It’s time to get serious about our commitment to one another. Attempts to delegitimize and divide, stall and threaten are expected from the typical employer in negotiations, but increasingly the University is proving they’re not above it.
This past Monday the University’s team brought a state-appointed mediator in to negotiations, claiming his presence was necessary because we weren’t moving fast enough through the bargaining process. We do not agree. GEO has consistently worked hard to refine our proposals to address the University’s concerns. Whereas on two separate occasions now, HR’s team has sat through entire three-hour bargaining sessions — sometimes more than one — and then passed us packaged proposals that were clearly written in advance, taking no account of the conversation at the table or of our attempts at problem-solving.
HR’s has also begun threatening take-backs at various sessions, even on things on which we’ve already come to a compromise. This has been the case with Union Security language, which they clearly want to hold over our heads until the last minute so they can threaten to make things harder for us in a Right to Work environment.
They have also suggested at the table that if we want to ask for hours caps then we will also need to think of ourselves as hourly workers (implying that we should also accept hourly wages during low work hours weeks).
And most recently, they implied that if we kept talking about copay caps, they might have to reconsider their commitment to keeping our healthcare premium-free.
The university is also making the DEI GSSA proposal impossible to discuss anywhere. When we try to bring it up in bargaining, they say it’s not a mandatory subject of bargaining (which is true, but doesn’t bar them from negotiating it.) But then when the DEI coalition attends meetings and forums with Administrators, they too have claimed they will not talk about the proposal because it’s under the purview of negotiations!
Finally, we suspect that a communication has been sent to faculty department heads encouraging them not to express their support of our efforts. We suspect this is a response to our conversations with SACUA about the IGSI proposal.
We have shown in various ways both at the bargaining table and elsewhere that we are open to honest dialogue about our proposals. But while we are confident in the membership’s ability to recognize it’s own needs, and in our organization’s ability to carefully and thoughtfully create solutions, the university continues to treat us like we don’t really deserve a seat at the table.
It’s time to show them that we’re organized in great numbers, and that we’re serious about our desire for real movement from them on our key issues.
What can you do?
First, attend the organizing-focused General Membership Meeting, during which we will discuss together various options to exert collective pressure, and strategize collectively about how to to build power. This GMM will be this Friday from 3:00-4:30 in Auditorium 1020 in the School of Public Health Building II.
Please tell your steward whether or not you can make it! If too many folks from your department cannot, we strongly encourage you to attend a GEO-focused department meeting to have this conversation there. If you can attend, please say so on the facebook event here so that we don’t kill more trees than we have to. Childcare will be provided, and the meeting will be followed by a sign-making party at the GEO office Friday from 5:00-6:00.
Second, come to the Sit-In! This event is meant to both gauge and show our strength in numbers. We’ll bring the signs we made on Friday and sit in various Administrative Buildings from 10:00-2:00 next Tuesday, March 28th. Folks should meet at The Cube outside the Fleming Administration Building, and from there a coordinator will assign you a building.
Your stewards will be coming around your department in the upcoming days with a Sit In sign up sheet. There will be a 10-12 shift and a 12-2 shift — just like the Grade-In in February. Please also say whether you can attend on fb here.
Thank you for your continued devotion to the union! Remember that the university works because we do, and that we get what we are organized to take!