Graduate worker representatives met with university administration last week during the fourth meeting of the Graduate Assistant Policies and Procedures (GAPP) Committee, the group tasked with overseeing the transition of our 2009 contract into a handbook. Committee members made significant progress on reviewing the details of the contract; throughout most of the meeting, the administration accepted and incorporated the input of the grad reps.
The majority of the meeting focused on Article V of the contract, which discusses details related to appointments such as probationary periods, appointment percentages, general employment information, duties, and work surroundings. Most of the language in the contract was left unchanged, a win for the Teaching Assistant Association and graduate student workers on campus. The administration also agreed to allow graduate assistants to initiate committees in their departments to examine workload. Previously, the original contract stipulated that only departments could initiate workload committees. While a grievance procedure is still the ultimate authority, this change allows graduate assistants another process to review their working conditions.
The next meeting will discuss work surroundings, as well as orientation, training, graduate assistant evaluation; non-discrimination/affirmative action; and health and safety. The administration’s initial draft of revisions essentially eliminates these sections, including eliminating guidelines for how graduate assistants should be evaluated. Support will be critical at this meeting to ensure these sections from the contract are translated into policies and procedures rather than being removed.
Graduate assistant participation throughout this process will continue to be crucial to ensure all workers’ voices are heard. During our last meeting, our interests ran parallel with the administration, leading to a series of successful outcomes. A substantial part of this was due to the input from graduate workers, both in the days leading up to the meeting, and in their presence at the meeting itself. Meetings during this term are currently scheduled every other Monday from 10:00 to 11:30am.
The next GAPP Committee meeting is scheduled for Monday:
Monday, September 11
Bascom Hall, Room 334
500 Lincoln Drive
If you’ve read this far, you likely care deeply about your working conditions. The TAA is looking for more graduate workers to be involved in the GAPP process. Interested? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.