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Bargaining Sessions #5, 6, and 7

This past week, GAU met with FSU for our sixth (6/7) and seventh (6/9) session. Our fifth session was as short one where FSU presented their written proposals from the fourth session.

To recap the fifth session, FSU presented their proposals for a 2-year contract. This included language in the stipends article to raise the minimum stipend to $17,100 for a 9 month appointment, a 5% raise for 2023-2024 and 2024-2025, and $250 per semester in fee relief ($125 for below 0.5 FTE). They also opened the duration article to say there will be no bargaining next year. FSU wanted to strike out Article 15 (Union Dues) since it conflicts with a recently passed Florida law that makes it illegal to take union dues directly from paychecks.

In the following session, we came back with our counters. We held onto the duration and union dues articles, as well as health insurance and appointments. We returned stipends since this was the article where the most movement was happening. To reiterate our commitment to raising the minimum stipend, we struck the 5% raises and stated concretely that in order for us to accept a two year contract, we must address the minimum stipend first. Once that is in order, we can talk more about raises*. We lowered our ask to a $27,300 minimum stipend for 0.5FTE ($13,650 for 0.25 FTE amounting to $35 an hour). We also put back language to cap fee relief rather than simply put how much FSU will give us. This language gets rid of discrimination that international GAs face with student fees**.

FSU gave their response to stipends in the seventh session. In their proposal, the only concession they made was to raise the stipend to $18,000 (for 0.5FTE and prorated for other FTE) after the second year (2024-2025). They rejected our language for capping fee relief, opting back for their original language of a fixed dollar amount each semester. In caucus, our bargaining team decided it best to not give a response that day and instead take the time to give a proposal the next session. We did however ask clarifying questions as well as have impact statements describing how our lack of pay is affecting departments, especially when it comes to recruitment. It seems FSU's team got our message, now let's see if they are serious about doing something about it.

Our next scheduled session is Friday, June 23rd from 2:30-5:00PM at the training center (493 Stadium Drive). Please try to attend if you can as a heavy GA presence helps strengthen our positions and gives us more leverage in negotiations. I hope to see you there!

In solidarity,

Dennis Houlihan

Physics PhD Student

FSU-GAU Bargaining Chair

Chief Negotiator

* One thing to note about the raise structure is that it only affects GAs that are here currently, and does not affect the baseline. New students that come in after the raise is implemented are stuck at the same spot we are in now, but with even less buying power due to the rising cost of living and inflation. Also, across the board raises give more money to GAs that are already making more money. Our goal is to raise the floor as high as possible so that no GA has to worry about food or basic expenses. A raise to the floor also puts pressure on higher paying departments to increase their pay as well.

** Most IGAs cannot establish in-state residency, so they have to pay out of state fees for their entire tenure at FSU. While FSU may say this is an unfortunate circumstance, we call it for what it is: discrimination.

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