Bargaining Update, May 12th

Shout out and special thanks to all the folks who attending the bargaining session last Friday, including our allies from PSUFA and AAUP! We love seeing our members and our PSU community allies. We have another session on Friday, May 19th from 9am – 4pm.

After months of work and twenty (20) counter proposals, we finished appointments! This is a huge milestone! Along with appointments, we tentatively agreed on workload, summer session, and defined graduate assistants. Here are a few gains received:


  • Notice of Appointment:
    • All GAs will receive a notice of appointment via email. Folks on an academic year appointment will receive their appointment notice four (4) weeks in advance of the term and most GAs who are on term appointments will receive theirs at least two (2) weeks in advance. This is a HUGE win!
    • These will include title, length of appointment, salary per month, FTE (Full-Time Equivalency), estimated working hours per month, tuition remission per term, any student fees paid by the employing unit, and any benefits. These letters will also include estimates of student fees and health insurance premiums GAs will be required to pay.


  • Work Assignment Notice:


    • All GAs will also be provided a Work Assignment Notice, which describes work duties, expected preparation, and any required trainings or orientations.
    • If the information is not ready at the time of their appointment notice, most GAs will receive this at least two (2) weeks before the start of the term.
    • A GTA will be listed as the instructor of record if they have a direct role and primary responsibility for delivery of instruction and responsibility or shared responsibility for assessing students for a final grade. GAs who are instructor of record will receive these at least four (4) weeks prior to the term.
  • GPA requirements will be set by each employee’s academic program, not their employer.
  • For work assignments that can reasonably be expected to continue, GAs should be appointed for an academic year or twelve (12) months!  Currently, many GAs are appointed term-by-term for several consecutive terms.
  • If a GA is not renewed, then they may contact their hiring supervisor to discuss whether other employment opportunity exists, who is required to respond within five (5) working days.
  • The University also agreed to monitor appointments and use of single term appointments.

Work Load:

  • GAs will not be required to work more hours than specified in their notice of appointment.
  • If a GA is working over their paid hours, the GA may request a meeting with their assigned faculty member or supervisor. This will lead to one or more of three options:
    • Identifying ways for the GA to accomplish the work within the assigned FTE, and/or
    • Make changes to the required work duties without lowering assigned FTE or hourly pay rate, and/or
    • Change the assigned FTE without reducing the hourly pay rate.

Summer Session:

  • GAs may be appointed for summer term for up to 1.0 FTE.

Stay tuned to read the full tentative agreement for appointment, workload, summer session and to find definitions. During this session, we also agreed on language for health and safety, as well as discipline and discharge.

Copyright Ownership Policy draft public comment from GEU

RE: Proposed PSU Copyright Ownership Policy draft, released 2017-05-09


Today, PSU released a new draft policy on copyright ( that will affect GEU members, so we submitted a public comment (below).  Feel free to do the same here:


GEU’s comment:

As far as we can tell, Graduate Employees, including those who develop course materials and publish scholarly works, are not “academically ranked”, so we fall under the definition of Staff in Article IV.  Is this the case?  If so, V.1.5 reserves the University’s Work for Hire right to copyright ownership for students who are Staff:


“Each student holds the copyright to Copyright Materials that the student authors or creates, unless the creation/authorship of such Copyright Materials was performed by the student under a Sponsored Project, under a Separate Agreement, or in a student’s capacity as Staff.“


and thus requires a GA to assign copyright ownership rights to PSU for any works produced “within the scope of his or her employment”.


As members of PSU’s academic community who participate in the peer-review process and create course materials and other Copyright Materials, we are concerned that we are not afforded the same rights, in this proposed policy, as the faculty.


Further, we’d like to clarify whether e.g. a GRA publishing a journal article, would be covered by the language in V.1.3 (Scholarly Work Exemption) that waives the University’s right to copyright ownership.  If not, why?  If so, we also have an interest in extending “The University will endeavor in all cases to preserve the publishing rights of Faculty members when entering Sponsored Project agreements” to also include GAs.


Similarly, because GAs produce e.g. software tools, we believe that V.2.1 should apply to us equally, and because GAs develop course materials, we believe that V.2.2-4 should apply to us equally.  For similar reasons, we also believe that V.3 and V.5 should apply to GAs, and GAs should be represented on the Copyright Advisory Committees described in VI.1.




Bargaining Update April 28th, 2017

Our bargaining team met once again on Friday, April 28th with the PSU Administration Team. Shout out to the members who joined us last Friday! It’s good to keep the Administration Team accountable for their positions.

Generally, bargaining an existing contract takes about a year. We started in October 2016. As this is a brand new contact, our situation is a bit unique. Writing a first contact takes several iterations of each article. We are attempting to move quickly and efficiently through all the non-economic articles first, then transition into all the economic articles. Non-economic articles are just as important, if not more so, than the economic ones. These develop the processes and procedures for our working conditions.

We presented a summary of the work that remains, similar to the summary in our last blog post, and shared our judgment that it will be a challenge to finish everything (including economic articles, e.g. Health Insurance, Salary) during this term, and proposed that we plan to continue negotiations next Fall. So far, the Administration Team hasn’t agreed to this. We’re concerned that if we rush the economic articles, we may not get a good deal on things that really matter to GAs, and hope that the Administration Team will recognize that we deserve at least as much time to finish our new contract as our ally unions on campus get to bargain existing contracts.

At this point, the Administration Team has indicated they will not be presenting any more initial proposals on non-economic issues. Therefore, our team is responsible for the rest of the initial proposals for such topics. During this session we presented initial proposals for Union Rights and Health, Safety, & Work environment. Next session, on May 12th, we will have a few more in hand.

Our team presented counter proposals for Appointments, Discipline and Discharge, and Evaluations. The Administration team presented counters on Layoff and Personnel Records.

After a in-session counter on Personnel Records, we came to agreement on the language and we signed off on it as a tentative agreement. As a reminder, a tentative agreement is when both teams agree on the language for any given article and then we set it aside until all the articles are completed. Then we bind them up and sign off on the contract in whole.

See you all Friday, May 12th!

Bargaining Update April 25th

To all our members who came to the last bargaining session, thank you! Members showing up provided a breath of fresh air and perspective that was invaluable to our work.

In our latest bargaining prep session we took time to do some big picture scoping to look at what we’ve accomplished so far and what remains to be done. The administration team has expressed interest in completing a contract by the end of the academic year, so we put together a list of all the topic sections that would need to be completed for a contract we feel would be acceptable to our members.

We need to reach agreement on the following sections:

  • Academic Freedomon the table, Administration currently refuse to bargain about this
  • Appointments on the table
  • Childcare
  • Complete Agreement on the table, Administration currently unwilling to allow the contract to be reopened by request while in effect (CGE has several reopeners)
  • Definitions ongoing document
  • Discipline and Discharge on the table
  • Evaluationon the table,  Administration currently unwilling to allow a GA the right to an evaluation if they want one
  • Fees
  • Grievance and Arbitrationon the table
  • Health & SafetyGEU proposing on Friday
  • Healthcare
  • Intellectual Property
  • Jury Dutyon the table
  • Layoff on the table, Administration currently unwilling to provide notice to GEU a month before layoffs
  • Leave (sick, vacation, holiday)
  • No Strike/Lockouts on hold, Admin currently unwilling to commit to not requiring e.g. a GTA who usually grades and holds office hours to pick up a striking faculty instructor’s duties
  • Non-Discriminationon hold, Administration currently unwilling to allow violations of this article to be grievable
  • Past Practices
  • Personnel Fileson the table
  • Professional Development
  • Salary
  • Summer Termon the table and almost complete
  • Term of Agreementon hold
  • Transportation/ Parking
  • Travel
  • Tuition Remission
  • Union Rights GEU proposing on Friday
  • Workloadon the table and almost complete

We have already reached tentative agreement on these sections:

  • Communication
  • Defining Parties
  • Distribution and Printing
  • Labor Management
  • Recognition
  • Separability Clause

Our next meeting is April 28th from 9am to 4pm in Market Center 651. We’ll begin by discussing what this will mean for our bargaining sessions moving forward. We’ll then be returning to Appointments and Workload, then looking at Discipline and Discharge, Evaluations, Union Rights, Layoff, and Personnel records. We’ll also be setting aside time to discuss progress on the economic subgroup we’ve formed.

Want to get involved in bargaining? Contact us at

Bargaining Update: April 19th

Shout out to all who were able to attend the bargaining session on Friday, April 14th! Always makes a big difference having people in the room. We will be bargaining again this Friday, 04/21/2017, in Market Center Building room 541 from 9am – 4pm!  Come to our pre-bargaining meeting at Park Ave Cafe at 8am!

We came prepared with stacks on stacks of proposals:

  • Appointments
  • Personnel Records
  • Complete Agreement
  • Layoff
  • Academic Freedom
  • University rights

And The University provided

  • Evaluations
  • Grievance and Arbitration

During the session we were able to provide a counter to admin’s Evaluations article, while admin provided a counter to our Appointments. We are getting close on Evaluations! The only substantive change we suggested in our counter was to require notice before any classroom observation that was to be used for evaluative purposes. Hopefully this coming week we will be able to reach a tentative agreement (TA).

There are still some hangups on Appointments, specifically regarding notice of non-reappointment and not giving GA work to non-GAs. We are working on yet more creative solutions to these problems which we hope the University will agree with.

This coming Friday we are expecting to receive admin’s counters on University Rights, Layoff, Evaluations, Personnel Records, Complete Agreement, Academic Freedom, and Term of Agreement.

There has been an ongoing oscillation between “will” and “shall”. We have suggested the use of “shalt” but that didn’t fly too well.

Come observe this Friday in Market Center Building room 541 from 9am – 4pm. We can not express how powerful having you all there has been and how rejuvenating it is for us on the bargaining team.