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SDSU teaching assistants, student workers protest benefit changes

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Posted at 11:48 AM, Jun 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-29 14:48:46-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – With signs in hand, teaching assistants and student workers gathered in front of the San Diego State University Book Store, collectively wanting to send a message to the university administration, asking them not to make changes to their upcoming benefits plan.

Brandie White has been teaching there since 2016. She says the university notified them about the changes.

"There's a vision of you'll work less, and you'll get more pay," White said. "It's a pay increase, and the time they're decreasing it enough, so we don't qualify for our benefits package."

And the loss of health benefits is something White says she can't risk having had to deal with a pregnancy scare in 2020 during online learning.

Just six months pregnant, her water broke, and because she had insurance, she got checked out immediately, which could have meant the difference between life and death for her baby.

Healthcare, she worries, TA's like her will no longer have under the new policy. She adds, "If I had not had that easy access, my baby would have died."
ABC 10News reached out to the university and received the following statement:

"It is not accurate to say that TA hours are merely being cut; any change in hours will be made to ensure that TA appointments align directly with teaching loads and expected instructional effort. "

It goes on to say, "SDSU has prepared to invest $1.5 million in additional funding to support graduate students in the next academic year."

Adding in terms of health care, "The university has ongoing plans to help ensure that graduate students have health insurance. To support our graduate students, the university has designated specific staff members to support them and to ensure that they have coverage - and that dependent care needs are also addressed - before the start of the fall semester. "

The union representing these workers says they filed a charge against the university with the State Employment Board.