After a brief break in bargaining, the teams reconvened at the table on Monday to continue discussing the remaining matters. We began by TAing (tentatively agreeing) on the letter of agreement on ecampus tuition waivers which extends tuition waivers for ecampus courses for the upcoming academic year. This summer, our team has put the pressure on OSU to show up to the table with language addressing our interests. So on Monday, OSU arrived with a package proposal for Article 9 (Length of Appointment), Article 18 (Grievances), and a new Article 29 addressing schedule flexibility to allow for time away.
Though our team was satisfied with most of OSU’s proposal on Article 29, we remain steadfast in our belief that without explicit reference to the minimum number of days graduate employees can rearrange their schedules, we are not meeting our membership’s interests. In response to OSU’s language, our team quickly drafted language at the table that does precisely this. OSU’s team is insistent that setting forth a minimum will be disadvantageous to us because our advisors might read the minimum number of days as a maximum. We don’t believe that good advisors are going to stop being flexible because of this, and we recognize that setting forth the minimum is crucial to normalizing conversations with advisors about time away.
Since the last time we saw language on Article 18, nothing has changed. OSU’s sticking point is to exclude employees working on thesis research from the grievance procedure under the argument that it is related to academic standing/progress. This is extremely problematic because it is by filing grievances that CGE is able to enforce the terms of the contract. We are also resistant to this ongoing attempt to continue making distinctions among graduate employees. Furthermore, existing language in the contract already ensures that the University maintains sole rights over determining matters of academic standing, progress, etc. So far, OSU has not provided a clear argument for why new language is necessary in this area. We provided them with language that restates University rights in addressing issues related to academics and showed them sections of the contract that already do this. They seemed surprised that such language even exists in the current contract.
OSU’s proposal on Length of Appointment did nothing to address our interest of ensuring academic year long appointments to increase job stability. Not much discussion was to be had as OSU stated they will respond to our amended proposals on Articles 29 and 18 at the next session. We then looked at the remaining open articles and split them up between the two teams for proposals.
All in all it was a quiet session. Most notably, OSU seems to believe that we will be ready to sign off on the contract in the next two sessions. We appreciate the optimism and hope for the same, but our priority will always be to negotiate until our members’ interests are adequately addressed. We will be back at the table on Monday, August 26 1pm-3pm. Come out and show your support!
CGE Brew-Off Update: Mark your calendars now, folks! The finest tradition of the school year has found an official date. November 9, 2013 will be our 4th annual Brew-Off where homebrewers from CGE and University of Oregon’s GTFF will face off in a tasty, thirst-quenching duel. It’s not about winning, but we really want to keep our title!!
[Post by Sneha Gantla]