CGE held the fifth bargaining session with OSU on Monday, April 26th, 2010, at 1 PM in the Westminster House. (It was on pretty short notice, in case you’re wondering why you didn’t hear much about it.) On the agenda were Article 9 – Appointments, and Article 11 – Workload.
One quick note, before going into detail about the session: The bargaining team has tried pretty hard to get as far as we can without asking the membership to do more than come observe sessions. It became pretty apparent during the session that this isn’t working anymore, as the OSU team isn’t putting any real effort into coming up with solutions. They seem to be more interested in stalling. Expect to hear more from your Rep or the bargaining team about what you can do to work for a swift resolution and a good contract in the near future.
There were no formal proposals exchanged; instead, OSU brought a guest to talk about OSU’s hiring practices as is and the teams had an hour-long discussion. The discussion centered around CGE’s proposal to require that about 30 positions, all outside academic departments, be posted online when units are seeking to fill those positions. We thought the solution would be pretty straight-forward. Instead, we were told that it would be a huge amount of work no matter how we did it. Either that or we could do nothing, or accept positions being posted in a place that’s not accessible to incoming grads and that many current grads have not heard of. Basically, we heard the words “no” and “can’t” a lot.
In the end, we agreed to continue the discussion later, and we’re going to dig in and do some research on how to make this work. It’s somewhat inexplicable to the bargaining team that OSU would dig their heels in so much on this; one can only imagine the fit they would have thrown if we’d made more than a modest proposal.
At the end of the previous session, OSU had agreed to give us a proposal on Article 11. During that session, we’d had a productive discussion that culminated in the idea of a cap of 15% of one’s hours during any given week and 85% of one’s hours during the term. It seemed reasonable to expect OSU to make a proposal along those lines – remember, the point is to give graduate employees more tools in those cases where people are being overworked, as well as help insure that grads aren’t asked to work 13 weeks’ worth of hours in 11 weeks, and we thought we had made that clear during the discussion. Instead, OSU’s proposed solution to the problem of hour distribution did not mention anything we had discussed. It was a single sentence that was nothing more than your typical, unenforceable contract language. Rather than argue with OSU about the relative uselessness of their language and how they ever could have thought proposing such language would have been acceptable, we simply ignored it and presented our own. They agreed to take our proposal and check with department heads and deans to see if it would be workable, and that’s where the session ended.
The next session is scheduled for Friday, May 7th, in the Memorial Union, and starts at 2 PM. As mentioned at the top of the post, we’ve hit the point where nice words aren’t getting us very far, so expect to start hearing from the bargaining team and your Reps soon about more actively supporting the bargaining team.