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 

Bargaining update: May 26, 2021

Quick bargaining update!

We just concluded our first bargaining session with PSU over our contract extension and limited economic reopener on three topics: fee remission, minimum hourly rate, and cost of living adjustment.  

GEU opened the day with the following proposal:

  1. 100% student fee remission, including the $350 one-time matriculation fee (previous contract: 80% remission for AY2020-21, excluding matriculation fee)
  2. $18.86 minimum hourly rate (based on the MIT’s Multnomah county living wage calculator; previous contract AY2020-21 had a $15.87 minimum)
  3. Cost of Living adjustment of 3.9% based on Western CPI (the metric we use in our previous contract to determine COLA; our last COLA raise AY2020-21 was 1.4%)

PSU administration countered with the following proposal:

  1. 100% student fee remission, except the $350 one-time matriculation fee 
  2. $16.25 minimum hourly rate citing budgetary restrictions.
  3. Cost of living adjustment of 0.75% citing budgetary restrictions.

There’s clearly a big gap between these two proposals.  After a year of hardship and remote work, it’s more important than ever to bring up the minimum wage for our lowest-paid GAs, and make sure we get a cost of living increase so we don’t in effect take a pay cut every year.  

How can we get a fair contract? 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 tomorrow May 27 at 10am.  

To join the bargaining session as an observer, look for a Zoom link and password in your email before 10am tomorrow! 
If we aren’t in the bargaining Zoom, we are our caucus room.  This is a private room for the GEU team to talk amongst ourselves and our members.  Contact info@pdxgeu.org for details how to join the bargaining session as an observer.

Bargaining Update: 2018-02-16

At about 2:30am on Saturday morning, the GEU and PSU bargaining teams signed an outline of a complete economic agreement.

Here’s the gist:

  • 3-year contract, no reopeners

  • $184 one-time bonus for all GAs in the Spring, (equals 40% fee remission, before taxes).

  • Annual raises for everyone, based on the Portland-Vancouver-Salem CPIU, with a floor of 1.5% and a ceiling of 3.5% (same deal AAUP has)

  • 0.3 minimum FTE starting in the Fall, up from the current 0.15.

  • Increase to minimum hourly rate of 5.64% this summer, 3.33% in Fall 2018, 3.22% in Fall 2019, 3.19% in Fall 2020.  This (plus the new minimum FTE) takes the minimum monthly salary from $355/month now to $825/month in Fall 2020.

  • Mandatory fee subsidies (excluding matriculation fee) for all GAs at 45% starting Fall 2018, 60% starting Fall 2019, 80% starting Fall 2020

  • Joint health insurance working group empowered to access census, claims data, write requests for proposals, etc., which will produce a report just in time to inform the next round of contract negotiations.

Although this contract is a compromise, there is a lot to be proud of in the work that we ALL did to create a contract that sees immediate monetary benefits for GAs. To put this first contract into context, CGE’s first contract in 2001 established (regarding economic issues) only a minimum salary rate and an annual $330 per GA per year for health insurance (for more info on CGE’s contract evolution, click here). In addition to establishing a minimum salary rate and a working group to do the leg work for future health care coverage, our contract includes a Cost Of Living Adjustment (COLA), a minimum FTE, annual increases to the minimum salary rate, and a large percentage of fees remitted.

We’re working on an analysis of the total cost to PSU of the contract, and will send that information out when we have it.