Bargaining Update 05/09/2022

Today in bargaining we made our case about healthcare. The verdict: PSU’s student health plan is bad! We compared it to its equivalent at University of Oregon and OSU, and it is significantly worse in every dimension. Our premiums are up to 11 times higher than the competition, and our out-of-pocket maximum up to 7 times higher. We don’t get dental or eyecare, or options to buy insurance for our dependents.

TL;DR – we pay much more, for much less health coverage. For details, take a look at our slides HERE

We have proposed that PSU fully subsidize our plan, and collaborate with GEU to select better plan options for future years, with more and better coverage. Now we wait for a response! Keep coming to observe our sessions every Monday from 12-3pm and stay up to date! Check your email for the link!

Other topics

We also heard from Becca Lawrence, incoming Assistant VP for Equity and Compliance, about some of the challenges of dealing with equity complaints and investigations. Welcome to PSU, Becca! We appreciated hearing from you. Also, special thank you to our speaker on Healthcare, Glenn! We appreciate you so much!

Next week we will present our arguments about childcare! Join us!

Bargaining update: June 24th, 2021

Your Graduate Employees Union has ratified a tentative agreement with PSU (only members may participate in ratification votes, click here to become a member if you are not already).  All current contract protections will be extended for one year (through June 30, 2022).  We will have the following economic gains for the next three academic years:  

Academic Year 2021-2022

  • 100% fee remission of quarterly student fees (excl matriculation fee)
  • Minimum hourly rate: $17 
  • Cost of Living Adjustment: 1% 

Academic Year 2022-2023

  • 100% fee remission of quarterly student fees (excl matriculation fee) 
  • Minimum hourly rate: $18
  • Cost of Living Adjustment: 1.5%

Academic Year 2023-2024

  • 100% fee remission of quarterly student fees (excluding matriculation fee) 
  • Minimum hourly rate: $18.87
  • Cost of Living Adjustment: between a lower limit of 1.5% and upper limit of 3.5% based on CPI-W previous year average, released in November 

Visit our website for documentation of all current contract language. 

What happens next? 

This extension protects us for one more year, but this fall we will ramp up to bargain our full contract (excluding fees, minimum hourly rate, and COLA per above agreement) ahead of its new expiration date (June 30, 2022).  Other important issues will be on the table, including workload protections, length of appointment, and healthcare.  A successful bargain requires us coming together as a collective to improve our working conditions.  

We are still seeking a Vice President for Collective Bargaining to lead the Bargaining Team.  The Bargaining Team and Contract Action Teams are always open to members to join and build our next contract campaign.  Email bargaining@pdxgeu.org or organizing@pdxgeu.org – the only requirement is a desire to make change in your workplace!

In solidarity,
The GEU Bargaining Team
Emily Leickly, GEU VP for Collective Bargaining
Nick Puczkowskyj, GEU President
Lauren McKinney, GEU Bargaining Team Member 
James DeLaney, GEU Bargaining Team Member
Bryan Lally, American Federation Teachers of Oregon Field Representative 

Bargaining update: May 28, 2021

Are you ready for some great news??? We got a deal!!!!

We reached a tentative agreement with PSU that extends our contract language for the three topics we have been bargaining over (fees, minimum hourly wage, and cost of living adjustment) from one year to three years, and gives us economic gains.  

Here it is: 

Academic Year 2021-2022: 

  • 100% fee remission of quarterly student fees (excludes matriculation fee) (previous contract: 80% fee remission, excl matriculation fee)
  • Minimum hourly rate: $17 (previous contract: $15.87)
  • Cost of Living Adjustment: 1% (previous contract: based on CPI-W previous year average, released in November)

Academic Year 2022-2023

  • 100% fee remission of quarterly student fees (excludes matriculation fee) 
  • Minimum hourly rate: $18
  • Cost of Living Adjustment: 1.5%

Academic Year 2023-2024

  • 100% fee remission of quarterly student fees (excludes matriculation fee) 
  • Minimum hourly rate: $18.87
  • Cost of Living Adjustment: between a lower limit of 1.5% and upper limit of 3.5% based on CPI-W previous year average, released in November 
    • Note: The CPI-W fluctuates, and has only been calculated above 3.5% in four months since January 2017 

Your bargaining team has been working diligently to lead us to this point, but we wouldn’t be looking at this deal without the support of our many GEU who members who joined Zoom this week to observe our bargaining sessions.  Showing the PSU administration that we are a collective force, ready to show up for our community and fight for economic justice, was instrumental in this process.  

Below are the teams celebrating reaching a tentative agreement – note this is only one of two Zoom pages of the teams and observers!!

What happens now? 

Ultimately, where we go from here us up to all of us – the members of the Graduate Employees Union.  Look for an invitation to a ratification vote event and celebration to follow! Your GEU Bargaining Team sees this deal as an important step to economic security for GAs at PSU, and a huge win given the last year of social, health, and economic uncertainty, and we recommend a YES vote. 

In solidarity,

The GEU Bargaining Team
Emily Leickly, GEU VP for Collective Bargaining
Nick Puczkowskyj, GEU President
Lauren McKinney, GEU Bargaining Team Member 
James DeLaney, GEU Bargaining Team Member
Bryan Lally, American Federation Teachers of Oregon Field Representative 

P.S. We are still seeking nominations for a GEU Vice President for Collective Bargaining.  See how happy Emily (our current VP Bargaining) looks in the upper left of that photo? That could be you next year! Join a team of passionate, committed, and fun fellow GAs on the GEU Executive Board as we prepare to bargain again! No experience required. Email Emily at bargaining@pdxgeu.org with questions about the position, and info@pdxgeu.org to nominate yourself or someone else!

Bargaining update: May 27, 2021

Today we concluded our second bargaining session for our contract extension and limited economic reopener on three topics: fee remission, minimum hourly rate, and cost of living adjustment.  

After PSU’s disappointing initial proposal, GEU opened the day with the following counter proposal.  

  1. 100% student fee remission — excluding matriculation fee from our first proposal 
  2. $18 minimum hourly rate — 86 cents less than our first proposal
  3. Cost of Living Adjustment of 3% — 0.9% less than our first proposal 

In this counter proposal, we gave up remission of the matriculation fee, lowered our minimum hourly rate by 86 cents, and lowered our cost of living adjustment by almost 1%.  

After we presented this counter proposal, how far did PSU stretch to meet us? 

Not very far.  The only difference from PSU’s opening proposal and today’s proposal is an extra $12 per month for our GAs working at the lowest hourly rates (about 1/3rd of all GAs)

PSU’s current proposal:

  1. 100% student fee remission (excluding matriculation fee) — unchanged from their first proposal
  2. $16.50 minimum hourly rate — up 25 cents from their first proposal for a total of 4% increase from our current minimum  
  3. Cost of Living Adjustment of 0.75% — unchanged from their first proposal

PSU’s offer of a 0.75% Cost of Living Adjustment is not adequate, especially given the recent agreements to give a 1% COLA to our unionized faculty colleagues on campus (PSUFA and AAUP), and our already low wages. 

We need our members to show up to support us at bargaining as observers, and check your emails or reach out to organizing@pdxgeu.org and bargaining@pdxgeu.org to get involved in our union.

Our next bargaining session is tomorrow May 28 from 10am to 12pm.  

Contact info@pdxgeu.org for details how to join the bargaining session as an observer.

In solidarity,

Graduate Employees Union Bargaining Team