GSEU Binghamton

is fighting for

a living wage

for all GA/TAs

After years of wage stagnation and steep inflation, graduate workers are struggling to make ends meet.

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a living wage is

pay sufficient to afford a decent standard of living for the worker.

According to one widely used method,

"Elements of a decent standard of living include food, water, housing, education, health care, transport, clothing, and other essential needs, including provision for unexpected events.

"The living wage is the minimum income standard that, if met, draws a very fine line between the financial independence of the working poor and the need to seek out public assistance or suffer consistent and severe housing and food insecurity. In light of this fact, the living wage is perhaps better defined as a minimum subsistence wage"

a living wage

in binghamton

cost of food

cost of housing

cost of basic but decent life

cost of other essential needs

small margin for unforeseen events

"Your fixed expenses should be about 50% ... Savings should account for about 20% ... [and] flexible spending should be roughly 30% of your overall budget"

SUNY's financial and budgeting advice to graduate students is effectively impossible to follow on the incomes offered by SUNY's own graduate programs.

our demands are urgent

In a survey the committee conducted last fall, out of 179 respondents, over 40% reported difficulties affording housing, including an inability to pay rent consistently, having to live in unsafe areas to afford housing, or having to live without proper heat, hot water, or internet. Respondents also reported struggling to afford groceries, or relying on food stamps and food pantries.

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Multiple responses reported being one medical emergency away from homelessness. 15% of respondents were financially responsible for another household member. Multiple respondents reported putting off necessary medical procedures due to cost. Reports of being unable to buy or maintain a car were also common.

2016 was the last time the University raised the minimum pay for graduate workers in PhD programs; since then our wages have stagnated in the face of high annual inflation rates, peaking a few years ago at 7%.

what we've won

When we started this campaign in fall 2022, Binghamton University teaching assistants made between $10,788 and $26,824 with an average yearly salary of $19,428—only 56 percent of the cost of living.

Thanks to surging participation from membership in letter writing campaigns, rallies, a petition that garnered over 1,500 signatures, and meetings with university administrators, we have since won a promising concession from the University: some of our members received a small raise this fall. However, this pay increase comes up far short of a living wage. In fact, after years of wage stagnation and steep inflation, it amounts to a cut—not an increase—in pay.

what we need

We continue to demand a living wage for all GSEU Binghamton members, regardless of program.

We need a minimum stipend increase that applies to all GA/TAs.

Look out for our future campaign events as we move toward this goal!

get in touch

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