Last Friday’s bargaining session was one of those sessions that didn’t look like much but might turn out to be important.  We continued discussing announcements of grad assistant job openings and workload issues, and we delved briefly into the more technical dues deduction procedure.  The CGE bargaining team left the session feeling that the discussion was substantive and encouraging overall.

Article 9 – Job Opening Announcements

The CGE bargaining team came to the table with a proposal on advertising (some) open grad assistant positions that was substantially different than our previous proposals.  In fact, we basically wrote down what the employer had been suggesting we do for the past two sessions: that the 30 or so positions not housed in academic units have job announcement info sent to OSU Today, the daily email that goes out all over campus.

Did they agree to their own idea?  No, of course not.  Instead, they claimed that no one at the university has the authority to require hiring units send position announcements to OSU Today and instead suggested that the contract simply “recommend” non-academic employing departments post grad assistant job openings in OSU Today.

From the bargaining team’s perspective, a contract is not the place to put language like “recommended.”  It is the place for language like “required.”  So we’re sticking to that.  And, after a lengthy discussion about this and an open expression of exasperation at the OSU bargaining team’s apparent unwillingness to engage the CGE bargaining team on this issue in a meaningful way, OSU made what appeared to be a sincere commitment to look into the feasibility of this.  We will see whether anything meaningful comes of that commitment.

Article 11 – Workload

The two bargaining teams had some discussion on the proposal made by CGE at the previous session, and the CGE bargaining team continued to make what we think is a compelling case for reasonable restrictions on the number of hours grad employees can be required to work during the 11-week academic term.  Unfortunately, it appeared that the OSU team hadn’t done enough work in the two weeks since the previous session to actually be able to reach any decisions on anything.  However, they did agree to come back with another proposal on this issue at a future session.

If you’re getting the sense that not much happened during this session, you might be right.  At this point, it certainly appears that OSU’s bargaining team is simply not doing the requisite work they need to do to make progress in bargaining.  They, of course, deny this, and so far, we’re taking them at their word.  During this session, the CGE team noticed signs that OSU may be nearing a point where they can agree on some of the issues we’ve been discussing, but we have been optimistic about this in the past with nothing to show for it.  The next few sessions, as we try to wrap up non-economic items and move into economics, should prove to be telling.

We’ll see you at the next session, on Monday, May 17th, at 1 PM in the Westminster House, where the CGE offices are located.

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