GAU met regularly with university representatives from June to August to negotiate a new contract. As part of negotiations, we argued for better pay and other benefits after discussing strategies to obtain the best possible contract. During bargaining sessions, we presented research on benefits at comparable educational institutions in and out of Florida. We ran quantitative analyses of university offers to determine their impact. We also carefully discussed each offer. In addition, while negotiations were ongoing, we distributed a press release to media organizations about our efforts. As a result, the following story ran on WFSU: http://news.wfsu.org/ .
We are pleased to report that, on Sep. 21 and 22, Graduate Assistants voted unanimously to approve the 2017-18 contract changes.
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We had a bargaining session on Thursday, August 3. Here is where we currently stand:
Stipends: FSU proposed a minimum stipend of $13,750 for 9-month GAs on a 0.5 FTE, and a 1.75% pay increase for all GAs already earning above the minimum. This is a slight increase from their previous offer of $13,500 and 1.5%.
GAU countered by asking for a minimum hourly rate of $18.46 during the academic year or Summer Session A. For an academic year appointment at 0.5 FTE, this is a minimum stipend of $14,400. For a Summer Session A appointment at 0.25 FTE, this is a minimum stipend of $3,600. For Summer Session B and Summer Session C, GAU asked for a minimum hourly rate that would translate to a minimum stipend of $3,600 for an appointment at 0.25 FTE.
We strongly believe GAs deserve a better raise than the University has offered. This is especially true given significant increases in GA stipends at other public Florida universities and a national inflation rate of roughly 2%.
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The University and GAU presented counterproposals. Below is an update on Thursday’s bargaining session.
Thanks to the GAs who showed up — you helped show the University we are invested in our contracts.
Stipends: FSU proposed a minimum stipend of $13,500 for 9-month GAs on a 0.5 FTE, and a 1.5% pay increase for all GAs already earning above the minimum. This is a slight increase from their previous offer of $13,000 and 1%. GAU countered by asking for a minimum stipend of $7,250 per semester — defined as autumn, spring, and summers A, B, and C — and a 2.5% pay increase for GAs earning above the minimum.
We strongly believe GAs deserve better than the University’s offer. This is especially true given significant increases in GA stipends at other public Florida universities and a national inflation rate of roughly 2%.
Health Insurance: FSU proposed status quo language, which means a subsidy of $1,662 for GAs on a 0.5 FTE, and less for those on 0.25 FTE or mixed appointments. GAU countered by asking for $2,227 for domestic students and $2,243 for international students on student health insurance, regardless of FTE. This is 95% of the cost of the premium.
Since the cost of coverage is increasing and benefits such as dependent coverage have been cut for the upcoming year, we feel our subsidy should likewise increase.
Consultation: FSU rejected GAU’s proposal that the University president attend at least one bargaining session. They said there was no precedent or need for the president to do so. However, they accepted language that would require the president to meet with GAU representatives at least once in the fall or spring. GAU will strategize before responding. We may accept this proposal.
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On our third bargaining session on June 30, the University presented counter-proposals.
Thank you to the large group of GAs who showed up to support the bargaining team and to prove to the University that we are deeply invested in our contracts.
Stipends: FSU proposed a minimum stipend of $13,000 for 9-month GAs on a 0.5 FTE, and a 1% pay increase for all GAs already earning above the minimum. GAU countered by asking for a minimum stipend of $7,500 per semester, defined as autumn, spring, summers A, B, and C. Taking into consideration the rising cost of our health insurance, the University’s proposal amounts to a pay cut for most GAs. We also maintain that our work should not be devalued based on the term in which we perform it.
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