October 20th, 2017
The GEU Bargaining Team met with PSU’s bargaining team today. Here’s what happened:
- Continuing saga of our information request:
- We have requested addresses and phone numbers for GAs so we can adequately represent you and get in touch, as we have requested and received in the past.
- Admin continues to offer creative explanations as to they can’t provide this info, most recently a previously raised concern about FERPA compliance, based on the Registrar’s choice to remove these items from PSU’s defined list of FERPA directory information items.
- Regardless, because we have requested this information under the PECBA and it is required for us to represent GAs, PSU is legally obligated to to provide this information to GEU. We look forward to moving past this issue without unnecessary and expensive litigation.
- We presented provisions to improve the financial status of GAs:
Financial Benefits for Graduate Employees:
|Contract Provisions||Dollars/Pay Period|
|Health Insurance Premiums||61% Premium Coverage||$185.27|
|Minimum Stipend||Federal Poverty Line||$1,005|
|Retroactive Cost of Living Adjustment||Each individual’s salary increases by a flat rate of 2013-2016 CPIU adjustments with a 2% floor, for the median salary||$105|
|Ongoing Cost of Living Adjustment||Each individual’s salary increases by CPIU % annually, with a 2% Floor||$51|
Note. The above table does not reflect an exhaustive list of negotiable financial benefits for graduate employees
How these provisions would impact Luke:
Partner Health Concerns
“Nicole has strong astigmatisms (we think they may be worsening) which not only affect her vision but also lead to regular headaches. This is something we dream of addressing through surgery but put off because of how little income I generate right now. This situation causes stress for both of us and is something that only more pay can help ameliorate.”
“We moved farther from campus to improve our quality of life, partly because of the costs, but this increased my commute substantially such that I have less flexibility regarding when/where I work. More pay would allow a greater flexibility regarding where Nicole and I could live and would positively influence my ability to do good work.”
In sharing this with PSU, we presented initial numbers on individual benefits. We look forward to PSU’s response.
- Judith spoke bravely about her experiences with health insurance/healthcare.
- We established the legal and logistical feasibility of covering a portion of the premiums for PSU health insurance (admin previously contended that it would be prohibited under the ACA, based on our research and interactions with the IRS we disagree), and proposed that upon contract ratification:
- PSU covers 61% of health insurance premiums for folks on the PSU plan (9.69% of median October 2016 GA income, which is defined by the federal government as “affordable” health insurance),
- If possible, PSU extends PSU plan coverage for dependents to (at least) GAs,
- A working group is established to cost out separate group plans for GAs (employer and GEU-managed).
- If we identify a cheaper group plan that is acceptable to GAs but does not meet the waiver requirements, create an insurance waiver exemption for GAs. PSU has established these coverage standards as university policy and is free to create exemptions as needed. Subsidizing premiums for either type of group plan is clearly allowed by ACA.
- In Fall 2018, the working group concludes its investigations and produces a report. We go back to bargaining to evaluate and implement the recommendations in the report. Goal is coverage that is affordable, accessible to all GAs and their dependents, and meets the needs of all GAs.
- Admin will present their initial comprehensive financial package proposal, and we’ll ask questions about it. The final version of this package will have a big impact on our lives; come by to look over their initial proposal and talk with us about it during caucus, to ensure your voice is heard and your needs are met!
- We will collectively discuss the need for and feasibility of individual financial benefits.
Come out to observe bargaining next week, October 27th, between 9am and 12:30pm!