After Session 9 last Thursday, we entered bargaining on Monday hopeful that we were close to an understanding on how to deal with workload issues for those employed to perform their own thesis research. Though they had suggested they would, OSU failed to bring an idea about how to make stronger position descriptions work together with Article 11 language to define workload for these employees. CGE’s team did have a workload plan ready that involved existing language around workload and position descriptions and a new letter of agreement on setting up an academic grievance procedure for research workload (suggested by their team and the Graduate School). After hearing us out, OSU’s team went into a long caucus. When they returned from caucus, they asked a few questions about how this grievance procedure would work and then asked for another long caucus. After this second caucus, OSU’s team came back ready to revise earlier language they had proposed. Their revisions were encouraging and largely in line with what we’d asked for—including recognizing that work toward academic progress “may or may not” also be work as described in the contract. Our team agreed to clean up the language we’d worked out and to come back with what we understood would be language both teams could agree upon.
We came back to the bargaining table the next day with facilitator Julie Kettler present. After spending some time rehashing the last few sessions for Julie, we got into the language we’d brought for OSU. OSU’s team then let us know that they’d reserved their full reservations for when Julie was present. Instead of agreeing to the language we’d mostly crafted together the day before, they reiterated their earlier concerns about the abuse of the employment grievance procedure, worries about grads invoking wage & hour law, and discomfort with having an independent arbitrator potentially involved in what they view as purely academic concerns. We tried to clarify that we are only trying to maintain employment grievance rights for that portion of the work that one is employed to do. We also expressed hesitation about relinquishing all grievance rights for these employees on just the hope that the Faculty Senate will approve an academic grievance procedure administered through the Graduate School. Most of the rest of this session was spent in caucus with Julie moving between the two rooms. OSU agreed to our language in Article 9 (which represented no substantive changes), but continued to hedge on the issue of providing any workload protections or employment grievance procedure for those employees paid to perform research on their own thesis or dissertation project. Julie provided some ideas for moving toward common ground, but OSU’s return to a stauncher stance on excluding new unit employees from workload protections and the grievance procedure left our team pretty disheartened. Both teams were sent away with homework to come back to the table next Monday, June 10 with a “creative” solution. We’ll be meeting this weekend to work on this solution. If you have any ideas, feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Doughnut Report [Ashley’s]:
Afternoon tots >> morning doughnuts.