COVID-19 Impact Bargaining #1
This Thursday we had our first impact bargaining session with FSU on reopening campus amidst this COVID-19 Delta variant surge. We proposed 22 articles, all designed to protect GAs health, safety, research, and finances while the future remains deeply uncertain. Although the administration agreed to many of our provisions, the ones they rejected were the most telling, and the most important.
“Tell Students We ‘Expect’ Masks”
Your Union proposed a simple solution to the political and financial pressures the University faces: Rather than mandate masks, or mandate vaccines, FSU could mandate a domain of options for students to choose from. This could include masking and vaccines, or it could include face shields, social distancing, flex/hybrid learning options (such as students Zoom-ing in to lectures), alternative teaching locations (such as outside), negative COVID-19 tests, &c. This would avoid the prohibition against mask or vaccine mandates, while still allowing us all to put into place safety procedures for ourselves, our students, and our loved ones.
The FSU administration rejected this out of hand, and instead responded with the proposal that we tell students we “expect” masking, vaccination, &c. They said this “rhetoric” is all FSU can do.
But “rhetoric” is not a safety procedure.
We will of COURSE continue to FIGHT the FSU administration on this, until they put into place REAL safety procedures for their employees, their students, and the larger FSU community. We will NOT allow the University to shirk responsibility for their health and well-being of their employees and students. Watch your email for info about our NEXT Impact bargaining session with FSU.
What We Advise
In the meantime, there ARE some things FSU already agreed to that you can do to keep yourself and your students and loved ones safe
If you have an ADA recognized health condition that would make you vulnerable to COVID, and are willing to share this with FSU, you can register it and request for accommodations. These accommodations may be remote work, but they might also be social distancing, alternative work times/locations, &c.
If you have concerns for people in your family or yourself but do NOT have an ADA recognized condition, you may talk to your supervisors about some alternative options
If you are exposed to COVID and need to quarantine, you are allowed to switch to remote work for the duration of the quarantine without using your normal sick days
You may ask your students to wear masks, face shields, or social distance from yourself and each other
You may offer remote office hours, and if a student insists on meeting in person, you may ask them to wear a mask, or meet them outside/in a socially distanced place
You may drop a Zoom link on the first day of in-person class to your students and point at it significantly and say “hey I’ll be live-streaming my class the whole semester from the classroom and here’s the link so…” and then point and nod and wink at the link.
Obviously none of this is enough. Which is why your Union will continue to fight for YOU. But we can’t do this alone…
If you are outraged, scared, angry, disgusted, or mix of those, REACH OUT TO US at firstname.lastname@example.org . We need more GAs willing to read IMPACT STATEMENTS to the University, to share with them EXACTLY who their deadly policies are affecting, and how bad the consequences of their utter dereliction of duty could be.
The power we have is YOUR VOICE. USE IT and SPEAK UP NOW. This is the time to FIGHT.
United We Bargain, Divided We Beg!
In solidarity, Vincenza Antonetta Berardo Chief Negotiator & Bargaining Chair UFF-FSU-GAU