On Tuesday, July 14th, a sea of CGE shirts, buttons and spirit gathered outside the Kerr Administration Building. We hung up a banner and milled around a bit, catching stragglers and the curious, before heading up the 5 flights of stairs to the nerve center of the OSU administration – the sixth floor.
Over 30 members of CGE crowded into the waiting area to deliver a message to Sabah Randhawa, the Provost and Executive Vice President for the University. Of course we just missed him, but we were assured that what we had to say would make it to his ears, and that message was this: Release the OSU bargaining team to bargain. A simple request for effective negotiations, yet this is proving very difficult to achieve.
For months the bargaining between the administration and graduate employees seems to have been stuck in neutral, a lot of noise and very little movement. And when it comes to the really big items, like fees, insurance and fair share, it appears that the administration’s bargaining team can’t actually negotiate over these items at the table without clearing it at the top. But the rub is that these are the items over which we must be the most efficient and cooperative, since they will determine the quality of life for graduate employees at OSU years to come and the time we have to get a contract is running out.
So hopefully our message to Sabah, to allow the administration’s team to make decisions on their own and to really engage with CGE in bargaining, will have been heard. And maybe, just maybe, this puppy will slip into first and start going somewhere.