When should I get my appointment letter and what should it contain?
According to Article IV, Section D, of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, “All newly appointed and re-appointed TAs and GAs shall be notified of their appointment title, the major components of their assignments, wages amount, dates (duration) of service (including any mandatory or optional orientation sessions), the supervising official in the department, and the full time equivalency (FTE) of the appointment as soon as practicable, preferably at least sixty (60) days before the start of the appointment or one month before the end of the previous appointment” (p. 4).
In Fall 2014, the GEO found out that many graduate students across campus, 90% according to our survey, were receiving their appointment letters late. There were a variety of negative financial and emotional impacts from late letters. Some people did not realize that they needed to seek other employment; others had to pay to change flight plans; some may have had visa problems. In Fall 2014, the GEO filed a grievance asking the University to explain why so many letters were late. The University was unable to provide any significant information regarding why so many appointment letters were late. Because the issue remained unresolved after the grievance, we went to arbitration in September 2015. An arbitration is a legally-binding decision that affects all members of the bargaining unit, not just those involved in the arbitration.
We won the arbitration in Spring 2016, but are still working toward a remedy. In the meantime, the following questions may help you determine the correct course of action if you received your appointment letter on time, late, or not at all.
I got my appointment letter, but I have questions about it.
If you’re confused about the duties of your appointment, who your supervisor is, or other issues, you should contact GEO at firstname.lastname@example.org. Email GEO and we’ll talk over your appointment letter. If you still have questions, we can help you arrange a meeting with your supervisor to discuss your duties. You are allowed to seek specific information about your appointment, such as a break down of hours.
My appointment letter was late or I haven’t received it all. What should I do?
Contact GEO at email@example.com if your letter was late or you haven’t received it at all. If you were financially impacted by the decision, for example if you had to change plane tickets because you got your appointment late, we want to hear from you. The University does not think there is an impact from receiving a late appointment letter. We need to make the University understand that it matters when graduate employees get their appointment letters that they need to follow the guidelines in the contract.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or drop by the office.