As you might expect, we continued to exchange proposed contract language. On Friday, Admin presented Articles 1, 2, 9, 10, 11, 25, and two letters of agreement (LOA), while CGE presented Articles 8, 9, 10, and 28.
Articles 1 and 2 were housekeeping changes from last week. Admin presented Section 3 of Article 9 (length of appointment), which was a repeat of what they’d given us previously (before we had a chance to respond)! After some communication, Admin agreed to bring a new proposal that responded to the version of Section 3 that CGE had planned to present later in the session. Admin also presented Article 10 with one small change to Section 2 (notice of assignment). Their Article 11 (salary) proposal was strangely familiar, with the same 2% cost of living adjustment that we’ve seen from them from the beginning. They advised a move of the SEVIS/visa fee language from Article 11 to Article 12 (tuition waiver). Finally, they presented Article 25 (health and safety) with most of our additions crossed out. They didn’t feel that mentioning personal locator devices was appropriate, since not all graduate employees would need them. They also felt that asking for notice when OR-OSHA announces inspections on campus was not feasible.
Admin also presented two letters of agreement with their proposed contract language. Letters of Agreement are records of more temporary agreements appended to the end of the contract. They help spell out the intent of the contract language, set expectations, and plan for future meetings on contract items. Admin’s first LOA was for Article 9, and outlined a number of ways in which Colleges could standardize the appointment process and normalize the academic year-long appointment (moving away from term-to-term appointments and hourly work that should be covered by an appointment). The second LOA actually covered a number of articles. The letter calls for monthly Labor Management meetings, where CGE and OSU could sit down and discuss various topics, including health and safety, FTE adjustment, appointment issues, etc. This is a practice we have already been (mostly) following, but this would formalize the practice.
After Admin presented all of their contract language, we caucused briefly before continuing. Now CGE was able to present their language for the session.
First, CGE presented Article 8 (union rights). We agreed with Admin on some issues, but maintain our interest in having a CGE representative in the University Budget Committee. Since CGE members are both employees and students, we could lend a valuable voice to the committee. Having a CGE member on the committee would also make the bargaining process potentially smoother during future contract negotiations, since we would have more insight into the budgeting process.
Next, we discussed Section 3 of Article 9 (the one Admin presented twice). While we understand that going through HR might slow down the appointment process, we’re interested in making sure that the most vulnerable graduate employees are not being taken advantage of, and that requires some level of oversight.
We also addressed Section 5 of Article 10 (work space), where we accepted Admin’s proposed changes with only a slight modification.
Next, we moved to Article 28 (health insurance). Long story short, our proposal focuses on making the enrollment process seamlessly easy for graduate employees. Forcing everyone to fill out a form for summer coverage (like we do now) will be a disaster once everyone is automatically enrolled for the academic year. So we’re fighting for automatic enrollment during summer, too. To make that possible, we’re suggesting 100% premium coverage for summer, and balancing that out with a 93% premium coverage during the academic year (so averaging 95% over a full calendar year). We also maintain our interest in having OSU pay more for low-income graduate employees (those who meet requirements for the free Oregon Health Plan).
For the next session:
Admin will have Articles 9 and 10.
CGE will have Articles 12, 25, and two LOAs.
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!