Action Alert: HB25 in Florida House

The House Government Accountability Committee will hear HB 25 onTuesday, December 5, 2017, at 10:30 am. This bill—sponsored by Representative Scott Plakon—, if passed, would add an additional requirement to an employee union’s annual renewal with the Public Employees Relations Commission. That requirement is that each certified bargaining unit of a registered employee organization (UFF) must provide the number of eligible employees for union membership and the number of members who pay dues or do not pay dues. If that information is not presented then the certification for that bargaining unit is revoked.

If the certified bargaining unit dues paying membership is less than 50%, the unit is decertified and that bargaining unit must petition PERC for recertification as the exclusive bargaining representative within one month after the date on which the bargaining unit applied for renewal. Application for PERC recertification requires either voluntary recognition of the union by the employer or petition to PERC for recertification upon submission of call for union representation election cards from at least 30% of the full bargaining unit. If sufficient cards are submitted to PERC, then an election would be held to re-establish or decertify the union. Note: The application for recertification must occur within one month of the initial date of application for annual renewal.

If this sounds like déjà vu, it is. Rep. Plakon sponsored the same legislation during the 2017 Legislative Session!

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2017-2018 Bargaining Updates: Session #4: Thursday, July 20

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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GAU Fights HB 11

On Wednesday, March 8, a subcommittee of the Florida House heard Rep. Plakon’s HB 11, a bill that threatens the ability of most public unions across the state to function. The bill requires that public unions maintain at least 50% membership from their potential bargaining units or else face automatic decertification.

Despite impressive gains each and every year, GAU’s dues-paying members are just over 15% of our potential membership. Rep. Plakon insists his bill is about democracy, ensuring that the fate of workers isn’t controlled by a small minority.
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An Open Letter Against Bigotry

An Open Letter Against Bigotry

Graduate Assistants United (GAU), the labor union representing graduate assistants at the Florida State University (FSU), strongly condemns the scheduled appearance of Milo Yiannopoulos on our campus and finds it to be in direct contradiction to the University’s goals of creating an environment free from discrimination. Yiannopoulos, who was invited to speak by the FSU College Republicans, a Registered Student Organization at FSU, has a well documented history of racial discrimination and abuse targeted toward women, Muslims, and people of color, along with many other minority groups. He has actively encouraged harassment of vulnerable people, and his presence here can only amplify the hatred he enjoys instilling and inflaming in others.
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