This bargaining session opened with housekeeping topics and followed with our counter-proposal as detailed below.
- 2% Cost of living adjustments (COLA), every year, for every employee
OSU’s bargaining team has given consideration to a COLA, and given that we are part-time employees, how to keep our treatment consistent with that of the faculty. Currently, we see an issue in that faculty receive a COLA only if they meet certain performance standards. A COLA is awarded only to “fully satisfactory” faculty members. This is likely why OSU proposed the degree progress raises that we view as insufficient as they offer no salary adjustments for masters students and fail to offset cost of living changes (see the previous blog post). We responded to OSU and suggested that if they would like to counter-propose language that addresses “fully satisfactory” progress in regards to COLA, that is an option. Howeve,r we feel that such language would be redundant as OSU currently assesses academic progress when they renew assistantships. CGE feels that there is a breakdown with the bargaining language in that OSU views a COLA as a raise. A COLA is an adjustment to salary that reflects an increase in the cost of living, not a raise.
- Medical and family leave (MFL) language in the contract
In 2012 contract negotiations, a letter of agreement was included in the collective bargaining agreement to state that a policy would be developed for MFL. The policy has now been in place for a few years, but the terms have not been added to the contract. We have proposed that the terms of the Medical & Family Leave Policy be added to the collective bargaining agreement to make the terms of the policy enforceable for all graduate employees.
CGE explained that we don’t need to have a perfect system to implement MFL, but that we are striving for language in the contract that represents our current policy and allows us to bargain for future improvements.
- 0.375 FTE for employees responsible for instructing one section of a course and 0.49 for those teaching two
We proposed language to define who qualifies to be called the “instructor” of a course. The proposed definition was that an individual need not be the instructor of record, but rather the person primarily responsible for interacting with students in a non-recitation or non-lab section of a class. In previous sessions, several witnesses testified that instructing a course requires at least 15 hours per week. We strongly believe that the employee’s FTE should reflect that.
- We accept OSU’s proposal for a permanent Ecampus tuition AND FEE waiver, but would like to see communication to departments that states, “OSU departments do NOT have the right to discourage use of Ecampus”
OSU responded that they do not think the contract is the place to address this, and we agree. We are open to discussing OSU’s approach, and look forward to seeing how and when they communicate this to the departments.
- We accept OSU’s proposal to cover 90% of academic year AND summer fees, as well as other one-time fees.
- We accept OSU’s proposal to contribute 85% of dependent and partner insurance premiums, but propose they extend their commitment by also raising premium contributions for employees to 90% AND accept the full HIAC proposal of benefit enhancements.
We are grateful that OSU showed some transparency and stated that their initial calculations underestimated the cost of increasing family premium contributions by about 30%. They also clearly indicated that the higher cost will not cause them to back off from their proposal. We are very proud to work with OSU to offer additional coverage to families as this is a huge benefit that will improve the quality of life for many employees. We are striving both for better coverage from PacificSource and to decrease the cost of health care, not only for families (from 50% coverage to 85%), but for employees (85% to 90%) as well. We recognize the movement by OSU and feel that we have made substantial progress; we appreciate the progress, but we would like to see a bit more.
Let’s see what they say, next Tuesday, June 22nd at 8:30 am.
[Post by Lizz Hardardt]