FSU GAU

United Faculty of Florida - Florida State University - Graduate Assistants United (UFF-FSU-GAU) represents and advocates for the interests of its members and all graduate assistants at Florida State University. GAU was founded in 2008 and is the only legally recognized collective bargaining agent for graduate assistants at FSU and seeks to improve working conditions and defend the working rights of all GAs. GAU's first contract was ratified in the Fall of 2010, ensuring that all GAs across the FSU campus receive fair and equitable treatment as students and employees. Since this first contract was negotiated with the university administration,  we have increased the minimum stipend twice, secured an across-the-board performance raise, increased the health insurance subsidy, secured Family Medical Leave for all GAs, and advocated for the rights of students, as individuals and as groups, through the grievance process.

The current goals of GAU are to meet and exceed the benefit levels enjoyed by graduate students at other universities with preeminent status. Specifically, we want to achieve 100% health insurance reimbursement subsidies and 100% tuition and fees payment for all eligible GAs.  By coming together, we can make improvements in our lives and do much more together than we can alone. Help us make FSU competitive with other universities in the state of Florida.  More members equals more leverage equals better benefits.

Please use the link below to join GAU today!

FSU works because we do!


Bargaining: 2014 Reopener

Initial Bargaining Session: Thursday, June 19, 2014 3:30-5:00PM at the FSU Training Center

During the initial bargaining session, GAU Chief Negoiator, John Emanuello, presented "The State of the Bargaining Unit" which outlined the current situation for our GAs in terms of stipends, health insurance, and fees. The University presented us with ground rules for this bargaining season, but the GAU bargaining team refused to sign them solely due to item 6. We agreed that this was not fair for two reasons:

  1. bargaining meetings are public under the sunshine laws, and the university has no reasonable expectation of privacy, and
  2. GAU has the right to ensure accurate records of the proceedings are taken.

 

The university denied the request for the rule to be removed on the grounds that having conversations recorded would "chill negotiations". When further pressed, the university also cited fear of GAU giving misleading sound bites to the media, with the intention of misconstruing the nature of the university’s positions. We attempted a compromise in which we would alert their team when we wanted to use a recording device, but the university denied that as well. Unable to reach a compromise, both sides left the table after only accomplishing one thing, scheduling the next meeting. The next bargaining meeting is scheduled for July 22 at 3:30.

Bargaining Session #2: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 3:30-5:00PM at the FSU Training Center

The room was packed with GAs! Including the GAU bargaining team, there were around 45 GAs in attendance.

The University opened the session with modified ground rules. We struck a couple of sentences and signed them. They also proposed changes to Article 7 (Outside Employment or Activity/Conflict of Interest). In this proposal, deleted words are struck through and added words are underlined.

We proposed changes to three articles: Article 12 (Matriculation and Tuition), Article 16 (Health Insurance), and Article 23 (Stipends). We also proposed a Memorandum of Agreement that would allow new members to sign our membership form electronically. We expect to receive counter proposals at the next session.

We also learned that FSU heard our concern with the way that the health insurance subsidies are paid to GAs mid-semester and taxed as a bonus. A payroll deduction system is in the testing phase by which a GA that purchases the FSU offered insurance plan can have their subsidy paid directly to the health insurance provider by having the remaining balance deducted from his or her paycheck over the course of the semester. It is important to note that if this system is implemented, the only way a GA can receive the health insurance subsidy is through this payroll deduction process.

Bargaining Session #3: Monday, August 11, 2014 1:00-3:00PM at the FSU Training Center

The room was packed with GAs! Including the GAU bargaining team, there were more than 30 GAs in attendance.

We opened up negotiations with a counter proposal to Article 7 (Outside Employment or Activity). The issue was discussed and the University will give a counter proposal at the next meeting.

Bargaining Session #4: Friday, August 15, 2014 1:00-3:00PM at the FSU Training Center

Again, the room was packed with GAs! Including the GAU bargaining team, there were more than 30 GAs in attendance. The University gave counter proposals to three articles: Article 7 (Outside Employment or Activity/Conflict of Interest), Article 16 (Health Insurance), and Article 23 (Stipends). Their counter proposal on Article 12 (Matriculation and Tuition) was $0 towards fees.

Bargaining Session #5: Thursday, August 21, 2014 3:00-5:00PM at the FSU Training Center

There were over 60 GAs at this bargaining session! We had so many supporters squeezed in the room that the FSU bargaining team stated that some of their members were "uncomfortable" and later they wanted us to agree to reconvene at a later date. We have had a steady number of supporters at each bargaining meeting and we requested a room large enough to accomondate everyone at the last meeting. We signed a Memorandum of Agreement that would allow us to have an electronic membership form.

We opened up negotiations with counterproposals to Article 12 (Matriculation and Tuition), Article 16 (Health Insurance), Article 23 (Stipends), Article 7 (Outside Employment or Activity/Conflict of Interest).

FSU verbally countered our proposals with:

  1. Article 23 (Stipends): Increase the minimum nine-month stipend to $9500 for GAs with a 0.50FTE
  2. Article 12 (Matriculation and Tuition): $0 in fee relief

FSU did not give us counterproposals on Article 7 (Outside Employment or Activity/Conflict of Interest) or Article 16 (Health Insurance). However, we were assured that:

  1. any GA that paid their health insurance premiums in full will be refunded and can receive the subsidy by enrolling in payroll deductions, and
  2. GAs that purchase a spouse or family plan will only have the single GA premium deducted through payroll deductions

We then gave counterproposals to Article 12 (Matriculation and Tuition) and Article 23 (Stipends) and scheduled the next bargaining session.

Bargaining Session #6: Tuesday, September 2, 2014 3:00-5:00PM at the FSU Training Center

Again, there were over 60 GAs at this bargaining session! We received counter proposals from the University to Article 16 (Health Insurance), Article 23 (Stipends) , Article 7 (Outside Employment or Activity/Conflict of Interest this looked very similar to their original offer), and $0 towards fees on Article 12 (Matriculation and Tuition).

We gave them the following counterproposals: Article 16 (Health Insurance), Article 23 (Stipends), Article 7 (Outside Employment or Activity/Conflict of Interest). Our counterproposal to Article 12 (Matriculation and Tuition) was our last counterproposal.

The University countered with the following: Article 16 (Health Insurance) and Article 23 (Stipends).

Bargaining Session #7: Wednesday, September 17 at 2PM at the FSU Training Center

Flyer for bargaining

Map of location

 

Important Information

Letter from Florida Representative Michelle Reywinkel Vasilinda regarding Fees-to-Work

See the letter here.

Presidential Search Committee Meeting

The Presidential Search Advisory Committee will meet on September 5, 2014 from 10AM-2PM, in room 208 of the Augustus B. Turnbull III Conference Center, 555 West Pensacola Street, Tallahassee, Florida.

See GAU President Ballenger's comment here.

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