Before I begin, I just want to apologize for the delay in posting this recap!
Last Friday, July 28th, GAU's bargaining team met with FSU for the eleventh time. We've been going back and forth for few months now so you'd think that each successive meeting would be more and more productive... that was not the case. Instead of making a good faith effort to meet our compromise outlined in the previous blog, FSU raised their minimum stipend proposal by a measly $400 while slashing the across-the-board raise from 5.25% to 4%. They then said that they are nearing the end of what they can offer and that 4% was "the lowest we're willing to go with raises" as if we want lower raises.
Let's address FSU's constant use of strawman tactics. The comment above is a loaded statement that assumes we want lower raises - this is not true. What we have said, and said numerous times, is that we want raises but we are prioritizing the minimum stipend. Increase the minimum stipend, then we can talk raises. FSU also keeps saying that we didn't want a two-year deal, which again is putting words into our mouths. Our position has been clear that we are not opposed to a two-year deal IF we see the "financial flexibility" that FSU says it would provide. We have not seen that in any proposal so we have refused to accept it. It is extremely frustrating to be so transparent and yet still be misrepresented. FSU is either not listening to us or intentionally misrepresenting our positions, it is an ugly tactic and FSU must stop it.
Returning to the last session: our team was obviously very frustrated with FSU's latest offer. To further push us to concede, their team threatened that they would not be able to implement fee relief for the fall semester despite the fact it is a scholarship. They state since it's new that it will take time to implement... does FSU have no experience in giving scholarships?? Also, they can absolutely get ahead of this, we already agreed to the fee relief language, we are simply hashing out the numbers now.
Knowing we weren't going to get anywhere with just stipends, we decided to bring back health insurance into the mix. Our counter was as follows:
- Put minimum at $20,000 with a TBD percent raise
- In recognizing their small increase to the minimum, we accepted their fee relief language but increased the amounts to $1000 for 0.5 FTE and $500 for 0.25-0.49 FTE.
- Gave back the same proposal as before with a subsidy covering 90% of premium costs which includes dental, vision, and dependent coverage.
- Included a conditional statement where we would come down significantly on health insurance and remove dental, vision, and dependent coverage from the subsidy if they meet us on stipends.
We are in a position where we need to make compromises and we believe this is a good deal that FSU should take. Our next meeting is this Monday, August 7th from 2-5PM at the training center where we await FSU's response. If you are a GA, faculty, or a community member, please show up and show your support for our cause! Hope to see you there!
FSU-GAU Bargaining Chair