TLDR; Our bargaining committee had 3 sessions with the University this week. They gave us a disappointing package of proposals on Monday; we took stronger stances on our most important issues on Wednesday; and they proposed a nearly identical package this morning. BC verbally reasserted our previous package in response and cut the meeting off after the admin’s presentation. WPI has to stop wasting our time rejecting our proposals in the hopes that we give up and leave grad workers with significant economic problems.
WPI IS ANTI-FAMILY. While WPI did offer improvements to parental leave, leave is worthless if having a child results in bankruptcy. They continue to reject ANY reimbursement of childcare costs in MA–the most expensive state in the country for childcare–which are prohibitive to starting a family, to say nothing of those that already have children. WPI refuses to implement changing tables in the majority of buildings with grad worker offices.
THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR HEALTH. WPI refuses to guarantee improvements to the existing healthcare plan, or even to maintain the existing plan as a compromise–the same plan that has helped inspire us to organize in the first place. WPI refuses to pay premiums for dental and vision insurance; we offered a compromise through a healthcare reimbursement fund to help those with serious healthcare costs, and even that has been rejected. They continue to ignore grad workers with health care needs, including those with chronic health concerns and who need mental health care, reproductive health care and gender-affirming care.
THEY DON’T CARE IF YOU GO INTO DEBT. According to WPI’s proposals, hourly workers will be making near-minimum wages with no raises built through the contract. We saw no movement this morning on stipends, and WPI has once again asserted a loophole in guaranteeing no security on fees, which allows them to increase fees to cancel any raises we win. WPI has no reason to take such a repetitive stance unless they want the freedom to reduce any raises we win through new and increased fees–we are not willing to accept an agreement that offers no security on wages whatsoever.
After THREE bargaining sessions on July 17th, 19th, and 20th this week, the university’s bargaining team continued to reject our major proposals on childcare benefits, health insurance, and wages – among other things. Our bargaining committee has continually made significant movements in the outstanding package of proposals, but WPI isn’t willing to budge. We consistently hear that we don’t need these benefits – which means that they do not care about us. We verbally reasserted our last proposal today and told them to come back with something better next week as we walked out of today’s session. It’s not just the bargaining committee’s time that’s being wasted – it’s all of our time. We deserve a fair contract with significant improvements that address our outstanding issues.
Your WPI-GWU Bargaining Committee
Sabine Hahn, Andrew McReynolds, Abhinav Gandhi, Jake Scarponi, & Gabriela Rovi