The Graduate Assistant Policies and Procedures (GAPP) Committee met for the second time last Tuesday. During this meeting, the committee began to go through the 2009 contract, section by section, to create a set of policies and procedures for all graduate workers. The crux of this meeting centered on the administration’s desire to deal only with individual rights, rather than the rights of the TAA as an organization of employees.
Much of the meeting’s discussion centered on Article II (or union rights), which the administration initially intended to remove completely from the handbook. Article II grants a number of union rights to the TAA, such as posting on bulletin boards, speaking at new student orientations, and meeting with administrators, and includes the definitions of job titles (TA, PA, RA, SA, reader-grader, etc.). The TAA and its representatives want these rights extended to any organization of employees. This discussion will continue at the next meeting.
The TAA also recorded several additional wins:
- The administration agreed to say that they “will” communicate with grad students about changes in policies through forums in the fall term. Their original language said they “may” do that.
- The administration will write language clearly defining each job title, which will be discussed at the next meeting. They’ll use their own documents and documents from the TAA.
- All of the TAA’s language about the rights of employee organizations was accepted temporarily, to be revisited next meeting.
However, several threats loom on the horizon. Specifically, the administration is opposed to any language about organizations of employees. They want these policies to deal only with individuals and want individual workers to carry the burden for knowing and enforcing their rights. These changes would make it more difficult for the TAA to help educate workers about their rights, for fighting issues that impact a large group of workers, and for making sure that graduate workers are involved in future changes to our policies. These changes are a threat to all graduate student workers on campus—organizations are more powerful and better able to ensure good working conditions than individuals.
Bascom Hall, Room 54
500 Lincoln Drive
(Note that the room may change to accommodate more observers.)