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Health Insurance vs Paid Leave: Bargaining #13!

This FRIDAY, 10/8, is our next bargaining session, from 2-5PM! Be there to witness the University try to throw pregnant people under the bus! Oh, you don’t know about that? WELL… Last Week, On Bargaining… A LOT happened during last week’s bargaining, so here’s a double-time recap for you:

The Good…

  • We signed the MOU and closed impact bargaining. We didn’t get the health and safety requirements we wanted out of it, but we got a LOT of other safeties and protections. We’ll be doing a Town Hall on that before the ratification process begins, so be on the look-out for that!

  • We TA’d (Tentative Agreement’d) Articles 3 (Employee Performance Evaluations), 4 (Graduate Assistant File), 5 (Academic Freedom), 14 (GAU Rights), 18 (Other Employee Rights), 19 (Blank, but what we had put into it—Discipline—has now been subsumed into Article 18).

  • The Big Wins from all this include: Guaranteed orientation time for GAU, non-discrimination protections for any political affiliation or union member or non-member, recognition of the power differential between GAs and their supervisors, a workplace free from demeaning, humiliating, or hostile behavior, and a lot, lot more.

  • We are VERY close to an agreement on Article 8 (Non-Discrimination, Sexual Misconduct, and Retaliation). Last week we proposed an appeals process for sexual harassment investigations, and although administration rejected that, we did have a productive conversation about what we could do, and the possibility of forming a committee.

The Bad…

The University then proposed a trade: We give up on improving our “Leave” article, and they cover the $166 increase on health insurance premiums this year. We REJECTED this offer, for a few reasons.

  1. This is a naked ploy to pit our members against each other. Pregnant members who deserve birth and childcare leave are NOT worth less than our members who need the extra $166 coverage on their health insurance.

  2. Every year for the past 3 years, FSU has covered our health insurance premium increase. By offering that in EXCHANGE for sacrificing our Leave article, they were offering us what we have come to expect as THE BARE MINIMUM on our health insurance article.

  3. If they were able to offer us the $166 coverage now, that means it has been approved by the BOT. I cannot PROMISE we will get that money in the end, but it already fits into the BOT’s budget, apparently.

  4. There are PLENTY of parts of the Leave article that would NOT cost the University ANY MONEY, such as the ability to Work From Home or hybrid work; or even just adjusting UNpaid leave from “within 6 months of the birth of a child” to “within 1 year of the birth of a child.” This costs the University NOTHING.

  5. This is a “Full Book” year, which only happens once every 3 years. Health insurance opens every year, but Leave does NOT. That means we wouldn’t be able to revisit this issue for three more years.

For all of these reasons, we rejected the University’s offer. However, we want to hear from YOU, the members! If this doesn’t sit right with you, if you have concerns, please email us and let us know.

Impact Statements

With that in mind, NOW is the time to SHARE YOUR STORY with the University. We are specifically looking for impact statements on:

  • Health Insurance: Is health insurance too expensive? Don’t appreciate the University holding $166 over your head as a bargaining chip? Does your medicine cost too much money on too small a salary? Have you had medical expenses that far outstrip your ability to pay? Talk to us!

  • Sexual Harassment Investigations: Has the end result of a sexual harassment investigation worked out poorly for you? Wish you had the ability to appeal the decision, the punishment, the remedies? We want to hear from YOU!

  • Paid Leave: Are you a caregiver, expectant parent, or need continued work from home or flex accommodations to be able to do your job? What would short-term paid time off—for immigration proceedings, for voting, for caregiving—mean for YOU? What would longer-term paid leave—for caregiving, for giving birth or adopting, for long-term illness or disability—mean for YOU?

Impact statements can be anonymous, and we can read them for you.

We’ll be available in our “caucus room” for 30 minutes before bargaining. There, we will go over exactly what we’re presenting in more detail with you, so we can receive feedback from YOU, the members. We want to make sure we are representing YOUR concerns, priorities, and demands. So come to caucus at 1:30PM to make your voice heard, and then we will head over to the “main” bargaining room at 2:00PM to present those demands to the FSU administration! Looking forward to seeing you all at bargaining this Friday. Remember: united we bargain, divided we beg! In Solidarity, Vincenza Antonetta Berardo Chief Negotiator & Bargaining Chair

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