At bargaining on July 13th, the 40th negotiation session between GEO and the administration, grad workers came ready to make movement with proposals related to workload (combined appointments), healthcare, international GSIs, and workplace disability accommodations. After a brief caucus with members, the Bargaining Team introduced proposals which would cap annual out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs ($750/individual or $1500/family), doctor visits ($750/individual or $1500/family), and mental health care ($100/individual or $200/family). After receiving the four package proposals from the Bargaining Team, the University’s team declined to pass any offers of its own and the session was ended.
On July 14, grad workers reached a Tentative Agreement (TA) on ASD/ADHD coverage early in the session. In response to proposals passed by grads the previous day, U-M Lead Negotiator Katie Delong explained that the U-M Bargaining Team’s definition of “serious movement” is the withdrawal of entire proposals.
Because of their visa status, International Grad Students can only work 20 hours a week, leaving them with no options to earn extra pay outside of GSI poverty wages. When pressed on this, HR provided the same hollow and careless response they do to most graduate student concerns: they can’t control or fix the problem.
HR could meet our demands — establish an IGSI fund & reimburse all visa-related fees — to help offset the extra $2k to $4k it costs to be an International grad student at U-M. Instead, HR deflects responsibility.
Marco Mangano, Aerospace Engineer PhD Candidate
“At bargaining this week, I felt like everything HR said pointed to the fact that they don’t think that I, as an International Grad Student, should make a living wage.”