The administration was ready to sign the new parking article, but our lead negotiator was not present at the table. We agreed to make a tentative agreement on Wednesday’s session. OSU was also interested in finding a solution to the availability of gender neutral bathrooms; CGE agreed to come back with a proposal on Wednesday.
We asked if OSU was still interested in our notice of appointment language for Article 9. They have not dismissed the idea entirely, but they still want more time to figure it out.
After a caucus, Sherm Bloomer was present at the bargaining table to present the administration’s estimated costs for the new contract. David Blake made it clear that we could take the items listed on the cost estimate as a financial offer. However, the OSU offer has moved very little from their original proposal in June.
The estimate/proposal does not include many of the benefits recommended by HIAC, does not increase OSU’s contribution to employee healthcare premiums, and does not feature cost of living adjustments for all employees. It is worth mentioning that OSU proposed two 3% increases to the minimum salary rate in September 2015 and September 2016.
We are told that the OSU Deans are “unanimously opposed to cost of living adjustments”, preferring to condition these adjustments (not raises, mind you) on some marker of academic progress. This is difficult for CGE to agree to because we have no control over the variable markers of academic progress used by different departments, and we have no authority to inquire as to the status and application of these markers, since that is FERPA protected information. Also, while the administration is comfortable mandating a minimum of 0.3 FTE for graduate employees who teach their own classes, they claim that 0.375 would be too much time commitment. OSU did not explain its feelings about graduates already employed at 0.375 FTE and above to teach classes.
OSU’s team stated a desire to increase graduate employee support by roughly 3-3.5% each year, on par with other employees. The proposal they brought to the table was estimated at 4.1% increase, including the increasing cost of tuition and increased graduate enrollment, both of which are obviously not benefits actually felt by existing graduate employees. OSU projected our previous proposal to represent a 6% increase in investment in graduate employees. After bargaining, we were contacted about an error in the calculations, which changes those numbers specifically. It now appears that their proposal, including the changing cost of tuition and number of waivers, represents an approximately 3.6% increase in graduate investment, or about $2.1 million, instead of the $2.6 million they’ve indicated they are able to spend. Our last proposal is actually not too far off from the $2.6 million they’ve indicated they could spend, so we’re hopeful that we’re close to a financial deal. Our team is continuing to refine our financial estimate, and has agreed to bring a counter proposal to the next bargaining session.
We asked OSU to bring contract language regarding Ecampus, fees, and notice of appointment. OSU plans to have that ready on Monday.
[Post by Thomas Morrill]