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.
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
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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Senator Maria Sachs, a strong ally of GAU, reported on our efforts to support SB 1230 in her recent newsletter (click to open larger version in a new window):