Frequenty Asked Questions

Find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions. If you don't find the information you are looking for, feel free to contact us.

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Who does UGSW represent?

The Union of Graduate Student Workers represents all GSTAs (Graduate Student Teaching Assistants), GSRAs (Graduate Student Research Assistants), and Post Doctoral Fellows employed at the University of New Brunswick. 

How do I become a member of UGSW?

All graduate students employed by UNB as a GSTA or GSRA, or any Post-Doctoral Fellow hired by UNB, automatically become dues-paying members of our Union Local and the Bargaining Unit of the PSAC-AFPC. To make the most of your Union membership you need to become a card-carrying member in good standing of PSAC-AFPC. See below for information on how to become a fully-registered member.

How do I become a fully-registered member?

You can become a fully-registered member of our union by filling out the hard copy membership form  

What is the minimum pay per hour for GSTA/GSRA?

Minimum pay rate is negotiated in bargaining and laid out in the appendix of our Collective Agreement

What are the different funding sources for GSTAs and GSRAs?

GSTA (Employment, covered under Collective Agreement) 
• Both full-time & part-time students are eligible 
•GSTA positions are allocated directly by the GAU from their own budget 
•Employment is in support of the teaching activities of the program 

GSRA (Employment, Collective Agreement

• Both full-time & part-time students are eligible 

• Funds come from research grants or contracts awarded to faculty members 

• GSRA positions employ students to assist in research activities

GRA (Scholarship, not covered under Collective Agreement)

• Only full-time students are eligible 

• GRA awards are made directly by the GAU from their own budget 

• Awards support students in their program of study with no work expectations

GAA (Scholarship, not covered under Collective Agreement)

• Normally limited to full-time students 

• Funds derive from a variety of sources, including external agencies (e.g., NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR) as well as research grants and contracts to faculty members 

• Awards support students in their program of study with no work expectations

How many hours can I be required to work as a GSTA/GSRA?

The Collective Agreement restricts full time students to normally 520 hours per year (average of 10 hours per week) for TA/RA positions; however, SGS guidelines further restrict employment hours to 520 hours including other employment. No restrictions for part-time students. 

Employees must not be made to work over 15 hours in one week without their consent; we strongly encourage members to track their hours. 

Which contract form(s) do I need to fill out?

The main two forms for GSTAs and GSRAs are the Appendix B1 and Appendix B2 forms respectively. When filling out these forms with your employment supervisor, it is important to discuss duties/tasks, expected hours/timeline, and intellectual property rights. You may request Union presence or advice during this process.  

After discussion with your employment supervisor(s), be sure to complete your B1 or B2 contracts as soon as you receive them in order to avoid delay in payy. Employment Supervisors and Employees should have follow-up meetings to discuss progress and any adjustments to the contract needed. 

If your contract needs to be adjusted (e.g., pay rate, # hours, length of contract, duties, etc.) then GSTAs should use the Appendix C1 form and GSRAs should use the Appendix C2 form.  

How is UGSW different from the Graduate Student Association (GSA)?

UGSW is a Directly Chartered Local with the Public Service Alliance of Canada, a nationwide worker's union. As such, UGSA  represents only those graduate students that are employed at the University of New Brunswick as GSTAs and GSRAs. 

The Graduate Student Association (GSA) is an independent, member-driven organization whose purpose is to serve and further the interests of all graduate students at UNB, whether they are in Fredericton, Saint John, or anywhere else in the world. All full and part-time graduate students enrolled at UNB are members of the GSA.

GSA Website
How can I get involved?