and events. The remainder of member dues pay for GAU's membership in our partner unions, including UFF. In fact, our member dues do not actually cover the full cost of membership in these unions, so GAU receives subsidies for recruitment, events, and training efforts.
I don't really have time for another club, or any club...
We are a labor union. We all wear many hats and one of them is worker. We are not a club or part of student activities. We are independent. There are several social opportunities as well, though. Many of us become volunteers and interact with fellow workers in other departments. If socialization and one-on-one recruitment activities are exciting for you, there is a place for you. If you want to work behind the scenes, there is a place for you.
How do I join?