New session, same old waiting room issues: they had 2 weeks since our first session to fix it, but OSU’s Zoom waiting room message still stated the session would be starting 2 hours later than agreed upon by both parties. Despite our insistence that OSU resolve this issue to avoid confusion among our members who are trying to log in, they seem incapable of figuring this out on their own- maybe 2 more weeks and some guidance from our VP of Bargaining will help!
OSU graciously provided a counter to our initial Health and Safety article this session; they took the time to efficiently strike out all of our proposed changes, although their justification of why they made these deletions was much less efficient. Apparently an article that talks about essential training to maintain health and safety in the workplace is NOT the right place for trainings that prevent sexual harassment and bullying in the workplace- despite multiple instances of grads being bullied and harassed at their worksites, and a powerful testimony from a member where they recounted their experience being bullied, and how their advisor seemed ill-equipped to handle the situation (most likely because we lack proper training on how such situations should be navigated in the workplace).
Our proposed language had also demanded protections related to future pandemics and weather events like heat waves and wildfires – these were also crossed out by OSU, who stated that it’s unrealistic to prepare for these situations beforehand. We all know how that lack of preparation has worked out for us before: multiple grads were forced to work in buildings with dysfunctional air conditioning in the midst of a heat wave over last summer, and in poorly ventilated facilities during the wildfires the summer before, and Weniger Hall was evacuated due to a gas leak while we were in session on Thursday listening to OSU refuse our demands for necessary protections in the workplace. And we’re not even getting started on the countless grads who have been working and teaching in crowded classrooms without proper distancing, contact tracing or administrative support ever since campus reopened during a pandemic.
Their current attitude and dismissal of our concerns is just a way for them to avoid accountability and continue pretending everything is under control in the face of overwhelming evidence that it is not. To guarantee our safety and that of future grads at the university, we must continue pushing back with strong member presence at our sessions and testimonials that poke holes in their flawed arguments.
We used the remainder of the session to introduce our articles on appointments and summer session. With OSU known for being notoriously late with appointment letters, we have demanded a penalty to compensate for the stress and inconvenience faced by grads whose letters are delayed. Our other big ask is for all grads to be provided with 12 month appointments: when a university is recruiting employees, they should be able to guarantee them a living wage throughout the year. Our presentation of these articles was preceded by some powerful testimonies from grads, highlighting the struggles of having to stay afloat through the summers without funding, an issue that hits especially hard for international students who are unable to seek employment off-campus.
Admin’s continued confusion over the struggles we described was further proof of how detached they are from the lived realities of the ~2000 employees without whom this university would not function. Their lead negotiator cited lack of employment opportunities over the summer as the basis for lack of money. This fails to explain why GTAs over the summer are overwhelmed with the amount of work assigned to them, and GRAs are expected to perform the bulk of their research over the summer, frequently in the absence of funding- the same research that brings grants and fellowships worth millions of dollars across multiple years to OSU.
It’s pretty clear from our initial sessions that our high level of member involvement is making OSU uncomfortable- this is the kind of pressure that brings us wins, and we need your support as we drop our final article on Thursday March 3rd, 12-2 pm! Join us over Zoom and (maybe in person). Stay tuned for more details.