Thursday afternoon, we reached a tentative agreement on the contract we’ve been bargaining with the University since March!

While the bargaining team has already signed off on this contract, it won’t become official until you—the membership—ratify it.    We will hold a contract ratification meeting beginning at 3pm on Friday, October 4th in Westminster House.  The meeting will include a full explanation of all of the changes in the contract and will provide an opportunity for discussion.  At the conclusion of the meeting, the ratification vote will begin. All members are eligible to vote in the ratification vote.  To accommodate busy schedules, voting will remain open in the CGE office through Tuesday, October 8 at 8pm.    We strongly encourage you to vote to ratify this contract.  A brief explanation of the changes to the contract follows.

The new contract:

Extends all the protections, rights, and benefits of the existing contract to new bargaining unit members (mostly RAs).  Much of bargaining was spent on the defensive as OSU tried to remove workload and grievance protections from many RAs.  We dug our heels in, and we’re happy to report that we’re emerging with a contract that provides equally for all graduate employees.

Guarantees a minimum of 15 days per academic year to be taken as leave.  We fought for this language to guarantee that all graduate employees could take time away from work, and we believe this language is especially important to international graduate employees who need to make longer trips home.

Creates a new academic grievance procedure within the Graduate School to address “unreasonable research effort” requirements, while maintaining an employee’s right to file an employment grievance through CGE.

Adds sexual orientation to the class of discrimination grievances that can be filed with the University.

Guarantees that the University will meet with us to discuss the inclusion of the Medical & Family Leave Policy in the contract. We weren’t able to have the Medical & Family Leave Policy added to the contract in this round of negotiations, but we’ve agreed to a Letter of Agreement that commits both parties to meeting to work toward this goal in the coming months.

Extends eCampus tuition waivers for graduate employees through the 2013-2014 academic year.

Requires departments to designate a point person for work space and supplies and sets up a procedure for requesting space and supplies that aren’t readily available.  Many graduate employees have had trouble securing the space and supplies necessary to perform their jobs.  This language will help us know where space and supplies are insufficient, so we can begin to address those needs.

These contract negotiations are the final stages of the now two year long Recognize All Campaign to extend union rights and contract protections to all graduate employees.  We couldn’t be happier to finally have a contract (upon ratification) that provides for and protects ALL of OSU’s graduate employees.  We couldn’t have gotten to this agreement without the hard work, dedication, and tenacity of our bargaining team.  So–one more time–thanks to Danny Ritter, Elizabeth Hardardt, Sneha Gantla, Daniel Holder, Joey Hulbert, Forrest Parker, Eric Coker, Ashley Bromley, and Eben Pullman.  And to all of you who worked to make the RA Campaign a success—we wouldn’t even be at the bargaining table if it weren’t for all of your effort.

In Solidarity with ALL Graduate Assistants,
Elizabeth “Lizz” Hardardt
CGE Vice President of Collective Bargaining and Grievances
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences GTA

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