To: Michigan State University

Michigan State University: Pay Teaching Assistants for work performed

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MSU is withholding pay from hundreds of Teaching Assistants for work already performed. Pay TAs owed wages now.

Why is this important?

MSU has decided to short many of our members on several hundred dollars worth of pay. Several hundred dollars is a large amount to most people, but when almost all of us make well under $20,000 each year a cut of this amount from our paychecks is critical to our wellbeing.

Most graduate students who were teaching assistants over the summer are affected by this pay cut. During our most recent contract negotiations with MSU, the university wanted to change the summer teaching appointment period. We worked with MSU to make sure the dates of the summer appointment period accurately reflected when summer work occurred. Because of this, there was a three-day overlap between the spring appointment period and the summer appointment period. For those three days, if a teaching assistant had both a spring appointment and a summer appointment, MSU maintains that it is only obliged to pay those TAs for one of the jobs. Stipend rates vary from department to department, but losing these for days of summer pay amounts to around $200. With 330 TAs in this situation, that is approximately $66,000 that MSU is withholding from grad student paychecks. Similarly, there is a four-day overlap between the summer and fall appointment periods that MSU does not want to pay TAs for either.

GEU has been working with MSU since last year on this issue. Recently, we met with the university, thought this issue was settled, and that summer TAs would be paid properly. Two weeks later, with no explanation whatsoever, the university declined to do so. This lack of recognition for the work that we do is unacceptable.