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Funding to Eliminate Fees for SUNY Graduate Workers Included in Final NY State Budget

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Contact: Becca Miller, rmiller@cwa-union.org

 

FUNDING TO ELIMINATE FEES FOR SUNY GRADUATE WORKERS INCLUDED IN FINAL NY STATE BUDGET

Final FY24 New York State Budget included funding to eliminate onerous fees for graduate research and teaching assistants working in the SUNY system

ALBANY -- Communications Workers of America District 1 Vice President Dennis Trainor released the following statement on the budget:

“We commend Governor Hochul and the legislature for passing a budget that makes important investments in our state. We are very pleased that the New York State budget funds the elimination of fees for SUNY graduate workers. Graduate workers are the backbone of the SUNY system, teaching, mentoring, driving innovation and producing cutting-edge research. Despite their key role, these workers have suffered dire financial challenges that are greatly exacerbated by the imposition of onerous fees. A substantial portion of graduate student income that would normally go towards paying rent, buying groceries, or making car payments must be returned to their employer in the form of fees. For years, we’ve been fighting to eliminate these fees. We are very happy that this budget finally corrects this wrong and includes three million dollars to take the first step in a phased approach to permanently eliminate these fees, over the course of four years. We are deeply grateful to Governor Kathy Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, and Assemblymember Patricia Fahy for their steadfast leadership and commitment to this important issue.”

"Our graduate student workforce is key to the world-class education our students receive at our colleges and universities across New York. Securing this first-time funding to help alleviate the costs associated with graduate student worker fees was a priority of mine as the new Assembly Higher Education Chair, and I look forward to continuing work to ensure our graduate student workforce is made whole. Thank you to the dozens of graduate students who made their voices heard and I look forward to ensuring you're able to continue providing a sound, quality education to our students across our state," said Chair of the Assembly Committee on Higher Education, Assemblymember Patricia Fahy. 

"Eliminating the fees for graduate workers is the fruition of a multi-year effort by CWA to secure much needed assistance for these students. After passing the Senate in previous years, I was proud to work with CWA leadership, the new Assembly Chairwoman on Higher Education, Pat Fahy, as well as Governor Hochul to make this a priority in this year’s budget. This is a down payment for our graduate workers as we strive to eliminate all fees.""Eliminating the fees for graduate workers is the fruition of a multi-year effort by CWA to secure much needed assistance for these students. After passing the Senate in previous years, I was proud to work with CWA leadership, the new Assembly Chairwoman on Higher Education, Pat Fahy, as well as Governor Hochul to make this a priority in this year’s budget. This is a down payment for our graduate workers as we strive to eliminate all fees," said Chair of the Senate Committee on Higher Education, Senator Toby Ann Stavisky.

"The abolition of pay to work fees is an amazing step forward for justice and fairness in NY higher ed. The quality of research and instruction, which we graduate employees provide, will improve dramatically as we can focus more on our jobs rather than mere survival," said Andrew Dobbyn, Executive Vice President of CWA-GSEU

 

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