As we await Admin’s proposed Articles 28 and 31, we begin reaching a bit of a lull. CGE presented Articles 12 and 25, as well as two letters of agreement (LOA). Admin presented Articles 9 and 10.
CGE presented first, starting with Article 12 (tuition waiver). Since Admin suggested we move the SEVIS/visa fee section, we did just that. We also included changes to the language that reduce the enrollment requirement for a graduate employee (working hourly, not on assistantship) from 9 to 3 credit hours. Finally, we added a section to address summer tuition remission. Since many graduate employees are now compelled to enroll in credits over the summer to be able to work on their research (due to new enforcement of an existing policy), we think that they should not be made to pay out of pocket. If a graduate employee is working for the university over the summer, do they not deserve the same remission they receive during the academic year? Paying $2000 out-of-pocket for the ability to access your office or meet with your advisor represents a significant erosion of the full tuition waiver. If a grad employee is compelled to enroll for summer credits, they need full remission—not just an inefficient pay out of some of the cost via a salary bump!
In Article 25 (health and safety), we retain our mention of personal locator beacons. We understand these won’t be necessary for everyone, but we also want to make it clear that they are available, and graduate employees who participate in field work have the right to ask for one.
We were also able to turn around the LOAs we received on Friday. In the Article 9 LOA, we made some minor changes with regards to organization, and included language to add hourly grad employees to the quarterly audit process, to make sure departments and Colleges are kept accountable on that kind of work, too. In the Labor Management meeting LOA, we just added some language highlighting the FTE adjustment topic.
Admin called for a caucus (which lasted 30 minutes), before presenting their language. It turns out they weren’t ready to present Article 9, so they just gave us Article 10 (work assignment), with CGE’s previous changes. Submitted without comment.
They also had some comments for us regarding the language we proposed earlier in the session. They questioned the inclusion of tuition remission for summer courses, and were worried that grad employees would just “take advantage” of it for their own gain. We reiterated that we’re only focused on those graduate employees who are compelled to take credits, who aren’t doing it just for funsies (who does that anyway?!). Admin also pointed out a potential issue with funding from grants, so we’ll see what response they give us when they present their counter proposal.
Admin also brought up the OR-OSHA section of Article 25. They were worried that there was no system in place for the appropriate people to know which buildings had graduate employees working in them, and therefore how could they give us the appropriate notice? They will be speaking with the Director of Risk, Patrick Hughes, about the hows and whos of OR-OSHA visitation.
Finally, we discussed our plans for the next session:
Admin will have Articles 9 and 25 (possibly 12), and one LOA.
CGE will have Article 10, and the other LOA.
Don’t forget, the bargaining team is there at the table fighting for your rights as graduate employees. If you’ve read even one of these blog posts, you should also try to come to one of our bargaining sessions! The more CGE members show up, the more Admin listens to what we have to say! Bring your friends, your kids, your grading, your lunch. Come support the work we’re doing on your behalf! Only two more sessions!
Remaining Bargaining Dates:
Friday, May 27
Friday, June 3
All sessions are 2:15-4:00 PM in the McLean Room of Westminster House (101 NW 23rd).