TLDR: The bargaining committee met with WPI on Wednesday (5/31); it was their turn to show us an economic package. STILL NO LIVING WAGE; STILL NO SAY IN HEALTH INSURANCE. NEW PROPOSED LANGUAGE SAYS NO GUARANTEED RAISES WHATSOEVER FOR RESEARCH ASSISTANTS. We’ve been at the table long enough, and must apply collective pressure to win concessions. Sign on to tell the University we need these improvements so that next week, your bargaining committee can come to the table prepared to tell management that grad workers demand a fair contract NOW. General meeting is Wednesday, June 14th at 5PM (remote only for now); RSVP for a Zoom link here.

Your bargaining committee met with WPI’s bargaining team Wednesday (5/31) to receive the University’s latest proposed economic package and present our own counter-proposals on Appointments and Non-Citizen/Non-Resident Graduate Worker Rights and Protections; you can look at every proposal in chronological order here. We’re still in agreement on some items in the package (Food Security, Tax Assistance, Emergency Grant, and Housing); the University once again rejected our Subcontracting proposal, but has accepted our VCAP proposal. We have yet to reach an agreement on:

  • Childcare
  • Health Benefits
  • Tuition and Fees
  • Compensation
  • Titles and Classifications
  • Leaves, Holidays, and Vacation

Let’s cut to the chase: WPI has offered 3 tiers of pay, NONE of which cross the living wage threshold, or even come CLOSE. The administration wants us to accept the status quo and pretend that an “advisory committee” has any say in the terms of our health insurance–it HAS NOT and NEVER WILL if they have their way.

Moreover, new language in their proposals says that if a grant “can’t” fund a wage increase, the raise will simply be given according to what it “can” fund–who decides this, and how? How will we ensure money is distributed fairly? This is hugely problematic; despite the fact that the raises WPI has offered are insultingly low, management now wants to insert new language that offers NO GUARANTEE WHATSOEVER THAT RESEARCH ASSISTANTS GET A RAISE IN THE FIRST PLACE.

We’ve continued to stress the desperate need for these improvements amongst our members, and tried to modify language and proposals to address the University’s concerns. It’s clear that the administration is dragging their feet on wages to try to force us to take concessions on health benefits, but we WILL NOT give this up.

The administration has shown us that it’s time to escalate our fight for a fair contract. We need to engage in collective action now to show WPI that we don’t just need this contract, we DEMAND it. In a first step to that end, we’re signing onto a public petition to demand the administration stop dragging their feet on our most critical issues and respond to our reasonable demands for a fair union contract–we cannot wait any longer! With a majority of union members signed on, the bargaining committee can approach bargaining next week ready to win what we need.

Have concerns or thoughts you want to share? Want to know more and help your union strategize on how to move forward and secure a strong contract? Always feel free to reach out, and otherwise, look out for communications from your organizing committee. The next general membership meeting is  June 14th at 5PM (RSVP here for a Zoom link, and feel free to use this Google calendar to see all our currently planned meetings at once); the next bargaining session is also scheduled for June 14th.

In solidarity,

Your WPI-GWU Bargaining Committee
Jake Scarponi, Andrew McReynolds, Sabine Hahn, Gabriela Rovi & Abhinav Gandhi

Bargaining update: WHERE’S THE MONEY, LEBOWSKI?