A new survey of graduate assistants conducted by Service Employees International Union, a major organizer of adjuncts that is currently organizing graduate employees on a number of private campuses, suggests widespread concern with pay, health care and job security. The survey includes responses from graduate assistants at 13 institutions where SEIU is active. Seventy-eight percent of respondents over all had a positive view of a “unified voice” to advocate for improved working conditions, according to SEIU.
Pay or stipends were important to 94 percent of respondents, followed by health insurance (89 percent); professional development (87 percent); workload (87 percent); respect (86 percent); and research funding (85 percent). Additional areas of concern to more than two-thirds of respondents include academic freedom, job security, summer gap in pay, discrimination, dental insurance, administrative transparency, sexual harassment, having a voice, reduced funding after set years, affordable housing, vision insurance, tuition remission and unpaid work.