Members of the Coalition of Graduate Employees have been bargaining over their upcoming contract renewal with Oregon State University officials in hopes to meet some of their demands.
After weeks of negotiation and back-and-forth communication between CGE members and Oregon State University administration, a final contract has been decided upon. CGE’s bargaining team consisted of 15 to 20 people throughout the year with two lead negotiators.
Andrea Haverkamp, president of CGE, and Nathan Waugh, vice president for bargaining, fought for and finally compiled all major changes to upcoming contracts.
Members of the graduate employee labor union aimed to achieve:
- Enhanced benefits
- Inclusive restrooms
- Affordable housing
- International worker support
- Summer support
- Equitable workload and treatment
Concluding the bargain sessions, CGE has signed a collective bargaining agreement between the union and OSU administration. Some new additions include:
- Three weeks paid family leave
- A 3% pay raise and an annual cost of living adjustment
- Increase to the minimum full-time equivalent hours beginning in 2021
- Commitments on expanding gender-neutral restrooms and locker rooms
- Maintaining a four-year contract
- DACA fee reimbursement
- 50k hardship fund
Haverkamp said CGE is not done bargaining and is currently in negotiations with OSU over the terms of re-opening and what this might look like.
“Will we be given adequate no-cost [personal protective equipment]? How will OSU ensure that no employee is coerced to come to campus against their will, without facing repercussions? Is OSU willing to provide free law services for us to write living wills in the case of COVID-19 deaths which their plan currently accepts as a necessary risk?” Haverkamp said.
Haverkamp said though CGE has completed negotiating 2020-2024 contracts, there is still work to be done to fill the gaps that still exist. Haverkamp will keep fighting for her fellow employees that have struggled due to a lack of proper funding, she said.
“I took one day to sleep in, breathe deep, pet my dog. Next day, went back to work alongside other dedicated co-workers in CGE as we fight tooth-and-nail for our safety. OSU is committed to defunding and devaluing us at every turn in this pandemic—we flatly reject that they have done enough,” Haverkamp said.
Representatives from the Academic Employee & Labor Relations at OSU did not respond to requests for comment by the time of publication.