TLDR; Bargaining Committee (BC) met with WPI admin yesterday to solidify a schedule for bargaining sessions, present the first set of proposals for our contract, and discuss ground rules for bargaining.
Admin recognized health and safety was a priority for graduate workers; while we’re bargaining for our contract, they expressed willingness to try to resolve safety issues on campus immediately. If you are aware of any health or safety concerns, please fill out this brief survey. If you have not already filled out a Bargaining Survey, please do so at your earliest convenience. Paper forms are also available with department representatives if you need or prefer one.
Yesterday, the WPI-GWU bargaining committee (BC) met with the administration for a bargaining session. FYIUThe administration’s bargaining team consists of:
- Lauren Turner (SVP of Talent & Inclusion)
- Laura Richards (Talent Strategies Director)
- Kelly Draper (Sr. Talent Strategy Partner II)
- Kris Sullivan (Assoc. VP for Academic Affairs)
- Terri Camesano (Dean of Graduate Studies)
- Rory Flinn (Asst. Dean of Graduate Studies)
- Arthur Heinricher (Int. Sr. VP and Provost)
- David Bunis (Sr. VP and General Counsel)
We are pleased to announce the admin has agreed to meet with us on a biweekly schedule and they are open to additional meetings as needed. Our bargaining committee is committed to negotiating a contract as quickly as possible!
At each bargaining meeting, we expect to present and/or discuss individual proposals addressing graduate worker issues to be added to the full contract. At today’s meeting, we presented our first set of proposals, including those related to:
- Health & Safety
- Employment Records
- Titles & Classifications
- Union Management Committee
- Employee Assistance Program
WPI admin will review these initial proposals and bring back questions and counter-proposals. We continue this back and forth until we reach a tentative agreement. Once we reach tentative agreement on all proposals, WPI-GWU members will vote to approve the contract. The order in which we’re presenting proposals doesn’t necessarily reflect its importance based on the results of the bargaining survey; if there’s an important proposal we haven’t brought to the table yet, it’s in the works. Our goal in this process is to improve the working conditions for all Graduate Workers (GWs)!
Regarding the Health & Safety proposal, the administration’s team asked that GWs not wait for a contract to bring forth issues surrounding unsafe working environments or conditions. If you have a health/safety concern for your lab or another on-campus space you utilize for your work, please fill out this short questionnaire so these issues can be addressed ASAP.
In the coming weeks, our BC will be hard at work drafting more proposals to bring to each bargaining session. We are looking forward to receiving feedback from the administration and are working quickly to build a strong, fair contract guided by your bargaining surveys and testimonials. We’re striving to keep members updated on our progress with bargaining, and you will continue to hear back from us after each session. In the meantime, members of the Organizing Committee (OC) will be reaching out in-person and via email to members with the goal of getting a supermajority of graduate workers to fill out the Bargaining Survey. We’ll also have a hybrid town hall on 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 questions or concerns about bargaining; we’d love to hear from you!
Your WPI-GWU Bargaining Committee
Jake Scarponi, Andrew McReynolds, Sabine Hahn, Gabriela Rovi & Abhinav Gandhi