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Tentative Agreement with Graduate Labor Organization (GLO)

April 30, 2021

Dear Graduate Students and Faculty,

We are pleased to report today that Brown has reached a tentative agreement with the Graduate Labor Organization (GLO), which represents graduate students engaged in teaching and research positions, regarding FY22 stipend increases for graduate students who hold these positions. While additional steps remain before the agreement is finalized, we believe this will be welcome news to graduate students and all who are involved in graduate education at Brown. The tentative agreement is the result of a productive and collegial set of negotiating sessions between the University and GLO, and we appreciate the spirit and commitment to collaboration that all parties brought to the table. While the agreement with GLO only pertains to students when they are in bargaining unit positions (TAs, TFs, RAs, Proctors), the University intends to apply the increases described below to all eligible graduate students. 

Highlights of the tentative agreement include: 

  • a 2.5% increase in the Academic Year Base Stipend across all disciplines and in the Summer Base Stipend for programs in the Sciences;
  • increasing the Summer Base Stipend for programs in the Humanities and Social Science to achieve equity with those in the Sciences by FY23, a long-standing University priority;
  • a one-time payment of $750 in response to the financial impact of the pandemic;
  • and a commitment to making an equity adjustment to the FY23 Academic Year Base Stipend of no less than $750, effective July 1, 2022, as part of an equity review of the Academic Year Base Stipend to be completed this year by the Graduate School. 

Details of the tentative agreement are as follows: 

The tentative agreement includes a 2.5% increase in the Academic Year Base Stipend across all disciplines and in the Summer Base Stipend for programs in the Sciences, effective July 1, 2021. It also includes a one-time payment of $750 to the graduate students who have been eligible to be in the bargaining unit since the onset of the pandemic to the present. All such eligible students will receive the payment regardless of whether they have served in a TA, TF, RA or Proctor semester-length appointment during this time period. While the University has extended significant financial resources and support to graduate students during the pandemic, including COVID-19 funding extensions, covering COVID-19 out-of-pocket medical costs, enhanced summer fellowships and proctorships, increased emergency funding and support for those facing food insecurity, a three-month health insurance extension for graduating students, and expansion of the Deans’ Faculty Fellows program, we recognize the challenging financial impact of the pandemic and especially remote work on graduate students. This payment responds directly to that impact.

The agreement also includes a substantial investment in doctoral students in the Humanities and Social Sciences, which has been a University priority for some time and we were pleased that GLO reacted favorably when we introduced it at the table during this negotiation. A recurring concern we have heard from graduate students is the differential summer stipend for doctoral students in the Humanities and Social Sciences (currently $5,373) and the Sciences (currently $8,977). Not long ago, there was a minimal summer stipend for Humanities and Social Sciences based on a rationale at the time that students in those programs were not expected to perform service requirements over the summer in the same manner as students in the Sciences. In order to support doctoral students in making academic progress over the summer, the University in summer 2017 invested in Humanities and Social Sciences by increasing the base summer stipend for doctoral students, albeit to a lower level than in the Sciences. Standardizing the summer stipend amounts across the disciplines will have the beneficial impact of a significant increase in overall stipend support for graduate students in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Accordingly, the University will adjust the summer stipend for doctoral students in the Humanities and Social Sciences over two fiscal years, so they are equivalent by FY23. As detailed in the chart below, this will result in an adjustment of approximately $2,000 in each of the next two fiscal years (FY22 and FY23). For this coming summer, students in the Humanities and Social Sciences have already been given the opportunity to apply for the equivalent of no less than this increase through the Summer Fellowship and Proctorship program, or by serving as a Teaching Assistant. Students who have received those awards already will not receive an additional increase in July or August 2021. All students will receive the benefit of these programs becoming permanent additions to the Summer Base Stipend and, within two fiscal years, equivalency between the Humanities, Social Sciences and Sciences. In the coming year, the Graduate School will undertake a review, in consultation with departments, the Graduate Student Council, and GLO, of the summer service expectations of Humanities and Social Science students to ensure equity with students in the Sciences. To the extent any recommendations from that review impact bargaining unit positions, those recommendations will be subject to negotiation and agreement with GLO.

Finally, the University will, prior to the end of this calendar year, complete an equity review of the Academic Year Base Stipend, taking into account market conditions, cost of living in the Providence area (such as housing), and the sufficiency of the stipend and other forms of financial support (including the Summer Base Stipend) afforded to graduate students. The findings of the equity review will be provided to the University Resources Committee to inform budget considerations for FY23 and to GLO to inform the FY23 stipend increase negotiation. In undertaking the equity review, the University committed to making an equity adjustment to the FY23 Academic Base Year Stipend of no less than $750, effective July 1, 2022. The equity adjustment will be applied to the FY23 Academic Year Base Stipend prior to the application of the agreed upon stipend increase amount for FY23.

The University’s bargaining team has been instrumental in bringing us to this point, and we deeply appreciate the leadership of chair Russell Carey, executive vice president for planning and policy; James Green, deputy general counsel; and Ethan Bernstein, director of administration and operations at the Graduate School.

The tentative agreement represents an overall incremental investment in graduate students exceeding $3.0 million in FY22. We are delighted to have reached this point today, and look forward to the full membership of GLO considering and ratifying the tentative agreement in the coming days.

Sincerely,

Richard M. Locke
Provost

Andrew G. Campbell
Dean of the Graduate School

I.          Stipend increase effective July 1, 2021 of 2.50%; Equity Adjustment to the FY23 Academic Base Year Stipend of No Less Than $750; and Standardization of Summer Base Stipend Across Disciplines Over Two Fiscal Years

Humanities and Social Sciences

FY

Academic Year Base Stipend

Summer Base Stipend

Total 12 Month Stipend

FY21

$26,932.00

$5,373.00

$32,305.00

FY22

$27,605.30

$7,373.00

$34,978.30

FY23

No less than

($27,605.30 + $750)

* (merit pool increase)

No less than

$9,201.75

* (merit pool increase) 

No less than $37,557.05


Sciences

FY

Academic Year Base Stipend

Summer Base Stipend

Total 12 Month Stipend

FY21

$26,932.00

$8,977.32

$35,909.32

FY22

$27,605.30

$9,201.75

$36,807.05

FY23

No less than ($27,605.30 + $750)

* (merit pool increase)

No less than

$9,201.75

* (merit pool increase)

No less than $37,557.05


II. COVID-19 Pandemic Impact Payment

The University recognizes the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on both work-related expenses and living expenses for graduate students. To assist with these expenses, all graduate students who have been eligible from Spring Semester 2020 to the present to be included in the bargaining unit in accordance with Article I, Recognition and Bargaining Unit Description, will receive a one-time cash payment in the amount of $750. All such eligible students (approximately 1,600 in number) will receive the payment regardless of whether they have served in a TA, TF, RA or Proctor semester-length appointment during this time period. The payment shall be disbursed no later than July 30, 2021.