Fellow graduate assistants,
On Monday, March 30th, GAU's Bargaining Committee conducted an impact bargaining session with UF's administration over the impacts of its emergency measures and mandates during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency. Impact bargaining is the process by which a labor union negotiates with the employer over the impacts of decisions they have made. In this case, GAU is bargaining over the impacts of the University's instructions to graduate employees during the current public health crisis. This includes physical and mental safety, family and child care, access to buildings, materials, and resources, availability of Graduate and Family Housing, compensation for increased work, and COVID-19 testing.
During the virtual bargaining session, which lasted roughly an hour, GAU's Bargaining Chair Javier Mesa presented University administrators with a memorandum of understanding (PDF), which is a document by which two parties can agree to binding terms. Over the course of the session, it became clear that administrators were not ready to come to an agreement. When pressed on his willingness to sign a memorandum of understanding at all, UF's Chief Bargainer Dr. Bill Connellan responded by saying: "Do I think that we're likely to come to a memorandum of understanding? Probably not at the current time."
This is an extraordinary moment for our community and country. GAU will continue to work to represent and protect the interests of graduate employees. GAs deserve better, it's that simple.
Please watch our first impact bargaining session below or on our YouTube channel, and let us know what stands out to you. Is there a specific topic or argument that you believe we missed, a response from the Administration that angered you, or a topic of particular importance to you and your family? We have identified relevant segments below for viewing.
In addition, during bargaining with UFF, Dr. Bill Connellan stated that the University is not responsible for caring for parent-GAs, ignoring the concerns of parent-GAs that they will be unfairly penalized for failing to maintain regular work hours due to caring for a child at home, a loved one, or themselves.
Please comment below or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to hear your feedback. We are your union, your voice.
GAU Bargaining Committee
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.