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Bargaining BEGINS--Friday, 4/9, 2-4PM

Bargaining Session #1 It’s that time again! The first session of the 2021 bargaining season opens this Friday, April 9th 2-4PM, live on ZOOM, and BOY, do we have a LOT of work to do. CASH PRIZES First thing first: CASH PRIZES! We are trying to make this opening day of bargaining the biggest and best one we’ve ever had. Can we get over a HUNDRED Graduate Assistants (and their friends, family, coworkers) to show up?! We’re sure as heck going to try! That’s why we’re holding a department competition with a cash prize! Whichever department turns out the MOST members to bargaining this Friday, every member of that department who was present gets a $5 Publix gift card. We’ll even mail the gift card to you if you’re out of town, so this is NOT just limited to people in Tallahassee. Want that $5 Publix gift card? Get your friends, colleagues, enemies to show up to bargaining! Everyone in your department, if they’ve got access to an internet-capable device or a cell phone, get them into this zoom session! The Issues Onto a more serious note: as this is a full-book year, you union now has the opportunity to address more issues than just raises and health insurance. This Friday, the first article we will present to FSU-BOT is an updated sexual harassment policy. In light of recent news events, there has never been a more pressing need to strengthen the contract’s sexual harassment procedures. With that in mind, on Friday we will present a new Unlawful Discrimination article, with a new sexual harassment procedure that includes third-party arbiters. We will also present a new Discipline article which aims to prevent supervisors taking unfair and biased discipline actions against their Graduate Assistants. Finally (of the major articles), we will present an article on Workload. This will have more clearly defined tasks for each paid position for Graduate Assistants and will reduce the amount of hours your advisor can claim is for “dissertation research” rather than “work.” We have 24 articles in the contract and we plan on proposing changes to pretty much every single one of them. Financial asks such as raises, higher stipends, fee relief, winter break pay, lower health insurance premiums, and tuition waivers will all come later in bargaining (by June). Some of the other asks we are presenting early in bargaining include orientation time for the union, access to our bargaining unit list (so we can send these info emails to non-members, too!), outside employment privileges, and more. What YOU Can Do But what can YOU, the average member of GAU, do to help? We’re so glad you asked! SHOW UP No matter who you are—TA, RA, spouse, faculty, WHATEVER—if you show up to bargaining on Friday, that’s one more member showing their solidarity. Our main leverage is our MEMBERS: that’s you! So show up and let FSU-BOT know you are WATCHING them. ZOOM LINKS at the bottom of this email. SPEAK UP The way we won as much as we did last year was through IMPACT STATEMENTS. Impact statements are 3-5 minute statements from ordinary members telling the FSU-BOT exactly how they are affected by FSU’s poor treatment of their GAs and that they should do what your union is asking for, because it would help fix it. This week ESPECIALLY, impact statements are so, so important. They can be anonymous, and we can read them for you, if that’s what you want. This Friday we are SPECIFICALLY looking for impact statements on:

  • Sexual harassment at FSU

  • Unfair, biased, or inappropriate discipline or retaliation

  • Workload problems, such as overwork or unrealistic expectations

If you have a story you’d like to share, send it to If you have any concerns about sharing your story, please e-mail us and talk to us about it. FYI, the only one with access to the bargaining e-mail address right now is Chief Negotiator Vincenza Berardo. We will respect your privacy requests, whatever they might be. SIGN UP

The bargaining committee will continue to meet throughout bargaining this year, because there is just so very much to do! If you’re interested in helping out, send an email to Bargaining committee will meet approximately once every two weeks until bargaining is over (so until August at least). This is our first bargaining session of the year: let’s make it one to REMEMBER. Get your friends out here, get yourSELVES out here, and let’s win some major victories. Remember, United we bargain, divided we beg. In Solidarity, Vincenza Antonetta Berardo Chief Negotiator UFF-FSU-GAU

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