Friday’s session opened with disappointment. You’ll remember OSU’s financial proposal from last session, the one that was mostly pretty OK. At Friday’s session we gave a counter proposal. We drafted a timeline for the 21% increase to the minimum salary OSU offered, proposed cost of living adjustments, a fixed cost child care pilot program, the works.

Well, it turns out that the proposal we got last week was not actually the proposal that OSU’s team meant to make. Now, how does this happen? OSU has told us that they estimate how the new contract language would impact their 2014-2015 budget.. There’s a single member of the OSU team that manages the estimation, and this person was not able to come to the last session.

So in his absence, the lead negotiator for OSU gave us a written proposal that the administration now refuses to follow through on. Even though we were told this proposal was on the table, OSU is attempting to renege. It’s clear that the OSU team didn’t do their homework if the lead negotiator doesn’t know what’s going on. So what were they supposed to have told us last time?

Rather than increase the minimum salary rate, OSU wants to “solve” the pay issue by mostly phasing out 0.4 FTE appointments and drafting a different minimum salary for higher (0.4-0.49) FTE employees. First off, you can’t make contract language about not hiring at 0.4 FTE. Moreover, as a union, we cannot agree to dividing our bargaining unit into tiers.  We’re bargaining for a raise to the minimum salary rate that benefits members at all FTE levels.

Ultimately, we wasted the last bargaining session over OSU’s failure to communicate, and we’ll need to take more time getting back on track. Now, the OSU team did let it slip that they’re expecting the minimum salary to continue increasing after September, which is currently the last contractual increase to the minimum. They have not been able to articulate yet just how much they see the minimum salary increasing. We continue to propose the ~7% anuual increases to the minimum salary in each of the next three years that they initially (though mistakenly) offered us on May 22.

Trying to alleviate the frustration, CGE brought some of its non-financial issues to the table. We talked about making gender neutral bathrooms more available on campus. In many cases, it would be as easy as installing a door lock and changing a sign on the door. It’s already been done in Snell Hall and Peavey, and there are several other buildings on campus with similar layouts. OSU was very open to the idea, and both teams felt good about getting at least one thing accomplished.

Lots of our constituents have a problem knowing they can expect their appointment to continue. Frequently, these people get their notice of appointment late, which really slows down other paperwork, like their insurance and tuition waiver. We want stricter language in the contract about the notice of appointment. We gave OSU some sample language from other contracts; they said they’ll look into it.

We’ve drafted some contract language about notice of appointment for the bargaining session tomorrow (Wednesday June 18). Come to Westminster House on Wednesday from 11:30 to 1:00 to see how OSU takes our proposal. (Unless they got confused about what they can afford, that is.)


[Post by Thomas Morrill]

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