Agreement Summary

The GEU-UAW Bargaining Committee unanimously recommends that you vote yes to approve this tentative agreement as our historic first contract with the University of Connecticut.  We believe this agreement makes important improvements to the core issues of health care and overall compensation by making an important step to address the devastating effects of recent fee increases.  It also establishes important and path breaking rights and protections for GAs at UConn, all of which are enforceable through a grievance procedure that allows us to take an unresolved grievance to a neutral arbitrator.  It also makes important gains for international students and GAs with families.

 We believe voting yes means voting for a better UConn!

 GEU-UAW Bargaining Committee

Ameya Akkalkotkar, Chemical and Biological Engineering
Cera Fisher, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Casey Green, History
Ian Gutierrez, Psychology
Ben Lai, Educational Psychology
Gayatri Phadke, Chemistry

COMPENSATION, BENEFITS AND OTHER ECONOMIC ITEMS

 

Wages. GA stipend rates will increase by 3% each year of the contract, a 9.3% compound increase over the life of the agreement. In addition to the 3% across-the-board raise to all rates, the promotional increases based on academic standing will now be contractually-guaranteed, with an 5.2% increase after achieving Masters Status and another 11.2% increase after achieving PhD candidacy. The policies on GA pay in the summer will be maintained in 2015 and the Union has the right to re-open negotiations as of October 1, 2015 on that topic.

 Tuition and Fees. Current tuition waivers for GAs will be maintained. As of Fall 2015, the Infrastructure Fee ($468 per year) will be waived. Effective Fall 2016, the University will also provide each GA a credit of $100.00 towards the General University Fee per semester. Effective Fall 2017, the University will provide a credit of $200.00 towards the General University Fee per semester.  This means that as of Fall 2017, the University will relieve GAs of nearly $900 per year in the cost of fees.

 Health Insurance. GAs will receive improved health benefits either through the Connecticut Partnership Plan, which matches the state employee benefits plan, or through a student insurance plan with comparable benefits at no additional cost above current GA premium costs. Either plan would restore GA benefits to where they would be if GAs had not been taken off the state employee plan in 2003

 

Travel. GAs will be reimbursed for work-related required travel on the same basis as faculty

 Training. Required training will be considered part of a GA assignment and workload. The Union-Management Committee may make recommendations regarding GA training.

 Housing.  The University acknowledges the mutual interests GAs having access to campus housing. This article also allows the Union-Management Committee to discuss housing issues

 Parking and Transit. GAs will have the right to purchase student parking permits at 50% of the commuter rate. The Union-Management Committee may discuss parking and transit issues

 Employee Assistance Program (EAP). GAs will have the same rights as other staff to participate in the EAP, which provides free assistance to individuals with personal issues such as substance abuse or legal troubles.

 Child Care. Starting in the 2015-16 year, GAs with children will be able to apply to a fund for childcare reimbursement managed by the Union. Over the three year life of the contract, the fund will grow to from $40,000 to $80,000 per year.

 Leaves of Absence. We made maternity and parental leave a contractual obligation on the part of the University. Birth mothers may receive up to six weeks of paid maternity leave post birth, and up to eight weeks after a Caesarian Section. Non-birth parents, including fathers, non-birth mothers, and the mothers and fathers of adopted children, may receive up to three weeks of paid parental leave for the nurturing and caring for a new child. All GAs receive three personal days each semester, to be taken for sickness, care for a family member, bereavement, etc.

 

Retirement.  The Union withdrew our proposal on this topic as part of the final settlement.

 

RIGHTS AND PROTECTIONS

Recognition. This article codifies University recognition of GEU-UAW Local 6950 as the exclusive bargaining representative for GAs at UConn.

 Duration.  We agreed to a three-year contract which ends in June, 2018.

 Appointment Notification. The University acknowledges that appointments of at least one academic year are in the mutual interest of UConn and GAs. They will not offer appointments of less than one semester. UConn will make reasonable effort to provide appointment letters by April 1 for incoming GAs, by mid-June for continuing GAs, and 60 days in advance for all other appointments. The appointment letter will include basic information regarding the position and UConn will make reasonable efforts to supply a more specific description of duties 30 days in advance of the start date

 Appointment Security. This article ensures that once a GA accepts an appointment, the University is contractually obligated to provide the level of compensation and benefits for the length originally offered.

 Discipline and Dismissal. The University shall not terminate or discipline a GA without “just cause.” This article also establishes protections for international student GAs by creating an expedited grievance procedure in cases where their visa status might be jeopardized.

 

Employment Files. GAs will have the right to inspect and rebut information in any employment file. The University is obligated to notify a GA if negative evaluative material is placed in her/his file.

 Health and Safety. The University commits to maintain a safe working environment for GAs by incorporating the University Environmental Health and Safety policy into the contract. GAs will have the right to grieve violations of that policy through our contractual grievance procedure. GEU-UAW representation will be granted on the university-wide Environmental Health and Safety Committee

 Holiday. GAs cannot be required to work on enumerated holidays, unless allowed to take an alternate day off in exchange. UConn will also make reasonable efforts to accommodate GA requests to observe religious holidays that are not University holidays

 Intellectual Property. GAs will have the same rights as other employees under University policies regarding intellectual property, inventions, copyrightable works and alleged research misconduct. GA instructors of record will have the same rights to their course materials as faculty

 Grievance Procedure. The contract is enforceable through neutral, binding arbitration.

 Job Posting. The University will create a website for posting GA positions that the University decides should be posted for potential applicants.

 Non-Discrimination. Ensures right of GAs to exercise all possible avenues to address instances of discrimination or sexual harassment: grievance and arbitration under our contract; judicial; or internal UConn procedures. Our is the first contract at UConn with gender identity and expression as protected category. This article also provides reasonable GA access to all-gender restrooms and, consistent with state law, lactation stations.

 Workspace and Materials. This article ensures that the University will provide facilities, equipment and materials necessary for a GA to carry out their assignment including desk space and office space.  If a GA is required to purchase job-related materials or equipment, the University will reimburse the GA.

 Workload and Work Quality. We established a provision ensuring that a full GA cannot be required to work more than an average of 20 hours per week during their employment period and has specific remedies for situations where a GA is given an assignment that exceed the maximum workload. GAs shall have the ability to take time off during their appointment.

 Severability. This article protects us. If one part of our contract is found to be in violation of the law, the rest of the contract shall remain in effect. Should this occur, the Union and the University would bargain over how to address the issue found to be unlawful.

 Subcontracting. This article means the University will not replace GA labor with outside contractors or personnel from outside temporary agencies without Union approval.

 Union-Management Committee. This article establishes a Union-Management Committee that would meet at least twice a year to discuss issues that are not the subject of active grievances.  This could include: health insurance issues; housing; transit; parking; and issues related to GA training.

 Union Rights. In compliance with the law, the University will provide the Union basic information about who is in our bargaining unit, and any changes, to enable the Union to function as the bargaining representative. Stewards will have reasonable release time from their assignments to handle grievances when necessary. The Union will have the right to make a presentation for 30 minutes after any orientation at the university-wide or departmental level involving GAs. The Union may select 2 full GAs (20 hour appointments) and one half GA (10 hour appointment) who can be released from their GA to work for the Union on contract administration or other duties for the Union.

 Union Security. This article establishes that GAs will pay membership dues and fees through payroll deduction, pursuant to state law. GAs shall have the right to contribute voluntarily to the Union political action program through payroll deduction.

 

University Prerogatives and Academic Rights.  This article, a standard provision in Union contracts, spells out that, unless modified by our collective bargaining agreement, the University retains the right to run the operations of the University.

 Continuation of Services. Consistent with state law, this article says we will resolve disputes under the contract through the grievance procedure and will not strike to do so.

 

Conclusion of Negotiations and Past Practices.  These proposals were withdrawn. The Union and the University agree that if the University seeks to make changes to GA conditions not covered by our contract, that the statutory obligation to bargain with the Union will apply.