Monday was the first official bargaining session between CGE and OSU Admin. We began with introductions, and then got started right away!
Actually, that’s not true.
After the two groups introduced themselves, the Admin team asked for a caucus, since they hadn’t had time to meet before our first session.
So we waited, happily chatting with the CGE members who came to support our bargaining team.
And we waited, refreshing our beverages, munching on popcorn, checking email.
And we waited… until almost 40 minutes had passed.
At that point, we requested they return to the table so we could begin talking about our respective bargaining interests. The Admin team presented their interests first, outlining which Articles they wanted to discuss during bargaining. They had some “housekeeping” changes to Articles 1, 3, 9, 11, and 23, concerning dates and minor changes in wording. They acknowledged that they would also like to discuss Article 11 (Salary) in greater detail later on. The Admin team proposed to strike Article 22 (Parking) due to changes in how that system is administered (we’ll give you more information on that as soon as possible!). They mentioned Article 26 (Work-Related Injuries), and how the language needs to be brought into compliance with Federal law. Finally, the Admin team wanted to talk more about Article 28 (Insurance). They felt that there are a number of mutual interests here, especially concerning re-enrollment of existing graduate employees. In addition to making changes to these existing articles, they were also keen to discuss issues around child care. We plan to begin this progress by checking in with the OSU Child Care Task Force.
After hearing the Administration’s interests, we presented our own. This year, we are allowed to bargain the entire contract, not just a limited number of articles. We presented Admin with this list of interests, in the hope of creating a FAIRER contract for a FAIRER OSU:
We began with Family-Friendly Employment. We would like to make graduate school more accessible to people with families. That means providing employment and educational options for partners and dependents, as well as childcare options for graduate employees.
Next, we talked about creating an Adequate and Safe Workspace for graduate employees, and how we need to ensure our graduate employees are provided safe work spaces and safe field experiences. We think graduate teaching assistants should have enough space to meet with students and hold office hours.
We’re also interested in bolstering International Student Support. International students often incur fees and other expenses when they move to the US to study. We think it would benefit both parties to alleviate some of that financial burden, and we want to help international graduate employees access resources and opportunities to improve their professional development.
Reliable Employment is also important to us. We know how frustrating late work assignments can be, which is why we would like more secure employment arrangements for graduate employees.
Like the Admin team, we’re also interested in Equitable Healthcare for graduate employees. Both teams share similar frustrations with the enrollment process. Additionally, we would like to see an improvement in the affordability of health insurance. And we’re also concerned with providing continuous insurance coverage for people who experience gaps in employment (over summer or otherwise!).
Finally, we let Admin know we’re interested in having a conversation about Real Compensation and what that means for graduate employees. Despite the ever increasing cost of living in Corvallis, we feel that OSU can recognize the value of graduate employees by paying a living wage.
Our next meeting is Friday February 5th. We’ll be starting the bargaining process with health insurance, including discussing the option of moving to automatic enrollment! Hope to see you there!