University, GEO union reach tentative agreement on new contract (3-21-11)
The University of Michigan and the Graduate Employee Organization have reached a tentative agreement on a new three-year contract.
Agreement was reached early Saturday morning at the end of a 12-hour bargaining session that began Friday afternoon, the last day of a two-week contract extension. GEO represents about 1,800 graduate student instructors and graduate student staff assistants.
Ronald Dick, associate director of academic human resources, said the tentative agreement was consistent with the university’s long-term personnel goals and also forged a new level of cooperation between the university and GEO.
“With this agreement we were able to work together to pave the way for timely and effective accommodations for graduate students with disabilities in need of accommodations to fulfill their responsibilities as graduate student instructors or graduate student staff assistants,” Dick said.
The university and GEO also agreed on increases in the minimum pay rate of 2.5 percent, 3 percent and 3 percent during the three-year agreement.
Complete details of the agreement will be released after GEO conducts a ratification vote. That vote is expected to be scheduled in the coming weeks.
The current GEO contract expired March 1, but was extended by mutual agreement to March 18.
Bargaining now focuses on economic issues (3-16-11)
After reaching a tentative agreement March 11 on a new article that addresses policies and procedures for graduate employees with disabilities, the university and Graduate Employees’ Organization bargaining teams will focus their attention on economic issues this week.
The university and GEO bargaining teams have reached six tentative agreements since bargaining began Dec. 5, 2010. The current contract contains 25 articles and 16 were opened during negotiations.
Negotiation sessions this week will focus on salary, benefits, child-care subsidies and the waiver of student fees as well as other topics.
Although the three-year contract expired March 1, the bargaining teams earlier agreed to extend the current contract through March 18.
Bargaining continues with the backdrop of an announced 20 percent reduction in the university’s state appropriation to the lowest level of funding in more than 20 years. Additional information on the university’s finances can be found on this Web site: http://www.vpcomm.umich.edu/pa/key/budget/.
Contact extended through March 18 (3/1/1)
During the final negotiating session before the start of winter break, the bargaining teams agreed to extend the current contract through March 18. The three-year contract expired March 1.
Formal, twice-weekly bargaining will resume the week of March 7.
Most of the Feb. 25 bargaining session was focused on the university’s responses to GEO proposals on a number of topics ranging from salaries and benefits to child care and the terms of the next agreement.
Talks to focus on economic issues, disability accommodation (2/21/11)
Negotiations between the University of Michigan and the Graduate Employees’ Organization will continue this week with discussions expected to focus on economic issues, leaves, disability accommodation and child care. Bargaining sessions are scheduled for Wednesday and Friday.
During negotiating sessions last week, proposals and counter-proposals were shared on such topics as salary, benefits and tuition waivers.
The current three-year contract between the university and GEO expires March 1. The contract may be extended by mutual agreement.
Bargaining teams addressing important issues (2/18/11)
The current three-year contract between the University of Michigan and the Graduate Employees’ Union expires March 1. The contract may be extended by mutual agreement.
Negotiations began Dec. 5, 2010, and have been continuing since then with half-day sessions, twice a week, for much of that time. Both bargaining teams are working hard to resolve a wide range of issues important to the graduate student instructors (GSIs) and graduate student staff assistants (GSSAs) represented by GEO, and the university.
The current contract contains 25 articles and 16 were opened during negotiations. Agreement has been reached on three articles.
Disability accommodation issues: The university and GEO have been making significant progress by working together on a proposal to streamline and clarify the process that GSIs and GSSAs use to request accommodations for disabilities under the American for Disabilities Act. This is an issue that is important to both the university and GEO.
Financial issues: In spite of an announced 15 percent reduction in the university’s state appropriation to the lowest level of funding in more than 20 years, the university has offered GEO members a series of financial proposals that provide:
- Guaranteed annual increases in pay for the next three years.
- An increased child care subsidy.
- An enhancement to current benefits language that would automatically enroll all GSIs and GSSAs, regardless of percentage of appointment, in GradCare health plan coverage.
- Alignment of GradCare co-pays for doctor visits ($15-$20), emergency room visits ($50-$75) and tier 3 prescription drugs ($30-$35) with co-pays for other employee groups. Co-pays will be frozen at these rates for the three years of the contract.
Additional information on the university’s financial situation:
Governor’s budget cuts called ‘significant’
Cost controls and the university budget
Other issues: In addition to the proposals on salaries and other benefits, GEO has made proposals on such issues as providing coverage for Dental 2 and vision insurance at no cost, adding university retirement contributions for GEO members, waiving student fees, extending tuition waiver eligibility and expanding parental leaves.
All of these proposals will be carefully evaluated in the context of the difficult financial situation facing the state and the university.
In addition to the economic issues, the bargaining teams are continuing to engage in important discussions on other contract provisions, including posting requirements, GSI/GSSA rights and the term of the next collective bargaining agreement.