4/9/19 - GRU Special Edition

Hello fellow scientists!

The second session of bargaining between Graduate Researchers United and OHSU management took place on April 4th. I'll be hitting your inboxes shortly with a summary of what happened, but today I'd like to respond to the 'Bargaining Update and Q&A' sent out by the management team last week. Much of the information in that Q&A was misleading and some of it was blatantly false. When I first read it, my response was to make a corrected version using red comic sans:

However, Gaelen Guzman, a second year graduate researcher from the MMI department, had a more sophisticated approach. Here is his response to OHSU management.


Thank you for your email - I’m a little slow on the uptake, but I’m just getting to your email now. Strangely, I’ve noticed a few discrepancies between what the Q&A describes and what seems to be occurring in actuality. I’ve listed a few below:

  • For one point, the entirety of the Q&A should be significantly altered to properly communicate that the GRU is entirely composed of graduate researchers on campus and that graduate researchers themselves have been the primary agents behind this unionization effort. We collected authorization cards, we named ourselves the GRU, we are negotiating on our own behalf with the assistance of an AFSCME representative, etc.
  • Some details have been ironed out in the section describing how the University came to enter the BFA with the GRU: the objections were dropped after significant delays that inspired the graduate researcher population to host a public campaign that was highlighted in local media.
  • There are currently four graduate researchers on the negotiation team – each of whom was elected to their position in a public campaign. There is only one AFSCME representative to assist the graduate researchers.
  • The lead negotiator is actually Sam Papadakis, a graduate researcher.
  • Union dues will be enumerated during contract negotiations – they are not imposed by AFSCME, they are designated by and for graduate researchers. In paying a union due, each graduate researcher is actively contributing to their own legal protections against retaliation, abuse, and neglect placed upon them by the University.
  • It is misleading to highlight the fact that a singular contract would apply to every student equally because, currently, every student is already held to equivalent standards – it’s just that these standards are poorly defined and enforced. The “flexibility” implied in the current system really is not to the benefit of any graduate researcher, and only serves to relieve OHSU of obligations to their graduate population.
  • Under the current system, not a single member of the graduate researcher population has any say at all in their PhD experience. As a member of the GRU, every student is given equal representation and voice. Special provisions can and will be designed to protect graduate researchers during specific circumstances throughout their graduate work.

I hope to continue receiving these updates, but I do also hope that the OHSU Bargaining Team will work on properly representing the specifics of the contract negotiation process. Misinformation campaigns seem to lie outside of “good faith.”


Gaelen Guzman, 2nd year MMI

What are your thoughts on the bargaining process? Come to a CAT Meeting Mondays from 5:00-6:00 in BRB 381 and let us know!

Science and Solidarity,

- Graduate Researchers United (The other OHSU team)