In our negotiations with the university, we’ve been focusing on key protections for GEs working in-person and remotely, including strengthening our rights to leave unsafe workspaces, protecting GEs from being asked to work at all hours, and continuing GE access to key accommodations and resources needed to do remote work. We’ve also been working on protections against supervisor retaliation and pressure, expanding financial support options for GEs with families and GEs who have exhausted their sick leave, and safeguarding GE jobs when reasonable expectations of degree progress, student evaluations, and credit loads, like everything else, have undergone significant changes due to COVID.
During these negotiations, the university has also proposed a deal on an extension of funding in exchange for a one-year extension of our AY20-22 contract (the one we’re currently working under). This would result in putting off bargaining a new contract for one year longer than the current contract would indicate.
The results are in! With 42% of membership voting and 85% voting yes, we have collectively approved this Letter of Agreement (LOA) with the University, which grants funding extensions for those at the end of their departmental funding and extends the life of our current contract through Spring 2023. The LOA also includes provisions and accommodations to ensure GE workplace safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Grievance Committee and Impact Bargaining team will be hosting a workshop to share information on this agreement in the winter term.
- Continued extension of language on unsafe spaces from spring 2020 LOA
- Guaranteed work remote option and appeal process for GEs
- Current proposal: units communicate in advance if GEs will *not* be able to work remote. GEs can appeal this determination and seek remote options in consultation with dept.
- Right to refuse to work in unsafe conditions
- Current proposal: any workspace not following applicable safety procedures (of any sort) can be left without consequence; report will be made to supervisor, dept, ELR, etc, either directly or via form
- Access to employing unit resumption plans
- Current proposal: GTFF to be provided with all employing unit (including lab-level) resumption plans and informed of any changes to existing plans
- Access to employer-paid training on resumption plans and associated protocols
- Current proposal: all relevant training provided at employer expense
- Protections against demands to work at non-standard hours, no matter time zone/location
- Current proposal: no GE shall be expected to work outside of 8a-5p in the time zone in which they are located, either as a result of remote work expectations or to compensate for unsafe workspaces.
- Remote work subsidy for GEs working from home
- Current proposal: $100/month for every GE working from home, backdated to start of Fall 2020, to defray costs related to remote work (internet, technology/workspace setup, other utilities)
- Protections for accommodation request process, including necessary equipment/resources
- Current proposal: honoring of accommodations requests and process including those working remotely; no increase in productivity expectations due to remote work; access to ergonomic lending library
Protections against retaliation for pandemic-related requests and reporting
- Current proposal: employer/supervisor cannot retaliate (discipline, discharge, or otherwise discriminate) against GE making accommodation, training, or other requests or reports of unsafe working conditions. Effective until vaccination.
Funding for GEs affected by COVID
- Increasing cap and age limit for accessing the Graduate Assistance Fund for childcare-related expenses
- Current proposal: age increased to 12, cap increased to $1400, lifts other restrictions on use (once-per-child, only during first 18 months, only documented childcare)
- Sick leave protections
- Current proposal: continuing the 2-week extension of sick leave
- Funding extension offer
- Current proposal: TBD, but could include some version of a 1-year extension in an agreement to bargain a new contract for AY24, working under the current contract in AY23.
Graduate employment and academics
- Satisfactory progress protections
- Current proposal: determinations paused for the duration of the pandemic
- Extension of the credit requirement reduction petition to the Grad School
- Current proposal: extend through AY21
- Student experience surveys/course evals and GE performance
- Current proposal: Pause on course evaluations’ (student experience surveys’) use to evaluate GE performance for all classes taught during the COVID-19 emergency
- GE-produced remote course materials
- Current proposal: GEs retain intellectual property rights to course materials created for remote instruction