CGE Feedback Form
CGE Weekly Update
CGE will meet weekly with OSU over all matters pertaining to COVID-19 and changes at the university. We will provide updates on these meetings below. We strongly encourage you to use the above form for all questions, comments, feedback, complaints, and anything else you wish to be addressed at these meetings so we can make progress on these matters.
We will start merging our most recent meeting updates for ease of reading.
Last updated on March 31, 2020.
Additional utility costs for graduate employees
A number of members have expressed concern with the additional cost of their utilities with increased internet usage. OSU has not indicated they are willing or considering providing compensation for these costs. CGE did suggest OSU expands its existing WiFi coverage and create zones for people to work on and near campus. This will be an ongoing conversation.
CGE and OSU will move negotiation sessions online via Zoom. Workers in our bargaining unit (GTAs and GRAs), and likely our fellows that are Associate Members, will be able to view the sessions through a secure link. We have two confirmed negotiation dates on the calendar for April 17, 2-5pm and April 29, 12-3pm. We are attempting to schedule an earlier session and will have updates soon.
Negotiation sessions might be shorter in time and more frequent, but these are also areas we’ll have to visit as we proceed.
Delays in Graduation:
We have had GEs inform us that their original graduation date has now been pushed back, and as a result they will not have an appointment for the term they will be defending. This means, with the current policies of OSU, they would be obligated to enroll in at least 3-credits and pay for the tuition of these credits in order to defend. We have brought this to the attention of OSU management, and are trying to come to an agreement about waiving these costs or removing this policy for GEs impacted.
Essential vs. non-essential work
CGE reiterated our concerns with the lack of guidance provided by central OSU over what constitutes essential and non-essential work. OSU has pushed this determinations onto individual colleges and departments, which often enables individual supervisors to make these determinations and leads to mixed information and uneven decisions. We were told by OSU that they will follow-up on this matter and seek to address the need for more guidance on this matter.
Guarantee of GE contracts:
We have heard concerns about TA positions being honored should enrollment drop in courses. OSU was not willing to guarantee that all jobs would be maintained for Spring term, but we as a union will keep pushing for this agreement until we are given it.
Online Course Delivery:
Decisions to move courses online is determined by the college and department units. Many of our GEs are concerned about the intellectual property of their course content, as well as the digital security of using platforms such as Zoom for course delivery. If your supervisor/instructor has not asked your permission to record courses tell your CGE Steward or notify our staff. You are not obligated to record any of your Zoom courses, and need to be given the opportunity to opt-out of being recorded for a course where you are not the primary instructor. We have not received concrete agreements from OSU indicating that they will not use any of your course material that they can gather through Zoom (because unfortunately Zoom indiscriminately collects and retains data to an extent that is unknown and regardless if sessions are recorded on your end).
Paid Sick Leave and Usage:
In addition to your already accumulated sick leave, you will now have an automatic bank of sick leave to use for Spring term. This amount is pro-rated based on your current FTE. (.30FTE= 24 hours; .40FTE= 32 hours; .49FTE= 39.2 hours). OSU has this page which guides you through how to utilize your sick leave. You’ll want to click on the link for “Time Off Request”
Sick leave can be used for personal health as well as health of family members and dependents. Supervisors have been asked to trust all employee requests for using sick leave without questions.
OSU has so far denied giving this paid sick leave to graduate students on fellowships. We are pursuing the prospect of reaching a Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with the university to extend this sick leave to fellows.
Summer and Fall term:
We have asked OSU if they anticipate campus will remain primarily online for summer and fall terms, and they have informed us they have not had these conversations yet or made any determinations on the matter.
Spring term online impacts on courses and field work
We pushed OSU to make guarantees that all GTA/GRAs under a contract until Spring have those contracts honored regardless if their field work is suspended or if their courses are cancelled due to enrollment drops. OSU would not commit to such a guarantee, but made comments about working with colleges/departments to ensure that reassignments happen rather than loss of jobs. OSU was also not able to provide us with a concrete deadline for when they would make a decision on this request for guarantees. CGE will continue pushing the university toward this agreement.
OSU has updated their webpage with the following instructions on travel reimbursements:
- A traveler purchased their own airfare and received a credit voucher from an airline due to a cancellation. Do we reimburse them for the flight expenses they incurred? Updated March 18, 2020 Travel credits should not be reimbursed since the traveler will have the personal benefit to use them at a later date. Travelers should only be reimbursed for out-of-pocket cost expenses, which is usually the cancellation fee. We encourage you to check with your travel provider as many are waiving change or cancellation fees.
- Direct-billed flights are being credited back in the traveler’s name, yet the funding for the travel was covered by the department. How can we get the credits back to the department? Updated March 18, 2020 Currently, in the event a credit is issued back in the traveler’s name, the contracted agency and our central office coordinates with the individual and/or department to see if the unused ticket credit can be used for a future travel date. However, under the current circumstances we are examining whether there may be more flexibility with the university’s contracted travel agency to provide alternative options.
March 13 Update:
OSU Campus Closure:
At this moment OSU is not planning to close campus and indicated a desire to keep it open if possible. Childcare operations and services provided by the Human Services Resource Center (HSRC) currently remain open. The Corvallis School District has provided information on how to receive free meals during their closures at this link. OSU will continue to assess the situation, and a university closure is a possibility for Spring term. OSU was not able to provide at this time any concrete information on what services or resources would be provided should a closure occur.
Online Course Delivery:
Decisions to move courses online is determined by the college and department units. If you have heard nothing from your college or department about moving to online delivery please request information immediately. Moving from in-person to online delivery should not be treated the same as conducting an eCampus course. If you are the instructor of record you are able to determine the best methods for teaching your course delivered online and are not obligated to record lectures or deliver materials in a way different than what you believe is the best method for instruction. OSU will be providing access to Zoom for delivering lectures.
Decisions over “essential vs. non-essential” field work are also to be determined at the college and department level. However, we’ve heard a number of folks are receiving conflicting information from their supervisors or dept/college about what is essential and what is non-essential. For these scenarios we encourage you to communicate with CGE through this form so we can provide this feedback to OSU administration. We have also requested that they provide more clear guidance for colleges and departments on this matter to make the information more uniform.
Additional Work Time:
If you are doing additional work for any reason (including proctoring or time developing materials for online delivery) track your hours. We need a mechanism for demonstrating to OSU the additional amount of hours you are working. This time can be compensated. OSU is also asking faculty to volunteer additional time to help manage work loads. Track your hours and communicate with your department about how much time you are working. They will be responsible for staggering tasks, finding substitutes, and rearranging assignments to minimize the need for additional compensation. If you work more than your hours, tell CGE right away.
Costs for Online Access and other services:
We asked OSU if they would consider compensating employees for needing to upgrade their home internet services to account for changes in their work, and they indicated they had not considered this yet and did not provide a concrete answer about whether they would do this or not. CGE will be continuing to meet regularly with OSU, and should this issue arise for you we encourage you to use our online form to give us this information so we can make the case for additional compensation when needed. We have been notified that the City of Corvallis will not shut off water services for any unpaid bills (not certain for how long this will be a practice) and has this resource for helping low-income folks pay for city services.
Questions have been asked about additional time caring for animals for lab work. OSU is planning to request volunteers help support this work as a potential back-up plan, but in the meantime consider this labor part of your work hours and track your hours.
Evaluations and Assessments:
We brought up the concern that student evaluations over instruction could be harsher under these strenuous conditions and OSU said they are asking supervisors to consider the circumstances and weigh these evaluations with this in mind. We asked OSU how they plan to assess their effectiveness in supporting any work changes and they indicated primarily through feedback and comments received online through this form. We encourage you to use it often.
For now there are no decisions to change how bargaining is conducted. Updates will be sent immediately should changes be necessary. We will continue to meet with management to determine how to continue offering ways for you to participate in contact negotiations.