Today we continued in mediation with a half-day session. We maintained the positive momentum and now have a clearer picture of the remaining roadblocks to the overall agreement. We made progress on compensation for masters, undergraduate, and hourly workers. Today we emphasized that workers need to see adequate support levels this summer, especially as we face a second summer in the pandemic with limited funding and travel opportunities. The University broached the possibility of implementing another round of the COVID supplements workers on 9-month appointments received last summer. If implemented, we could potentially propose backloading raises on the summer stipend in years 2 and 3. The conversation on PhD wages is ongoing, as the University has held their position of only a 2% increase in year 1.
Tomorrow, we expect further responses from the University on dental improvements as well as EOAA enhancements. Arbitration remains a sticking point for the University, seemingly tied to our dual student-worker status. We had another good discussion with the mediator on how EOAA falls short of arbitration, and we will see how the University responds. Finally, we are still working on the issue of Recognition and how to ensure that Course Assistants, who in practice do the same work as TA III’s, can be protected by the contract.
Since we are still in “supposal” territory, neither side is currently formally changing positions; however, through the mediator we are able to better understand what the remaining pieces of the puzzle are, and the different ways we might fit them together into a contract.
We have another half-day session tomorrow, Friday, April 16, 9:30 am – 2 pm. RSVP here.