We passed multiple proposals today on non-economic issues. The microaggressions work group had developed proposals relating to creating a more inclusive and accessible campus, including greater bathroom equity (access to all-gender bathrooms), paid optional training for ASEs and supervisors to identify and mitigate microaggressions, and eliminating the international student fee. In addition we passed proposals to make the University more family-friendly, including increasing the ASE childcare subsidy and establishing access to childcare facilities and services on campus, greater access to lactation stations, and creating policies for paid family and childbirth leave as well as sick/safe leave (for all ASEs). We made proposals related to ASEs enrolled in fee-based programs, to reduce the likelihood that an ASE would be denied a job because of their program tuition/fee rates, and we addressed members’ interest in providing better access to resources for debt management and career development.
In our continued conversations with the University about the current GAIP plan and the need to consider alternatives to provide the best benefits for the lowest costs, we discussed the Request for Proposal (RFP) process that we asked the University to engage in. However, the University was unprepared to reconcile the fundamental problem – as identified by our Unfair Labor Practice over the multiple unilateral changes to the benefits – that the RFP must be based on a stable set of benefits that was negotiated by the parties. In other words, while the ULP remains unresolved, possible vendors will not be able to provide alternative proposals to the current GAIP.
In fact, the University claimed today to not know or fully understand why the unilateral changes happened.
They do know, however, that is deeply serious, and that as ASEs we find their inability to account for changes in a plan overseen by the University to be totally unacceptable. Consequently, this is a critical moment in our negotiations over GAIP; we need to continue to put pressure on the University. To do so, please attend bargaining sessions if possible, and stay abreast of the bargaining updates if you cannot—and please, share these updates with fellow ASEs in your department. Again, this is an issue in which the University has unambiguously failed to maintain oversight over its own resources, and to ensure that this kind of failure cannot happen again, we need ASEs to be informed, active, and engaged.