Contract info: Important Start of Semester Information

Workload Protections for all Academic Student Workers at the University of California 

Please read on for important information about workload protections for GSIs and Readers! These protections are guaranteed in our contract, which is up for re-negotiation for a 2013 start date.

As we gear up for a new semester with more cuts to classes and resources on campus, it’s important that as student educators we can protect both ourselves and our students from unrealistic and unfair GSI and Reader workloads. If we’re overworked it hurts our own academic progress and affects the quality of our teaching.

Our contract ensures that we are only asked to work at our appointment level (usually 25% or 50%). It’s up to us to make sure we aren’t being asked to work without compensation. As hard as it may be to confront a supervisor about unfair working conditions, drawing attention to the consequences of cut classes and increased section sizes alongside your colleagues and fellow GSIs is one important way to demand a reversal to recent funding cuts at Cal and throughout the UC system.

When you receive your appointment notification (or soon after), all GSIs and Readers should receive a checklist with a description of your required duties for the semester from your hiring department. You can see a sample version here.

If you did *not* receive this document, please email – this document provides information you need to know about the duties included in your appointment.

You can make sure you work the hours you’re paid: develop a realistic estimate of the time you will spend in your assigned duties this semester. If you think your assigned tasks will exceed the maximum hours you should be working, we hope you’ll reach out to your fellow GSIs to discuss strategies for dealing with your supervisor regarding excessive duties, as well as contact one of your head stewards (listed here) for help thinking about possible solutions. You can always email to get in touch with a steward.

You can find a PDF worksheet for calculating your estimated hours here.

For example: If you have a 50% appointment you should NEVER be asked to work:

– more than 40 hours in a week (this can result from super-quick turnaround times on essays)
– more than 8 hours in a day (this often happens around deadlines for submitting final grades)
– more than 340 hours in a semester
– more than 77 hours total over 20 hours per week during the semester (this can happen if there are several major grading efforts over the course of the semester)

We are also working to track increases in section and class sizes as another round of cuts starts to take effect on campus. Any information you have about either class size policy within your department OR recent changes to that policy should be sent to All information will be kept anonymous.

Want even more info on the contract? Find it on the Member Resources page, and the Contract page!