Session 5: Wednesday, September 2nd
CGE: Ashley Bromley, Thomas Morrill, Nikki Wiseman, and Laura Syron.
OSU: David Blake, Donna Chastain, and Viki Dimick-Jackson
On September 1st, before our bargaining session, the OSU Bargaining Team met with higher OSU Administration to draft contract language that would meet our interests.
Once at the table, we spent the session reviewing OSU’s new proposal.
Highlights of OSU’s September 2nd proposed policy language:
Sick leave accrual available at the beginning of each academic term (pre-loaded);
- One hour of sick leave accrual per 30 hours worked;
- Up to 80 hours of sick leave accrual carry-over within 5 years of original appointment;
- Maximum of 40 hours of sick leave accrual in a fiscal year;
- Siblings included in family leave protection;
- Graduate employees who are eligible for multiple types of leave may take their leaves concurrently;paid leave must be exhausted first;
- Description of the leave policies and coverages that may apply to graduate assistants is referenced as: https://hr.oregonstate.edu/benefits/leaves/family-and-medical-leave-act-fmla/graduate-assistantships-family-medical-leave;
- Link is the only reference to Family Medical Leave;
- Members of the bargaining unit may donate and receive up to 30 hours of paid sick leave.
- Substitutes will be compensated at an hourly rate corresponding to the minimum salary in the contract ;
- Substitue work is not allowed if it would put someone over 0.49 FTE.
OSU will not agree to a policy in which Graduate Assistants who utilize paid sick leave are compensated to in instances when no one else is qualified to act as a substitute. The proposal did not include an alternative solution.
CGE’s responses to OSU’s September 2nd proposed policy language:
- Donation policy is a strong benefit and the proposed language needs only minimal revision;
- Language on the interaction between different types of leave had improved substantially since the last draft and fewer revisions are needed for the next version;
- We believe that Graduate Employees working at .49 FTE should be able to work roughly 5 hours as substitutes before moving above part-time employee status;
- OSU Bargaining Team agreed to investigate this issue at greater length;
- OSU has not spoken to CGE’s interest in having a paid sick leave policy that works for all Graduate Employees;
- OSU did not accept CGE’s proposed potential solution of allowing Graduate Employees to be compensated for acting as their own substitutes when they are the only person who can perform the work and they choose not to flex their time around sick leave.
- OSU did not propose any creative solutions to address this interest.
After the session ended, we spent the evening drafting a counterproposal, which we presented the following day.
Session 6: Thursday, September 3rd
CGE: Ashley Bromley, Thomas Morrill, and Laura Syron.
OSU: David Blake, Donna Chastain, and Viki Dimick-Jackson.
We began the session by presenting our counterproposal.
Highlights of CGE’s September 3rd Counterproposal:
- Slight increase in accrual rate: for every 0.5 FTE, 1 hour of paid sick leave is accrued;
- Graduate Employees who are act as substitutes will accrue leave for that time worked;
- This proposed increase creates some “cushion” for these instances of substitution;
- Clarification of language regarding how multiple types of leave interact and sick leave must be exhausted before entering into unpaid status;
- Clarification of language regarding donation of sick leave;
- Graduate Employees may donate to multiple people;
- If donation recipient fails to exhaust donated leave then unused donation(s) shall be returned to donating employee(s);
- Addition of proposal for sick leave payout;
- At end of each appointment period, Graduate Employees may choose to cash out unused sick leave paid out to them at their current salary rate, with payout of no more than 1/3 of the accrued leave;
- Revision to section on substitute work;
- In no case shall a Graduate Employee work over 259 hours per term;
- Addition of a table showing Graduate Employees’ FTE, corresponding regular hours worked in the 13 week appointment period, and subsequent maximum substitute hours available per term (e.g., at .20 FTE a Graduate Employee regularly works 104 hours per term and subsequently the maximum substitute hours available would be 155 hours, at .35 FTE the substitute hours would be 77 hours, and at .49 FTE substitute hours would be 4 hours).
Discussion of CGE’s Counterproposal:
After a caucus to review CGE’s counterproposal in detail, OSU’s Bargaining Team responded that they were generally in agreement with the counterproposal, with minor revisions to the language.
However, OSU would not agree to the partial payouts. They are concerned about setting a precedent for paying out leave. OSU does not currently payout leave to any other types of employees.
So, CGE and OSU continued to discuss CGE’s interest in the sick leave policy benefiting all Graduate Employees. CGE stated that while the law allows for employees to choose whether or not they flex their time during sickness, Graduate Employees whose work cannot be done by a substitute are forced to flex their time in order to make up the work later. This constitutes a burden that is uncompensated. The OSU Bargaining Team’s responses to this concern included: 1.) the benefit of sick leave is that one’s job is protected if one needs to take time off work due to ill health, 2.) that many employees in professional and “one deep” positions (i.e., the only person qualified to complete their job tasks) have to flex their time out of necessity, 3.) employees have the ability to donate their unused sick leave to others, 4.) if OSU considered payout of leave then it would be a potentially enormous financial burden to the University.
After this discussion, both teams caucusedseparately.
Both CGE and OSU identified an issue with CGE’s counterproposal than needed to be addressed: Graduate Employees who work as substitutes would increase their sick leave accrual. Therefore, CGE proposed that the maximum substitute hours available per term be capped according to the Graduate Employee’s FTE and correspond to the set accrual rate (e.g., at .20 FTE a Graduate Employee could substitute up to 16 hours per term, at .35 FTE up to 28 hours per term, and at .49 FTE up to 4 hours per term) maximum substitute hours available per term would be 155 hours, and at .49 FTE the maximum substitute hours would be 4 hours).
Previously, CGE had proposed the ability for Graduate Employees to act as their “own substitutes” but had not provided concrete language. So, CGE proposed new language: “Graduate Employees working in one-deep positions who choose not to flex their work schedule around sick leave shall be compensated as their own substitutes at the hourly rate corresponding to the monthly minimum salary established in Section 1 of this Article.” The OSU Bargaining Team began to identify changes that could be made to the wording, rather than the intent of the language. Hopefully this means we have found some common ground. At this point, the session ran over time, so had to be wrapped up.
At the next session OSU will provide further revisions and responses to CGE’s proposals.
Next bargaining sessions:
Friday, September 11th, 8-10
Wednesday, September 16th, 8:00 – 10:00
Tuesday, September, 22nd, 3:00 – 5:00
Friday, September 25th, 2:00 – 4:00
Friday, October 2nd, 2:00 – 4:00
Be there to support the Bargaining Team!