The Barometer recently published a story about bargaining between our colleagues represented by SEIU and the OUS. You can read it here:
Wanting to correct some of this information, we wrote a letter to the editor, not realizing that the Barometer has stopped publishing for the summer. We hope that they’ll publish it once the term starts, but just in case they don’t, we’re publishing it here for your enjoyment.
It’s always a pleasure to read coverage of union activities on campus in the Barometer. Megan Campbell’s recent column on SEIU’s bargaining troubles was welcome news, until this sentence:
“There are three categories of employees at [OSU]: tenure-track faculty, professional faculty…and classified employees, who are represented by [SEIU].”
The Barometer has forgotten an important class of employees—the 1700 Graduate Teaching and Research Assistants (TAs & RAs) who teach undergraduate courses and labs and carry out research work that helps make OSU Oregon’s premier research institution.
Like classified staff, we are represented by a union—the Coalition of Graduate Employees (CGE)—and are currently engaged in contract negotiations. In March, CGE won a unit clarification election, which extended the CGE bargaining unit to include ~800 employees who were previously excluded from union representation and contract coverage. Since the election, we’ve been bargaining changes to our existing contract so that it addresses the needs of the newly represented employees. While CGE has proposed changes that would improve graduate employment, OSU has repeatedly offered language that would deny certain contract protections. At this time, we’re committed to reaching agreement at the bargaining table, rather than resorting to a strike. We believe that we can if OSU will engage with us as employees. We won’t have union representation and contract protections bargained out from beneath us.
We ask the same of the Barometer staff as we do of OSU administrators: recognize us as employees who perform valuable work on this campus.
President, Coalition of Graduate Employees, AFT Local 6069