TLDR; Bargaining Committee (BC) met with WPI admin yesterday; we’ve presented most of our non-economic proposals, received several counter-proposals, and signed off on one together! Please RSVP to our hybrid town hall TONIGHT in HL218 at 5 PM to learn more about where we are in bargaining and ask any questions, and fill out a Bargaining Survey if you haven’t already!
Yesterday (1/25), your BC met with the administration for another bargaining session. We presented more proposals and are nearing the end of our non-economic proposals, including those related to:
- Appointment Security
- Intellectual Property
- Union Access and Rights
- Union Security
- Voluntary Community Action Program
- Non-Resident and Non-Citizen Worker Rights and Protections
The University bargaining team presented a number of counter-proposals, rejected one of our proposals in total, and presented one new proposal:
- Discipline & Discharge
- Employee Assistance Program
- Health & Safety
- Employment File
- Job Postings
- Severability (Tentative Agreement)
- Union Management Committee
- Successorship (Rejected by administration)
- No Strike/Lock-Out (new proposal from the administration)
Our BC reached a tentative agreement with the administration on the Severability article of our contract in which the administration had no major commentary. We are now working on developing our responses to the administration’s counters and will use information we’ve received from you all in-person, via email, or through the Bargaining Survey and Health & Safety Survey to help support our discussions. While some of the administration’s changes are minor, others proposed in favor of “simplicity” or WPI’s “shareholders and existing policies” (such as in Health & Safety and Training) may cause us to lose important protections Graduate Workers are fighting for or negate our ability to enforce them.
While WPI’s own travel policies indicate that prepayment is an option for University faculty and staff, the University Spokesperson made it clear to us in their counter-proposal presentation that:
“travel is a privilege, not an entitlement”
This is distressing to hear as a number of grants require presenting at national/international conferences, and many graduate workers are made responsible for most, if not all of the expenses, or wait months to be reimbursed. We don’t think any graduate worker at WPI should be required to incur thousands of dollars of debt to engage in scientific discourse and network with their respective research communities; do you?
Our next meeting with the University will be on February 15th. While we’re working closely with administration to maintain a biweekly meeting schedule, the administration has informed us that they are unable to meet on February 8th due to scheduling issues. We will resume the agreed upon biweekly meeting schedule starting February 22nd – so don’t worry! We are making sure we don’t miss out on any crucial bargaining time.
We’re striving to keep members updated on our progress with bargaining, and you will continue to hear back from us after each session. This is especially important now that proposals are being traded back and forth; it’s important for everyone to understand how the administration wants to change the proposals we’ve given them, what impact that change would have on the final contract, and whether this is an important issue we need to rally behind. We’ll be holding a hybrid town hall TONIGHT, Thursday January 26th, in Higgins Labs 218 from 5 to 7 PM (please RSVP) for everyone to stay informed and continue to have your individual voices heard. Please email us if you have any additional questions or concerns about bargaining!
Your WPI-GWU Bargaining Committee
Jake Scarponi, Andrew McReynolds, Sabine Hahn, Gabriela Rovi & Abhinav Gandhi