Bargaining Update: February 21st

The Bargaining Team and PSU Administration met on February 10th and February 13th. Below is a quick summary of our sessions.

Through our bargaining process, we have tentatively agreed (TA’d) on a number of relatively straightforward articles. These articles include:

  • Defining Parties
  • Recognition
  • Communications
  • Distribution and Printing
  • Separability
  • Labor Management Committee

However, as we are moving into more complex articles, the PSU Administration has been reluctant to agree on language.

We currently have two articles tabled:

Non-discrimination: Both parties presented language for non-discrimination and we have agreed on the majority of the article. However, the PSU Administration presented language that prevents GEU members from using a contract’s only externally mandated enforcement mechanism (the arbitration process) in the event of a violation of the non-discrimination policies in the article. This language is equivalent to not having a non-discrimination article. We were quite shocked that this was the case and pushed back considerably. Due to the inability to come to an agreement, we had to table the article. We will be coming back to this article later in the process.

Strike/Lockout: Both parties presented language for Strike/Lockout and we have agreed on most sections, including standard language that:

  • defines a strike through Oregon law (ORS 243.650(22)),
  • agrees that GEU will not strike during the term of the contract (this does not limit our right to strike during current negotiations, or in the event that we do not negotiate a successor contract with PSU before this contract’s term expires),
  • guarantees we will not be locked out,
  • guarantees that if we are unable to work because another strike limits our access to facilities or equipment, we still get paid, and
  • guarantees that GEU will advise GAs who are striking out of compliance with these rules to stop.

We disagreed on the issue of whether the PSU Administration should be prohibited from compelling GAs to do the work of other striking employees, e.g. requiring a GTA assigned to support a faculty member teaching a course section to take on that faculty member’s instruction duties in the event the faculty member is on strike. We argued that GAs should have the right to stand in solidarity with other striking employees by not taking their work, while the PSU Administration argued that they need to keep the school running during a strike.

Currently on the Table: We are currently working on the Appointments article. This article includes eligibility of appointments, notice of appointments, appointment letters, and the role of assistantships. Both parties presented language and we have gone through the question phase. We are starting at very different places. At the meeting on Friday, both parties will be presenting edited drafts of our initial proposal.

One of the major points of conflict with appointments is the time frame with which GAs will receive notification. Our initial proposal called for appointment letters to be provided 25 business days before the start of the term, with exceptions for extraneous circumstances. PSUFA (the adjunct union) currently has the same time frame for appointments in their contract. The administration presented language with appointment letters being provided at the latest, 10 business days before the start of the term, and only for GTAs (they did not offer any provisions regarding notification of GRA or GAA appointments). They claimed that supervisors need the flexibility to hire GRAs and GAAs at will with no notice and that because this is our first contract, there are currently no standard policies governing GRA or GAA appointments.

Our next session will be taking place from 9am – 4pm on Friday, February 24th. We will be meeting in the Market Center Building, in the Gold Room (MCB 541). Here is the agenda for the session:

  • Ice Breaker
  • Communications and updates
  • Outstanding Sections: Appointments, remember tabled sections (non-discrimination and no strike/no lockout)
  • Proposed Sections: Workload/Assignment, Term of Agreement, Summer Term, Jury Duty
    Agenda setting
  • Come hang out with us, participate in caucuses, and, if you have a story to tell about your experience as a GA, speak about it!