At Thursday’s session, we finally heard OSU’s initial financial proposal, and it was…mostly pretty OK.  Here’s what OSU proposed, along with a quick reaction from the CGE team:

Salary

  • Minimum Salary: Adjust the minimum salary rate so that—over some, as yet undefined, period of time—people working at least 0.40 FTE will be brought to the $1719/month living wage.  We don’t know yet how many stages OSU envisions enacting this change over, but it will represent an eventual 21% increase to the minimum salary rate. CGE Bargaining Team Reaction: 21% is great…as long as we can accomplish it in a few steps/years.
  • Minimum FTE for People Teaching Their Own Classes:  Establish a 0.30 minimum FTE for people solely responsible for teaching a class (not just those given the title of Instructor of Record). CGE Bargaining Team Reaction: 0.30 is a lot better than 0.20, but 0.375 (15 hours/week)  is what we’ve consistently heard people need to teach these classes.
  • Raises at Academic Milestones: 2% raises for people who pass certain academic milestones. It’s not entirely clear yet which milestones will be used, but there would be 2 raises over the course of a PhD. CGE Bargaining Team Reaction: Two 2% raises won’t even keep up with cost of living changes over the course of a PhD, so they aren’t exactly raises, they just partially offset de facto pay cuts we’re already taking.
  • Cost of Living Adjustments: Nothing. CGE Bargaining Team Reaction: We still need cost of living raises to offset the de facto pay cut we otherwise take as cost of living rises and wages stay the same.

Health Insurance

  • Partner & Dependent Premiums:  Increase OSU’s contribution to premiums from 50% to 85% for partners and dependents enrolled on the plan. CGE Bargaining Team Reaction: It’s not the 95% other OSU & UO employees receive, but this is a substantial change that will greatly impact the lives of our members.
  • Employee Premiums:  No change. CGE Bargaining Team Reaction: We need to see some movement on this.

Fees

  • Academic Year Fees:  Remit at 90% starting Fall 2015. CGE Bargaining Team Reaction: Moving to a percentage and upping the remission a little are great, but we see no reason to wait more than a year to make the change.
  • Summer Fees:  Remit at 90% starting Summer 2015. CGE Bargaining Team Reaction: Summer fee remission is great, but again, we’d like to see this happen sooner to help folks faced with high fee bills this summer.

Child Care

  • Child Care Stipend Program:  Nothing. CGE Bargaining Team Response: We need to get something in the contract to offset child care costs.

Tuition Waiver

  • Partner/Dependent Tuition Benefit: Nothing. CGE Bargaining Team Response: We’d like to see OSU do something to offset the costs for dual student families.

 

Overall, we felt that OSU offered a pretty decent initial proposal, especially with respect to the minimum salary,  partner/dependent health insurance, and summer fee remission. We were discouraged to see that cost of living adjustments and child care weren’t addressed, but we’ll be sure to keep pushing on those in our counterproposal.  Come out to bargaining this Friday 1-3pm to see how we counter this offer. If you have any feedback, be sure to email us at unite@cge6069.org and let us know what’s most important to you.

 

2 Responses to Session 10: OSU Responds!

  1. bromley says:

    Amelia-thanks for your feedback on this. We’re definitely thinking about the obstacles grads with families and health concerns face when choosing to attend grad school, and agree that providing quality, affordable health insurance and child care is a way to minimize some of these barriers. We’re working in bargaining to bring down health insurance costs (while improving benefits, so cutting health care costs). One of the benefits of our plan is a $1000 annual out of pocket limit (in network), which will hopefully cut health care costs some if you choose to attend OSU. Feel free to call or email CGE if there are any health insurance questions you have or if you have any more feedback on the bargaining process!

    Solidarity!
    Ashley, CGE Staff Organizer

  2. Amelia Jordan says:

    I am applying as a PhD student right at this moment and have a comment regarding the health insurance in relation to pay. I have type 1 diabetes and one full years worth of treatment and prescriptions cost me $2200 out of pocket with both a primary and secondary WSU insurance.

    I am sure I am not the only graduate student with medical issues that proportionally require such a large amount of income. Not raising the stipend to reflect a current living wage and keeping health insurance premiums higher will drive away students and prevent them from enrolling or require them to take out loans in order to cover the cost of basic health care (as I had to do for my MS).

    I’m not advocating that all stipends rise to the tune of $2000 annual just for medical expenses, but it needs to be taken in consideration of the whole. Individuals that require additional health care and child care will be at a distinct disadvantage, and the lack of appropriate pay will keep them from applying as students to OSU. It is tangentially discriminatory against those who can and absolutely cannot live on the current stipend.

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