- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 28, 2014

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Some graduate teaching assistants at the University of Kansas could receive a raise next year, after the university and a union representing the students approved a contract increasing the minimum wage for teaching assistants by $1,000 a year.

The new two-year contract would increase the minimum salary from $13,000 to $14,000 for the 2014-2015 school year. The minimum would increase to $14,250 for 2015-16, The Lawrence Journal-World reported (http://bit.ly/SPpO2z ).

The new minimum pay would raise the pay of 39 percent of teaching assistants, said Ola Faucher, director of the university’s human resources office.

The Kansas Board of Regents is expected to vote on the contract at its June meeting.

Members of the Graduate Teaching Assistants Coalition union said the negotiations were amicable and productive.

“I was very pleased with how negotiations went,” said Laurie Petty, a Ph.D. student in sociology who helped negotiate the new contract. “Everybody seemed to be on the same page with wanting to make changes that benefit GTAs and the university.”

In fall 2013, the average salary for graduate teaching assistants with a nine-month appointment was $15,072, according to the Office of Institutional Research and Planning.

“This agreement rewards graduate students for their contributions as instructors and will help us recruit talented scholars to continue their studies at KU,” Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said in a statement.

The teaching assistants could receive another salary increase under the university’s most recent tuition proposal, which includes merit-based raises and allows an average increase of 1.75 percent for faculty and staff, including graduate student workers.

The GTA contract had not been changed since 2010. Petty said the proposed contract was passed “overwhelmingly” by the more than a third of union members who voted.

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Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com