If the union vote passes, ALL graduate students on assistantships now and in the future will pay for this union. Not signing a card, not voting in the election, or voting “NO” in the election does not keep you out of the union. There is no way to opt out of paying the union if the vote passes. All TAs, RAs, and GRAs will pay a minimum of $397.68 annually.
TAs, RAs, and GRAs will have two options: 1) They can be a “member” of the union who pay local dues and NYSUT/AFT fees; 2) TAs, RAs, and GRAs can forfeit their right to vote in union matters but will still be required to pay NYSUT/AFT fees. Graduate students that select option 2 are typically called “agents.” The amount of money that they pay the union is called an “agency fee.”
The exact amount of the agency fee will be decided by vote of the bargaining unit, but the minimum will be NYSUT/AFT required fees of $397.68. The vote will be on how much of the local dues “agents” will have to pay. The NYSUT/AFT dues will not be negotiable at the CGSU level. NYSUT/AFT dues are voted on by local delegates at an annual convention. CGSU will send a few delegates to this annual convention to vote on dues rates as well as other issues.
Total dues will be equally divided and automatically deducted from each paycheck.
Ideally, CGSU/NYSUT/AFT would be able to negotiate a pay raise to include dues plus the cost of living adjustment we have gotten historically. As At What Cost has noted in an FAQ, this raise would need to be around 4%. Since the contract is not drafted yet the exact details of a raise is still not certain, but CGSU/NYSUT/AFT states this as a main goal of the contract.