In any given semester, TUGSA may represent over 800 graduate employees across campus. Unlike many unionized workplaces, TUGSA is what’s known as an “open shop” union, meaning that rather than automatically becoming a member upon being hired, you need to sign up to become a member of the union. Therefore, if you are a graduate employee with a teaching assistantship and/or research assistantship for which you do not receive direct academic benefit, you are automatically represented by TUGSA, but you are not automatically a member. TUGSA is only as strong as our membership, and it is only by coming together as a union that we can maintain and improve on the gains we’ve achieved over the years, such as healthcare, wage increases, guaranteed contracts, and so on, while always building toward new victories. Membership dues are just 1.65% of your gross salary and are deducted automatically from your paycheck once you sign up.
If you are currently or soon will be working as a TA and/or RA at Temple, follow this link to sign up for full membership in TUGSA!
All other graduate students, employees, and supporters are welcome to become Associate Members. An associate membership is a one-time fee of $55 (for one semester) or $100 (for one academic year).
Why Become a Member (Why Pay Dues)?
- TUGSA’s membership density (how many employees eligible to be Full Members actually are Full Members) determines how much power we have at the negotiation table when bargaining for workplace improvements. The more members we have, the more likely we are to win the contract we want!
- Prior to TUGSA, graduate employees received minimal health coverage (maximum $400/year for catastrophic injuries); the average wage was less than $11,000 per academic year; TA/RA contracts could be terminated at any time during the year; and, there was no grievance procedure for challenging this kind of treatment. Because of the tireless work of those who came before us, we have these rights. When taking into account our wage increases and the fact that we receive a healthcare plan worth several hundreds of dollars a month for free, the small cost of dues pays for itself, and then some!
- Many TUGSA events and opportunities are only available to members, such as:
- The TUGSA Solidarity Grants Program
- Voting on the ratification of our next contract and resolutions at General Meetings (Full Members)
- Voting for members of the TUGSA Executive Board
- Serving as a member of the TUGSA Executive Board
- Receiving legal representation of up to $7,500 for Full Members and up to $2,500 for Associate Members
- Automatic membership with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and thus eligibility for perks ranging from a discounted wireless bill to discounted travel insurance and even scholarship opportunities! Visit the AFT Member Benefits site to learn more.
- TUGSA relies on member dues to recruit new members, pay for legal expenses, offer exciting opportunities and events to our current members, and pay dues to our parent union, among other expenses. You might consider paying dues as a way of maintaining the union’s infrastructure so that not only you can benefit from the workplace rights won and protected by TUGSA, but so that future graduate student employees can do so as well!
- As an added perk, dues are tax-deductible!
- If you receive direct academic benefit or you are on fellowship (and therefore eligible only for Associate Membership), your salary and benefits are still determined by TUGSA because the University ensures that they are comparable to the salary and benefits of TUGSA-represented graduate employees. Pay it forward and help keep the union strong!
Not Sure if You are Already a Member?
If you are a Full Member, your dues are automatically deducted from your monthly paycheck by Temple University. You can check your Pay Stub in TUPortal to see if you are already signed up. If you are a Full Member, you should see “Dues TUGSA” at the bottom of your pay stub under “Benefits, Deductions and Taxes” (see example below). If you signed up in the last month, it is possible that your membership has not yet been processed, so check again in a month and contact us if you still do not see dues being deducted.
If you are unsure about becoming a member, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org to ask a TUGSA representative to talk through your concerns.