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University raises campus-wide undergraduate TA minimum wage to $18 per hour

Wage increase decision stems from bargaining sessions with TALO this summer

The University’s minimum wage was previously tied to the Rhode Island statewide minimum wage, which increased from $12 to $13 per hour in January.
The University’s minimum wage was previously tied to the Rhode Island statewide minimum wage, which increased from $12 to $13 per hour in January.

The University has raised the minimum wage for undergraduate teaching assistants and similar positions to $18 per hour, Provost Francis J. Doyle III and Deputy Provost for Strategic Initiatives Janet Blume announced in an Aug. 28 Today@Brown announcement detailing the interim contract signed with the Teaching Assistant Labor Organization.

The change in compensation, which took effect at the beginning of this semester, originated in the “productive discussions” between the University and TALO, which represents undergraduate computer science student employees, wrote University spokesperson Brian Clark in an email to The Herald.

Though it is likely that the University would have increased the minimum wage “in the near future,” Blume wrote in an email to The Herald, “the fact that we took that proactive step at this moment originated from our work with TALO and our goal of being equitable with student workers in similar positions.”

“The steps we have taken to raise the UTA pay rate across campus reflect our dedication to providing students with exceptional educational and professional experiences, and our commitment to supporting the financial needs of our students,” Doyle and Blume wrote in the letter.


The University’s minimum wage for hourly student workers previously matched Rhode Island’s statewide minimum wage, which increased from $12.25 to $13 per hour at of the beginning of 2023. According to Blume’s email to The Herald, “many” TAs were already earning more than the minimum rate.

In the interim contract finalized with TALO last month, the University established a base hourly rate of $20 per hour for undergraduate TAs in the computer science department.

In addition to the minimum wage increase, Blume wrote that University Human Resources, which is conducting a “multi-year Student Employment Enhancement Initiative,” will work this semester to conduct a pay equity study of all hourly student workers and conduct focus groups with student workers.

The initiative aims to “further equity for students seeking employment with a preliminary focus on pay equity, and to collaborate with staff in (the Center for Career Exploration) to connect campus student work opportunities with student career goals,” she wrote.

Organizers with TALO celebrated the raise as a win for all student workers.

“We’re thrilled that TALO is already delivering wins for all undergraduate TAs on campus,” wrote Colton Rusch ’23, a graduated member of TALO’s organizing committee. 

“This (raise) is a concrete step toward our stated goal of improving working conditions for all TAs and student workers on campus,” wrote Joe Maffa ’25, another member of TALO’s organizing committee, in an email to The Herald. “We hope that this (raise) will serve as proof that unions work and that they work for everyone.”

“This is a great start, and an example of how TALO is benefiting even workers who are not CS TAs, since it’s their bargaining that prompted this campus-wide policy change,” Genevieve Baldwin '25 and Maddock Thomas '26 wrote in a statement from the University's Student Labor Alliance. “This wage increase is a victory, but we have to continue putting pressure on Brown to give its workers the rights, raises and respect they deserve as well as continue the fight for a wall-to-wall undergraduate union.”


Ashley Cai

Ashley Cai is a Senior Staff Writer from Los Altos, California covering the staff and student labor beat. She is a Brown-RISD Dual Degree studying computer science, IAPA and graphic design. She is also a member of The Herald's Tech Team.

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