TLDR: The University asserts they have passed us their best offer, but they fall short on recognition, compensation, health benefits, appointment guarantees, non-discrimination and harassment, and union shop.

At yesterday’s session, the University claimed that they put forth the proposals that they would have normally reserved for March 15 (our strike deadline) at 3 am. Given the inadequacy of the proposals they provided us, we disagree with this characterization and we will continue to fight for our positions.

  • Recognition: The University moved to include undergraduate and Masters students on appointments in the unit but have left out casual and hourly student workers, although could not clarify who exactly they consider casual and/or hourly. The NLRB determined that hourly student workers who perform instructional or research work are within the unit, and we uphold this position.

  • Compensation & Payroll: The University passed an updated proposal that finally addresses late pay but still keeps total support rates for doctoral student workers below a living wage. We walked them through the typical budget of a doctoral student worker to demonstrate this.

  • Health Benefits: The University passed a proposal that increases the emergency fund for medical and dental fees to $150,000 each year of the agreement. This equates to ~$35/student worker/year and thus does not help address the much needed improvements to our health benefits, including lower prescription costs, lower mental health copays, and vision and dental coverage.

  • Appointment Guarantee: We have presented multiple testimonials demonstrating to the University that there needs to be a clear mechanism for student workers impacted by the pandemic to apply for an additional year of funding. Despite this, the University still thinks they are doing enough and refuses to work together with us on this.

  • The University did not include a new proposal on either Non-Discrimination and Harassment or Union Security in their “11th-hour proposals”. It is unfathomable that they could characterize their moves as “within bargaining inches” from an agreement when our unit has repeatedly identified these among priorities for the contract.

Our next bargaining sessions are scheduled for:

  • March 9 (Tuesday) 11:30 am-3:00 pm

  • Health Benefits Discussion, March 10 (Wednesday) 4:00 pm

  • March 12 (Friday) 1:30 pm-5:00 pm

  • March 16 (Tuesday) 1:30 pm-5:00 pm

  • March 18 (Thursday) 1:30 pm-5:00 pm

Please use this link to RSVP if you would like to attend any of the sessions over Zoom.