CGE’s bargaining team met with OSU’s team on Monday, April 2 for our second bargaining session. After presenting our broad interests at the first session, this was our first opportunity to really try out IBB and begin to craft mutually beneficial policies.
Overall, this was a really productive session. We were pleased that OSU had brought witnesses that provided meaningful context for our conversations, and we felt we were able to work toward mutually beneficial solutions. We’re looking forward to moving forward on each of the areas discussed in more detail below, and crafting specific language that best meets everyone’s needs. So far—two big thumbs up to interest based bargaining!
Here are the ideas we worked on:
Creating a CGE Position on the University Health and Safety Committee (UHSC) — In the last session, we demonstrated an interest in having a more prominent role for grad employees in dealing with lab and workplace safety issues. Heidi Melton (Human Resources, former UHSC Chair) attended this session and helped lay out the current structure of the UHSC. She noted that there have been grad students on the committee in the past, but that they have not tended to maintain the commitment. Both CGE and OSU recognize an interest in having a grad serve on the UHSC. We pointed out that having that position appointed by CGE would better guarantee that grads would remain active on the committee. Moreover, we suggested that having a direct link between CGE and the UHSC would be a proactive solution that could preempt grievances and other workplace safety issues. OSU will make a request of Mark McCambridge (OSU VP Finance and Administration) on our behalf to pursue the creation of a designated spot on the committee for a CGE representative. OSU also seemed willing to revisit the 3 year term of service to accommodate the fact that few grads would be able to commit to a 3 year appointment.
Increasing Faculty/ Staff Parking Permits for Grad Employees — At present, CGE is allotted 20 faculty/staff parking permits that can be purchased by interested grad employees. In the last few years, interest has outpaced demand, and CGE has released them by lottery. We suggested that in light of this and the general increase in parking demand, it might make sense to release more faculty/staff permits for grad employees. OSU brought Hank Kemper from TAPS to give a little background on the parking situation on campus and to help explore other ways of addressing our concerns. Ultimately, it seemed that many grad employees would still desire the opportunity to get a faculty/staff permit. Hank seemed to suggest that this would be manageable as our 20 permits are only a “drop in the bucket”. OSU was unsure if increasing the number of permits available would effectively address our needs, but they didn’t seem opposed to the idea. Vicci Henry from OSU’s team and folks from CGE will attend the Parking Committee meeting at 10 AM on April 20 in MU 207 to state our case, and we’ll move forward from there. If increasing the permits available to grad employees won’t significantly burden the system and the committee approves the request, OSU is amenable to the change.
E-Campus Tuition Waiver Letter of Agreement — In January, we signed a letter of agreement establishing a one-year trial program that would give all graduate employees access to E-Campus courses under the standard tuition waiver. The letter also details that CGE will be included in the decision as to whether or not to continue the program at the expiration of the trial period. In bargaining today, we simply agreed to add that letter of agreement to the contract.
3 Credit Post-Employment Tuition Waiver — At the first session, we mentioned an interest in providing 3 credit tuition waivers to grads who, for whatever reason, need to defend the term after their employment ends. OSU seemed to agree that this could be beneficial both to grads and the University, as it would remove a financial obstacle to degree completion. We don’t yet know how many people such a wavier might apply to, but the OSU team has been looking into figuring out an approximate number. We agreed that idea might best be addressed by a subcommittee that could look into possible funding models and find a workable and equitable solution. CGE and OSU were able to draft a document that laid out the interest and questions that would need to be addressed. The subcommittee will get to work on figuring out the practicalities of how such a plan would be funded—centrally or through departments—and what mechanisms would need to be in place to make this feasible.
Up Next — Here’s what we’ll discuss on April 11th:
Health insurance (witness: George Voss)
Family & medical leave for grad employees (witness: Brenda McComb)
Update on the 3 credit post-employment tuition waiver
Update on the UHSC CGE position
Future Dates — Clear your calendars for these dates (exact times soon, will be in the afternoon):
April 11th, April 20th, May 11th, May 16th, & May 25th