11/30 General Body Meeting - Cypress and Grove 6pm-8pm
-> food, drinks, solidarity!
-> voting on budget and several officer positions
12/01 BARGAINING - Reitz Union 9:15am-11:30am
-> Healthcare and Housing! Come show support!
->Reitz Union Room 3320 or ZOOM meeting, debrief
11/20 Monday - no events
11/21 Tuesday - Tabling at Reitz Union 11am-2pm
11/22 Wednesday - no events
11/23-11/24 - BREAK NO EVENTS
Committee Help Needed
Our Healthcare and International committees need your help! We want our members to share their ideas! Do you have thoughts on GatorGradCare? Please join our Healthcare Committee by emailing chair Nathan Ardnt, email@example.com. Have concerns about issues affecting international students? Join our international committee by getting on our discord!
In the bargaining session last Friday, Nov 17th, our bargaining committee discussed Article 11 which addresses the tuition program. Our proposal to allow all GAs to request extra credit hours for their tuition waiver (up to 12 in spring and 6 in summer). The proposal would also allow for TAs on 9 month contracts to request a tuition waiver for credits over the summer. GAU is now ready to “tentatively agree” to the changes. This means that union members will eventually vote on these changes and with approval they will be sent to the board of trustees for ratification.
We also presented a proposal for Article 21 which covers discipline with the goal of strengthening the protections regarding disciplinary policy and action, especially in light of the stipulation placed into the merit raise we recently voted on. GAU constructed a proposal with clearer specification of disciplinary policy and action. The notice of discipline will also be more specifically defined and the proposal has measures for an improved Employee Assistance Program (EAP). In terms of specific disciplinary actions, the bargaining committee requested a limit to the minimum disciplinary punishment if a GA is found breaking the discriminatory bathroom law.
Our bargaining committee also presented proposals to protect GA contracts in the event of the passage of new laws, court rulings and new university regulations or policies. These are covered in Article 23 - Totality of Agreement, Article 24 - Severability and a new article titled UF Regulations and Procedures.
The GAU Bargaining Committee has been working on many different proposals as we are re-negotiating the entire collective bargaining agreement this year. You can watch each bargaining session on our youtube channel. Updates on the other proposals are in last week’s newsletter. As we get more updates we will post a new detailed list.
On December 1, we will be presenting some of our most important proposals–on healthcare and housing! We want to get y’all out-of-network coverage, better dental, vision and more. Please come to our bargaining session and show the University how much these changes would affect our lives!
Be there: Reitz Union Rm 3320 or ZOOM, Dec 1st, 9:15 -11:30am.
Every week, our organizing team has been tabling to get cards signed and increase membership! We now have around half of the number of cards we need to give our union another year to reach 60% membership.
Checking out cards to members has been a success, so thank you all for helping us reach our goal! Our newest effort is text banking to get more GA’s to our tabling events. To lend a hand, come to an organizing meeting!
Another way you can help our card campaign:
If you are attending any end-of-semester or holiday events (think grading parties, club gatherings, department socials), let us get you some blank cards! Even taking 15 minutes at an event to get a few GA’s to sign cards makes a huge difference.
Tips for Recruiting New Members:
We have found that having face-to-face conversations with GAs in our unit and answering their questions has gone a long way to increase our membership rates and we hope that our members can do the same! One topic many GAs are often concerned about is dues. Dues are 1% of our salary, for most GAs this is $10-15 a paycheck. Most of these dues go to our associated unions. All units within the United Faculty of Florida (GA unions, and faculty members) pay 1% dues, so GAs make up a very small portion of this budget. These dues pay for things like fighting legal battles related to the recent union busting legislation, statewide organizing efforts and a large network of support.
We are connected to UFF along with the Florida Education Association, National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers. The amazing part about having these larger associations backing our union is that we get benefits from every single one! We are also entitled to a free legal council, local discounts and some funds do get directed back to the GAU to support organizing efforts and payday parties. If you include all of these benefits, and the better contracts that we are always bargaining for, union membership practically pays for itself! Spread the word that union membership is worth the price, and comes with some great perks! https://www.ufgau.org/benefits.html
Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Join our office hours: None this week, M 11:30-1:30, T/W/R 8:30-11:30 (11/27-12/01)
Find us at a tabling event: Reitz 11am-2pm Tuesday 11/21, T/W/R 11/28-11/30
Join Discord: discord
We are very excited to be starting a weekly newsletter via email and this blog. In the longer blog post we will go into detail about every article we are bargaining on as well as organizing updates, committee updates and upcoming events! Comment and let us know what you would like to see!
11/30 - General Body Meeting, Cypress and Grove 6pm-8pm
-> We will be voting to approve our budget and electing several officers
12/01 - Bargaining for Healthcare and Graduate Housing!
-> We need members to attend and show that this is important!
(same time, rm and zoom as 11/17)
11/14 Tuesday - Tabling at Reitz Union 11am-2pm
11/15 Wednesday - Tabling at Sun Terrace 11am-2pm
11/16 Thursday - Organizing Meeting and Phone-banking! 4pm-6pm
Carr Hall (attached to Bartram Hall) Room 611
11/17 Friday - Bargaining Session! 9:15am-11:30am
Reitz Union Room 3320 or ZOOM meeting, debrief
- Tabling at Steinmetz Hall 11am-2pm
*FEES DUE 11pm (avoid a late fee)
*GAU Office Hours Yon Hall Room 224 (M 11:45am-1:45pm, T/W/R 8:30am-11:30pm)
Committee Help Needed:
Our Healthcare and International committees need your help! We are currently bargaining for changes to our health insurance policy and we need members interested in change to help contribute ideas and input! If you are interested in or concerned about GatorGradCare please join the committee! Email our chair Nathan Ardnt (email@example.com). If you are interested in joining our international committee please join our discord, and let us know! We need more input from international students and more members to help our committee thrive!
UPCOMING - Dec 1st Bargaining session (9:15 -11:30am)
GAU is presenting proposals for healthcare and graduate housing! We need GAs to attend and show that this matters to us! (Reitz Union Rm 3320 or ZOOM)
The GAU has signed and agreement on Article 10. The minimum GA stipend will be raised to $19,000 for 9-month employees and $25,600 for 12-month employees, with an additional raise of $400 for 9 month contracts and $533 for 12 month contracts for all continuing employees that have not been formally disciplined. Read the post below, from the Alligator for more details!
After coming to an agreement with UF and voting to approve the tentative proposal, our bargaining committee signed the proposal (in September). Since that time we have been waiting for the Board of Trustees to ratify the proposal so that it can go into effect. The board has confirmed that our proposal for Article 10 will be on the agenda for their two-day meeting December 7th-8th. The university has assured us that Article 10 should be ratified then. Once the raise is ratified, there will be back pay to the effective start date of Oct 1st. Each paycheck following ratification should be a $20 increase for all GA's and a $130 increase for those that were at the minimum stipend. This means around $80 and $450 on the first paycheck after ratification when you factor in backpay.
Bargaining Updates by Article
Outside of Article 10, the GAU Bargaining Committee has been working on many different proposals as we are re-negotiating the entire collective bargaining agreement this year. You can watch each bargaining session on our youtube channel.
Articles 1 and 2 - Current Contract Langauge (CCL)
-> Our bargaining committee has discussed with UF, agreed and signed the proposals for current contract language. This was regarding the recognition of the union and university rights.
Article 3 - Consultation
-> The committee is asking for at least one required meeting with the University president under certain conditions (e.g. a pre-approved agenda, no bargaining or policies discussed, etc.)
Article 4 - Appointments, Reappointments and Terminations
-> GAU has crafted a counterproposal which defines the letter of offer as separate from the letter of appointment (LOA). Currently only the LOA is legally binding which means that no multi-year agreements can be enforced.
-> The proposal ensures that international students will receive payroll onboarding information well in advance to ensure they are paid when their appointment starts
-> It also stipulates that UF must reassign a student when possible if their assistantship is “curtailed” mid-semester. When that is not possible the committee is requesting severance pay until the end of the LOA or up to 20 weeks (whichever comes first). This is to give the GA time to make other arrangements.
Article 8 - Leaves of Absence
-> GAU is proposing to make an exception to the current rule preventing first-semester GAs from taking paid leave for the birth of a child, adoption of a child, or placement of a child from foster care.
Article 11 - Tuition Program
-> UF argued against a previous proposal brought by the GAU which asked for the university to pay up to 12 credits for students required to do so by their department. They stated that they did not find any departments where this occurred.
-> Updated GAU proposal primarily allowing students to request additional course credits to be paid for at the discretion of UF with the support of their advisor and department chair
Article 13 - Unlawful Discrimination
-> GAU presented a proposal with substantial changes including updates to definitions, clearing up processes, and ensuring additional protections for students
-> A new section was added to specifically ensure reasonable access to gender neutral bathrooms
-> GAU additionally requested that if any discriminatory legislation was passed, UF and GAU can open a dialogue for how to enforce legislation with the best interest of the GAs at heart
Article 14 - Copyrights and Patents
-> UF and GAU reached a tentative agreement, this is current contract language!
Article 15 - Outside activities and “conflicts of interest”
-> UF brought a proposal to clarify what conflict of interest is and the process students must take if this is the case using university regulations
-> GAU has tentatively agreed to this change
Article 16 - GAU Rights
-> GAU proposed to change title of article from “use of facilities” to “GAU Rights”
-> GAU proposal also called for updating released time (RT) to be 0.5 FTE instead of 0.33; the total FTE for RT was increased to allow for 13 RT students per year which is the same number currently offered for 0.33 FTE
-> The proposal added provisions to require that UF inform the GAU of all offices on campus that have graduate assistants and to inform the GAU of all new GA orientations
-> UF seemed receptive to the office provision but not to the orientation provision.
Article 17 - Dues Deductions
-> GAU signed the latest version of this article which had been open since the summer as “impact bargaining” from SB 256. This will likely be tentatively agreed to and ratified in 2024 along with the full book rather than on its own.
Article 18 - Insurance Deduction
-> GAU signed a tentative agreement on this article, this is current contract language!
Article 20 - Other Employee Rights
-> GAU brought a proposal to move the new provision of outside employment in the (waiting to be ratified) Article 10 and clearing up the language about conflicts of interest with outside employmeent.
Our card campaign is going well and we are about ⅓ of the way to our goal. We are working from all angles to increase both membership and number of card signatures. This includes tabling, attending departmental events, working with student orgs., and reaching out via targetted emails, phone calls and texts. Most importantly, our department stewards and active members are checking out folders and getting cards signed in their department! This has been the most successful strategy. We want to encourage any member looking to help to check out a folder and tell us about upcoming events! If you are attending an organizational meeting, seminar, social event, or even a class, bring a few cards and get a few signed! Every card counts and you can easily make it work with your busy schedule. If you can’t make it to our table, send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org, pop by office hours in Yon Hall or reach out on discord and we can find a way to get you some cards!
We are also sending cards to members at satellite campuses, if you can get card signed at your satellite campus send us an email and we can mail cards, instructions and return postage direct to you! This week’s organizing meeting is Thursday 11/16 from 4-6pm in Carr Hall Room 611. We will be using a good portion of our meeting time to phone-bank and get more people to come out to our tabling events to sign cards!
The Alligator Opinion|Columns
By Cassie Urbenz
September 19th, 2023
Despite the attacks on unions from Florida's legislature, Graduate Assistants United has achieved a historic win for our members. As a certified labor union, we have the legal authority to bargain with our employer over our Collective Bargaining Agreement. Collective bargaining is essential to ensuring the dignity of our labor, as it is the basis for our right to directly negotiate terms of our employment contract, including working conditions and compensation.
The series of bargaining sessions that began in January of 2023 has resulted in the largest raise to the minimum stipend UF-GAU has seen in its 50-year history, more than doubling our historic win last year. Our bargaining team has reached a tentative agreement that results in a $2,200 raise for graduate assistants on 9-month appointments, a $2,847 raise for GAs on 12-month appointments, a $400 merit raise for all 9-month GAs who have not been formally disciplined in the past year, and 12-month GAs of the same status getting a $533 raise.
The implementation of this tentative agreement will improve the living conditions of most of our bargaining unit: around 1000 GAs across 145 departments will see a raise to their minimum stipend and most continuing employees will receive a merit raise. In addition to these raises, departments can no longer restrict outside employment unless prohibited by law, university regulation, or outside funding sources– meaning that domestic students can now work outside of UF to help make ends meet.
Nothing will radicalize you like a bargaining session.
January was quite some time ago, and the road to agreement was not easy. The lowest point in the negotiations was marked by a meeting in April where the UF bargaining team came without a proposal and instead chose to debate how GAs are expected to fund our education and livelihoods. At various points in the session, the university’s representatives said that we do not deserve a living wage and that loans are an option for supplementing our paltry incomes UF claims they are not responsible for keeping up with inflation or ensuring our minimum stipend meets the increasing cost of living in Gainesville. Even after this historic raise, our highest minimum stipend increase was in 2017.
Rather than trying to summarize the nuances of these crucial meetings, we strongly encourage as many people as possible to attend and see what’s happening at these sessions. The university works because we do– however, because we are forbidden from striking, it is difficult to demonstrate to UF how much they need our labor and how imperative it is to compensate us fairly. Consequently, we are left in the obsequious position of pleading with the university by sharing our experiences of hardship. It is always a jarring experience to newcomers and bargaining veterans alike when the university conveys its utter lack of concern for our financial distress in these public meetings.
The union’s message to all GAs and the University.
GAU’s long term goal is to achieve a living wage for all GAs, which according to MIT’s living wage calculator, is close to $34,000. We want our bargaining unit to know that any agreement we reach that falls short of this mark is a compromise and a stepping stone toward this larger goal. We also believe it is in the university’s best interest to maintain its top public university status by compensating us at a rate that will attract the best researchers and teachers in the country.
The reality is that, even with this historic raise to the minimum, we aren’t paid enough. When you aren’t among the long line of graduate students accumulating weekly at six in the morning on Thursdays at the Field and Fork food pantry, it can slip your mind. For those of us in those lines, it’s hard to forget.
For context, even those paid over $10,000 above the current minimum barely meet the cost of living for Gainesville. As one of the GAs that currently makes the minimum stipend, this raise will be life-changing, and I’ll be able to secure reliable transportation thanks to this win. For those of us with pets, debt, medical expenses, and children, it can mean even more. Nevertheless, we have to keep our eyes on the prize and be clear about what our goals are. Until all GAs have a living wage, the struggle for better stipends will continue. [...]
Want to make sure we keep our bargaining rights? Becoming a member is easy and affordable. The only requirement to be a member and help reach the new 60% goal required by the Florida legislature is to pay dues.
Dues are only 1% of your paycheck, and are paid on payday to ensure minimal financial disruption. The benefits of being a union member (e.g., representation during grievances, free legal counseling, access to free food and drink at payday parties, local and national discounts) and those of maintaining the union (like bargaining) far outweigh the 1% cost (~8/biweekly, or $192/yr for those soon to earn the new minimum) considering savings from GatorGradCare ($2,400-$3,000/yr), fee relief (~$700/semester), and the raises we bargain for.
For EVERYONE, joining GAU is easy! Due to a system update installed this past week, returning members can now use the new member link without creating a duplicate.
You can simply visit this website: https://feacms.floridaea.org/portal/fasttrack/79/form and complete the form. You can alternatively visit our website at www.ufgau.com and navigate to “take action” and “become a member” to access the form.
Cassie Urbenz, Brandon Silva, Hannah Jacobs, and Sikander Khare, GAU's Bargaining Chair, contributed to this report.
Fellow Graduate Assistants,
It has taken six months since reopening our 2022-2023 Article 10 salary negotiations to receive our first counter proposal from the UF administrative bargaining team– a counter proposal that not only ignores all our demands and priorities as outlined in our first session but goes beyond to threaten fee relief under the guise of a collaborative and transparent effort.
In late January, UF-GAU presented our first proposal which prioritized raising the minimum stipend to a livable wage and avoiding one-time payments and percentage raises. This was primarily done to protect those of us who make the least and bring our most marginalized groups out of financial crisis. We used comparable data from our competing Top 5 institutions to request a livable stipend based on our cost of living, with a new minimum stipend on a 9-month appointment of $28,875 and a 12-month appointment of $38,500.
While the UF administrative bargaining team has entered new leadership, we are still receiving the same pushback and disregard for graduate assistant wellbeing. Instead of a reasonable offer, we’ve been met with a percentage “raise” in lieu of fee relief, a one-time 3% raise (equating to $9.80/week for students on the minimum), and no regard for raising the minimum stipend. It is incredibly concerning and disheartening to see UF administration, despite recent additions to their team, continuing to repeat history with low-ball offers and no true willingness to pay graduate students what they are worth.
We must continue fighting and pushing for a dignified wage and show UF that we will not stand for an offer that refuses to address our needs. GA’s need to be able to afford housing, to feed our families, and live comfortably outside of the confines of the University’s exploitative wages. We cannot bridge our way to a more communicative bargaining process when we are refused anything close to resembling a livable wage.
Figure 1 (left) and Figure 2 (right). A brief overview of UF’s minimum stipend accounting for inflation in 2023 for a nine-month appointment (left) and a twelve-month appointment (right). Both graphs show that UF has continually paid less over time (blue lines) when accounting for inflation, ultimately showing a pay-cut with each offer on the table.
GAU Chief Bargainer
Fellow Graduate Assistants,
Although many of you have been in contact through the bargaining sessions, I wanted to formally introduce myself. My name is Esteban Rodofili, and I am your new Chief Bargainer. I am an international PhD student in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment. My duties within GAU are to conduct the negotiations for stipends and working conditions in our Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
Last Summer, we finally got the University to pay the transportation and health fees on our behalf as they had agreed to months before. It was important to have the fees paid on our behalf instead of as a lump sum through our paychecks. This is because the lump sum payments could be interpreted by UF as a raise, constraining our ability to obtain a raise in future negotiations. For GAU, it has always been critical to make the distinction between obtaining a raise and fee relief, as fees are payments we make in order to be able to work and therefore a part of our stipend that we are forced to relinquish. I assumed duties close to the end of this negotiation sequence, and our success was possible thanks to the efforts of our bargaining committee and of our former chief bargainer, Javier Mesa.
Between the end of Summer and beginning of Fall semester, we conducted a survey on the current living conditions of graduate assistants, including food security, housing, and access to healthcare, among other aspects. We received over 1,000 responses from graduate assistants. This amazing response has been invaluable in current negotiations with UF administration, and we want to thank everyone who participated!
The results of the survey were unfortunate but not surprising. 29% of respondents have been unable to or have had to delay buying groceries, 24% have had to supplement their stipend with an informal or part-time job, 20% have been unable to or have had to delay paying rent, and 50% of respondents could not afford or had to delay getting medical attention, among other disheartening results.
This Fall we began negotiations over Article 10 of our CBA, which dictates stipends, raises, and fee relief. This article is negotiated every year. Our first proposal to UF was an increased minimum stipend of $38,833.33 for twelve-month appointments at a 0.5 FTE (other appointments being proportional to this stipend). This number was based on UF’s own calculations for off-campus housing costs (since there isn’t enough on-campus housing capacity for graduate students) to remove GAs from being rent-burdened (having rent being more than 30% of their income), a condition that makes us particularly vulnerable to any emergency expense and to financial hardship.
UF counteroffered an across-the-board raise of $1,060 annual. Unfortunately, this also included elimination of our fee relief, meaning that over half of that raise would be consumed by our payment of the transportation and health fees.
We counteroffered a proposal with fee relief included as currently is, and an increase of the minimum to an equivalent to that of the University of Michigan ($34,794.00 for twelve-month appointments at a .50 FTE). We chose to base our raise off the University of Michigan because it is currently ranked #3 in the US News and World Report public schools ranking (just two steps ahead of UF). We also reiterated that UF currently pays GAs less than they did in 2017. For a reference, the equivalent for inflation of the twelve-month minimum of the 2017-2020 CBA ($21,333.33) would be $24,104.99 in October 2021 (calculated from July 2017).
The University has heard our arguments and has requested to extend negotiations into the Spring semester to develop a new counterproposal. We know this is hard and that we all hoped to have a stipend increase by the end of the year. However, we believe we have been heard, and that it is in the interest of a higher stipend increase to give the University the necessary time to come up with a counterproposal that ensures taking graduate assistants out of financial hardship. We can think of the following weeks as an investment, by giving our counterpart the chance to meet the needs of some many graduate assistants, and to show we are here to play the long game, making sure the results of this negotiation have a palpable improvement in the quality of life of graduate assistants.
I want to personally thank all the graduate assistants that have answered the survey and attended the bargaining sessions. Your presence in bargaining sessions is very valuable. The more graduate assistants that are present, the more difficult it is for the University to refuse our proposals.
To those who have volunteered to speak and let UF know of your struggles to make ends meet every month, I wanted to thank you especially. Although the Bargaining Committee works extremely hard to represent all GAs in negotiations, your voices and stories are vastly more influential and will likely be essential in the negotiations this Spring.
If you have questions or suggestions about bargaining or would be interested in joining one of our committees, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Finally, I wanted to emphasize what we can achieve together and our strength to fight for better working conditions and stipends in the future. Not too long ago, GAs did not have healthcare among our benefits and together as a union we were able to make it a reality. The future success of both GAs and the University of Florida depend on our commitment to fight for more equitable and fair working conditions for current and future GAs. If we will not fight, nobody else will.
Thank you all, happy holidays and have a relaxing break! I will see you at the bargaining table back in January.
GAU Chief Bargainer
1,048 UF GAs replied to a survey inquiring about their financial stability under their current stipend. The results can be found in the report below.
It is unacceptable that GAs are forced to choose between their basic needs. We are fighting to ensure equitable pay for the labor of graduate assistants!
We were advised during this week's bargaining session that the university may be prohibited from using state funds to provide fee waivers for the health and transportation fees. We are currently waiting for documentation of why state funds cannot be used for waivers and will respond to their informal proposal once we receive it. The university also informally offered to provide GAs this semester a lump sum payment in the form of a check/direct deposit equal to the amount of the health and transportation fees. We anticipate this would be paid as a reimbursement check some time before the end of the year. For Spring 2021 and beyond, this amount would be disbursed across all paychecks, according to the informal proposal.
In the meantime, we recommend not paying your fees immediately. We understand that it may be difficult for some to save for a lump payment in mid-November. The university has advised it will likely extend the deadline for payment to November 20th; we are working to reasonably resolve related fee issues by then and will update you accordingly!
You may also be curious whether the amount owed according to your Bursar account statement is accurate. Our team has done some research and made persistent requests for information related fees calculation from the Bursar. What we've learned is that fees should be at least $81.96 per credit hour for in-person courses and independent/supervised/directed research credits. Fees for courses delivered remotely may be more than $81.96 per credit hour if a distance learning fee is assessed. However, we're told the distance learning fee varied from department to department and college to college. If the amount of fees you owe is more than $81.96 per credit hour and you are taking a course delivered through Zoom, then you are advised to contact your department and college to ask for the amount of any distance learning fees assessed on these courses.
We understand that fee charges in your Bursar account this semester are confusing. Your union is keeping active communication with the Bursar as well as other representatives to make sense of it all. We are starting to get more answers and will keep you informed of new developments as we move forward. Thank you for your patience and stay tuned for more updates soon.
GAU continues to bargain with UF over our health insurance plan, GatorGradCare (GGC). During our October 7th bargaining session, GAU representatives fought to ensure graduate employees in need of expensive care or treatments will not suffer an even greater financial burden in the future.
In response to our tentative acceptance of some changes to the health care plan, UF released a new proposal. You can compare the administration's current proposal from October 7th with their previous proposition from September 30th below.
Of note, the Administration is no longer seeking to increase co-insurance for Tier 2 services from 70/30% to 60/40%. GAU opposed this proposal because it put our most vulnerable GAs at risk. We have also fought increases in the calendar year deductible (CYD). UF proposed increasing the deductible by 100%, from $100 to $200. GAU countered with a 50% increase, from $100 to $150. This deductible does not apply for services with a co-payments, such as doctor visits.
UF's new proposal does not currently account for an increase in monthly premiums. The Administration and GatorCare are still determining what increase they would like to propose. GAU believes small premium increases are a vital way to protect our GAs with chronic illnesses and those who experience life-threatening medical issues.
You can watch our latest bargaining session below to see how GAU fights to protect the health of graduate employees.
Fellow graduate assistants,
GAU is currently bargaining with the administration concerning our health insurance plan, GatorGradCare (GGC). The big issue that we and the administration are contending with is that over the past three years GGC has been operating at a total deficit of $383,369. This, in conjunction with overall rising healthcare costs, means that the UF administration needs to make a deal that saves them money for this program.
They made their proposal this past Wednesday, September 30th. Here are the proposed changes:
This plan makes no increases to GAs monthly premiums, but this is offset with increased costs elsewhere. Most concerning to GAU are the increase in calendar year deductible (CYD) from $100 to $200, the increase in Tier 2 hospital per admission deductibles (PAD) to $1500, the increase in Tier 2 services co-insurance from 70/30% to 60/40%, and a $20 per visit copay for dental services.
GAU opposes this proposal because it puts our most vulnerable GAs at risk. As a group insurance plan, large individual costs for those with chronic illnesses are offset by the premiums of healthier individuals. The UF administration’s offer keeps monthly premiums the same but increases individual costs should emergencies or chronic illnesses arise. This is something we are all hyper aware of during this global pandemic. Therefore, GAU is countering with a plan that removes or reduces the four proposed changes discussed above. We are aware that this will inevitably result in an increase in monthly premiums for GAs across the board. However, we feel that it is important to protect our GAs with chronic illnesses and those who experience life-threatening medical issues, especially since based on our calculations the increased premium amount will be less than 50%.
I understand that health care can be needlessly complex and confusing, which is why GAU held a Health Care Town Hall on September 16th to go over some basic concepts and discuss the options that were previously on the table.
Fellow graduate assistants and allies,
This pandemic presents a choice to all of us. Graduate employees are depending on the University of Florida to institute fair standards and protections due to the disruption of academic and personal life caused by Coronavirus (COVID-19).
3 Ways to Support GAU
Here’s how you can take action:
Call, email, or tweet, President Fuchs and demand that he directs the Office of the Provost to immediately come to an agreement with GAU on a memorandum of understanding (MOU) including the following relief and protections for graduate employees:
As president, Fuchs is responsible for the everyday operations of the University and for setting UF's goals and missions, including protecting its students and workers. Tell him you stand with GAU!
Collective bargaining is the process by which labor unions negotiate with employers to reach a contract on terms of employment, including salary, health care, benefits, and workplace safety. Each year, GAU bargains with UF over such terms.