TLDR; Bargaining Committee (BC) met with WPI admin Wednesday; we received more counter-proposals, gave more counter-proposals to the admin, and were able to sign a tentative agreement to the Union Management Committee proposal! Two organizing committee members will sit down with the admin and other WPI student representatives to discuss the healthcare plan for next year to have our voice heard. Management has accepted some important things; the pressure we put on them works!
During the session Wednesday (03/08), we were pleased to see that the University has accepted some important parts of proposals we have been in disagreement on: (1) We will now have union security to ensure the longtime health of our union; (2) guaranteed workspace for ALL graduate workers; (3) anti-bias training for all graduate workers; and (4) we won appointment notifications with appointment security to ensure we will know if we have a job and that it cannot be taken back.
The Admin has invited the Union to provide two members who can provide a Union voice in discussions about next year’s health plan, which they are negotiating with their brokers now. Please note that this is NOT bargaining. The bargaining committee is still going to bargain over improvements to our healthcare, such as mental health coverage, lower premiums, dental/vision, and more as we begin negotiating on our economic proposals.
We presented the following counters to admin counter-proposals (click to see proposals): Travel, Job Posting, Non-Discrimination, Grievance & Arbitration, and Discipline & Dismissal. We were able to get a tentative agreement signed for the Union Management Committee proposal!
The University bargaining team presented a number of counters, and addressed some Health Insurance concerns ahead of our initial proposal (click to see their language): Appointment Notification, Appointment Security, Grievance and Arbitration, Health and Safety, Training, Travel, Workload, Workspace and Materials, Union Access and Rights, and Union Security.
With these most recent proposals, we are now close to agreement on many important non-economic proposals we have outstanding, which will put us into the position of beginning to bargain on our economic proposals soon.
The Union and the University are still pretty far apart on what we want to see in the Non-Discrimination proposal. In an effort to resolve this quickly, we agreed to meet in an informal meeting to see if we can find common ground and resolve this important issue. We cannot accept a proposal that does not protect people from harassment, discrimination, and power-based bullying. To have protections, it requires access to the grievance procedure. We are cautiously optimistic this method could result in a solution.
If you haven’t already, please fill out the Bargaining Survey and Health & Safety Survey to help support our discussions with the administration.
Your WPI-GWU Bargaining Committee
Jake Scarponi, Andrew McReynolds, Sabine Hahn, Gabriela Rovi & Abhinav Gandhi
Keep up to date with bargaining! Check out our website here.