Today’s bargaining session, focusing on support and resources for international GEs, was moving—on the GTFF side. UO’s team appeared mostly unmoved. After international GEs shared powerful testimony about the sacrifices they have made to study at UO, GTFF’s team proposed the addition of a new article, titled Support and Resources for International GEs, to the collective bargaining agreement. The new article includes:
- reimbursements for SEVIS, visa, and employment authorization fees, as well as for certain travel costs;
- free access to state and federal tax filing software for international GEs;
- additional paid training for international GEs on cultural and other issues;
- reserved housing units for international GEs, as well as facilitation of a sell and swap procedure for furniture;
- and hiring units providing and managing a mailing address for international GEs.
Our team also proposed expanding the Graduate Student Assistance Fund, and increasing the amount of money that is in the fund, so that it can be accessible to more GEs and in more situations. You can follow along with all the active proposals on our Trello board.
The big question heading into this session was whether UO’s team would follow through on the promise they made two weeks ago to bring proposals to the table. They did bring a proposal–to change references to “The Graduate School” to “The Division of Graduate Studies.” Though UO had a few more things to say—confirming that they won’t be coming after our health insurance, suggesting fewer copies of the contract be printed, and asking our team for help to solve their challenges with recruiting—they made it clear that they weren’t interested in making meaningful changes. As UO’s lead negotiator stated, “We’re pretty happy with the contract as-is.”
We’re not. Today’s testimony underscored the fact that drastic, systemic changes need to be made, and our bargaining team needs the help of all members to show that we’re united and prepared to fight for what we need. Come to the next session on Friday, May 5, from 12-3pm in McKenzie 221. Talk to your colleagues about bargaining, and stay tuned for more details about what’s coming up.
We’ll also be sharing more stories from members throughout the bargaining process. Please fill out this form if you’d like to share your testimony about how the provisions of our contract impact you.