A small crowd gathered on the front steps of Tigert Hall on Monday in response to UF failing to pay 60 to 80 graduate assistants.
Members in Graduate Assistants United, the labor union representing all graduate assistants at UF, believe the main cause is a backlog of paperwork due to an overwhelmed administration staff.
“With so many new employees, it’s not unusual to have these kinds of pay delays in the Fall semester,” said UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes.
Sikes said if students are late in being hired by their department or miss a deadline for whatever reason, they won’t be processed in UF’s system and could be unpaid.
Last year, UF took administration staff out of different departments and funneled them into a shared services office where graduate assistants could be processed in a single place, said Graduate Assistants United grievance chairman Kevin Funk, a doctoral candidate in political science.
The college “can’t definitively prove to you that it’s causing a problem, but common sense would indicate that factor,” said Funk, 31.
Graduate assistants who weren’t paid last Friday are eligible to receive an emergency check this Friday. They must request an emergency check from their individual department and have the request submitted to payroll before 4 p.m. today, according to an email provided by UF Graduate School.
Emily McCann, chief negotiator and co-president of Graduate Assistants United said graduate assistants fear they may remain unpaid or unappreciated, for their work.
“We’re troubled that UF knew about this problem before and didn’t do anything about it,” the 28-year-old English doctoral candidate said. “But, this year, we’ve decided to take action.”
A version of this story ran on page 8 on 9/11/2013 under the headline "Graduate assistants protest lack of paychecks due to paperwork"