Our benefits are hard-won through bargaining with the university and are protected by our contract. Please take advantage of all the resources available to you, and let us know what resources you would like to bargain for in the future!
Affordable access to quality health insurance was one of the main reasons the graduate students at MSU organized our Union. Health insurance continues to be an issue of great importance to our members. Over the past twelve years, we have made major improvements to the healthcare plan offered to MSU graduate students including mental health, dental, vision, and dependent coverage. If you are denied coverage under this plan, you have the right to file an appeal. In our last round of negotiations, we successfully reduced the cost of prescriptions, increased the number of visits for mental health treatment while reducing the cost for these visits, and secured free vaccinations and medications for graduate workers on overseas assignments.
As a union member, you also have access to Union Plus Money-Saving Benefits offered by the AFL-CIO. Union Plus offers up to 40 valuable money-saving benefits and tools:
- Union Plus Credit Card with built-in protection for union members facing financial hardship
- AT&T wireless 15% discount
- Mortgage with closing cost savings & special hardship protection
- Everyday savings on flowers, travel, and much more
Solidarity Grant Program
The Solidarity Grant Program established by the Graduate Employees Union AFT #6196 exists to provide financial assistance to Graduate Employees Union members in hardship. As graduate students tend to live paycheck to paycheck, any kind of unanticipated financial cost can cause severe hardship ranging from usurious debt to eviction from one’s home or deportation from the country. Directing resources from the Graduate Employees Union to those in need is an act of solidarity with those members struck with misfortune, embodying the ideal that a strike against one is a strike against all.
To allow for the solidarity grant to provide aid to as many members as possible and to prioritize applications which demonstrate the greatest need, the reviewing committee will approve grants in amounts over $250 only in circumstances where the immediate health or safety of a member, their family, or their community are at risk or in extreme circumstances. Our major criteria are membership, as it is GEU members standing in solidarity with one another that make this program possible, the impact the funds we can share will have, and the unpredictable nature of the crisis. We have helped people with a wide range of concerns ranging from more minor issues like rent to major issues such as ensuring that members and their children can afford food and medical care.
If you are a member of the GEU currently suffering a hardship, you can apply for the program here:
To learn more about how the program is run and decisions are made, please look at our Solidarity Grant Guidelines. The Solidarity Grant program only works because of the substantial time and energy put in by volunteers reviewing applications. If you are interested in serving on the committee that oversees the Solidarity Grant, please email email@example.com
Remember to join the Graduate Employees Union if you would like to support the Solidarity Grant Program!
Tuition Waiver Pool
During our contract bargaining with the university, the GEU negotiated 500 extra tuition waiver credits for Teaching Assistants to use. So, if you need to take more than 9 credit hours in the Spring or Fall or more than 5 credits in the Summer, be sure to take advantage of this opportunity. Click on the following link for the most recent updates on when the tuition pool opens and closes for each semester:
Keep in mind, once you are awarded extra tuition waiver credits, they cannot be awarded to someone else. So please be responsible and courteous to your fellow TAs when you apply.
Graduate TA Benefits
Pertaining to your education and role as a TA, you can:
- Borrow library books for up to 180 days
- Receive free materials for course you are teaching (e.g. desk copies of books)
- Receive free usage, training, and support for all the technology needed to instruct a course (computers, printers, photocopiers, etc.)
- Purchase a parking pass that allows you to park anywhere South of Red Cedar River and Brody Complex.
- Access to loading zones to transport materials for a course
- Receive reasonable access to buildings needed to instruct your course.
- Are given a safe, confidential place to store all final exams and grading materials
- Be informed of any changes to grades you have assigned, and are able to comment on the improvements of a course you have instructed.
- Have a mailbox and email account
- Access to Tuition Waiver Pool – 500 total credits available to all TAs. They are to be used beyond the 9 credit hours remitted for Fall/Spring semesters and beyond the 5 credit hours remitted for the summer.
Starting in 2016, the Graduate Employees Union has formed partnerships with local businesses to help make GEU membership even better! Not only do we get the benefits of solidarity and a solid contract, but now we get discounts at various local businesses that stand with us in solidarity – our Solidarity Supporters.
When you join as a member, you receive a stub from your membership card. Show this member stub to the business when you are shopping to get the benefits of solidarity! A list of businesses with their Solidarity Supporter discount is below. If you would like to add more businesses, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Moose Jaw
- Tin Can East Lansing
- MSU Student Organic Farms