It’s BLITZ week!
2/12 Monday - 2/16 Friday - Tabling at Newell Hall with Valentines 10am-5pm
-> volunteers all over campus! Talk with us!
2/14 Wednesday - Tabling at Sun Terrace 10am-5pm
NO ORGANIZING MEETING
2/15 Thursday - Bargaining Session (Reitz 3320 or ZOOM) 1pm-3pm
2/16 Friday - Tabling at PHHP 10am-5pm
GAU LOVES new members
Valentines day is often cluttered with half-hearted, overly commercialized expressions of love. But there is nothing half-hearted about joining your labor union. We are so happy to welcome those who have recently become members and we encourage you to spread the word about our efforts, successes and the benefits of becoming a member. Just this past week our bargaining team engaged in a contentious debate about what UF considers our workload to be, and I am sure it’s no surprise that UF vastly undervalues the labor of their over 4,400 GAs. This is exactly why we need to continue to grow and fight for better working conditions!
Are there risks to joining? NO!
If you have friends that are concerned about joining the GAU because they fear legal repercussions or issues from the university please share with them that we are a legal entity! This means that the university must bargain with us in “good faith” and uphold our collective bargaining agreement which is what our bargaining team does almost every week!
It also means that your employer cannot threaten employees with unemployment for joining the union, and they cannot shut down any efforts by employees to improve their working conditions. This comes from the National Labor Rights Act and extends to discussing working conditions with co-workers and over social media! So share our instagram clips!
Current legislature in Florida prevent UFF (and therefore GAU) from removing dues directly from one’s paycheck. While this does add an extra step to joining as a member. It also means that the University is now no longer linked to our dues payment system and therefore has no access to the information on who is and is not a GAU member.
Now tell them to watch last week’s bargaining session (below) if they need more convincing!
from Thursday Feb 8th
See YouTube for Full Recording
UF equates working our 20 (contractually-obligated) hours to a strike
On Feb 8th, in our latest bargaining session - UF GAU attempted to codify a defined distinction between paid work research assistants do for the university, and the unpaid research we do for our academic development. The blurring of these lines greatly benefits UF, in that it makes it easier to overwork research assistants. Last year, UF stated we do not deserve a living wage because we only work 20 hours per week. Furthermore, they said if GAs are working more than 20 hours per week, they would be a grievable contract violation. Now that we are attempting to define overwork so that those grievances are actually winnable, UF actually called working within our 20 contractually obligated hours an illegal strike. UF is so dependent on unpaid excess work from GAs, it has to resort to making illegitimate claims to protect that status quo.
Furthermore, our grievance team asked UF to communicate with all departments to disseminate the information that all GA’s that are not under other circumstances (restrictions still apply to international students) are now able to have outside work.They also requested data on the distribution of last semester’s merit raises, which should be provided soon.
Updates by Article:
Article 22 (Grievances)
-The main changes we proposed allowed for extended times for the grievance process - allowing for 15 day extensions at each stage; extending retroactive pay from 45 days to 120; clarifying that once there is a final arbitration, there is a 7 day window to enact any remedies from the case
-Our team also proposed a new process so we can offer names to fill out the board should there be vacancies
Article 21 (Discipline)
The grievance team proposed a few minor changes and clarifications after UF’s previous proposal
-Last time, UF removed a statement that just cause for discipline didn’t need to “directly affect the interests of the University”
-> GAU added this back in because it seems like a potential issue for GAs (e.g., student code of conduct and social media)
-> UF claims they removed this because they don’t want to have to prove this
- GAU asked UF to exhaustively list the steps of progressive discipline that may be enacted for transparency
- In GAU’s first time proposing this article in full book, we included a new protection for students disciplined for using a gendered bathroom that doesn’t match with their birth sex
-In UF’s last counterproposal, they removed this, saying it sets a precedent for “prescribing” a punishment for a certain issue
-> In this counterproposal, we put this protection back in, specifying that they can only discipline with a written reprimand on the first offense which they still didn’t seem receptive to
-> GAU asked them to come back with an alternative they may be more open to
Article 7 (Workload)
The main change offered to this article is that we included a way to address excessive workload, by combining the hourly equivalent of your FTE and factoring in real hours from any relevant research / teaching credits
-> UF team insisted this would never be okay because it brings in “academic” requirements into the “employee” contract
*UF insisted for RAs which have overlapping research with their PIs, this would be an academic issue and they would need to go through the academic grievance / complaint route (starting with their advisor, moving up through the assistant dean / dean / OMBUDS)
Our first social of the semester was a resounding success! We had a full room of dedicated members who came to eat good food and learn about our organizing success, BLITZ 2.0 and our revamped discord. We also gave tutorials on our organizing tools and gathered much needed support from our amazing community of members for this week’s campus-wide canvasing event. We also Hand-Printed custom t-shirts that you may see around campus in the coming weeks. If you couldn’t make it to the social or sign-up for a blitz shift you can always help by encouraging your cohort, friends, lab mates, etc. to be open to conversations with our volunteers this week and share your opinion about the importance of our labor union! We are excited to see what this week brings.
Stop by and grab a GAU valentine!
Even if you can’t help out with this week’s BLITZ we would love to see you at our table! We printed custom GAU valentines that will be at our table all week. If every member shared the love and convinced a non-member to join we would make our 60% membership goal in no time! (Keep in mind we have over 20% membership right now!) Can you spread the love and convince 1 PERSON to join GAU this week? Do you have a friend that’s simply been forgetting to finish the sign up? Every new member adds to our collective power and gets us one step closer to our goal. You saw what UF thinks of our hard work!
GatorGradCare Wellness Screenings
Check your email and schedule your GatorWell screening! With a quick screening and short survey you will get a $50 amazon gift card. Take advantage of this benefit and come see us while you're at it. We will have a table at each screening check-in location. Sign a card if you haven't already or come chat with us about our union.
Connect With Us
Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Join our office hours: 8:30-11:30 Mon,Wed,Thurs and 12:45-2:45 Tues (Yon Hall Rm 224)
Find us at a tabling event: 2/12-2/16 10am-5pm Newell Hall, 2/14 10am-5pm at Sun Terrace and 2/16 10am-5pm PHHP
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.