5/16/19 - Employees or Students?

Hello Fellow Scientists!

Happy research week everyone, and thanks to those of you who came by our table on Tuesday to talk about the union and participate in our poll. After hearing from graduate researchers, post-docs, faculty, and research staff, the results of our highly scientifically rigorous study are in: graduate research is work.

In other union-related news, you may have seen some corporate propaganda from Delta Airlines circulating on the internet recently. Coated in a thick layer of cheery music and crisp images, these posters and videos are designed to discourage Delta employees from paying dues and thereby weaken their union. Or maybe I'm too cynical and they spent millions of dollars on this ad campaign just to tell everyone that they love individual freedom. Personally I think individual freedom is easier to exercise when you’re on equal footing with Management, which is the essential function of a union. How can these graphics be so clean and yet still make me feel like I need to take a shower?

It’s pretty transparent that Delta doesn’t want a strong union because strong unions get contracts that benefit the employees. What’s the connection between paying dues and having a strong union?

Why Pay Dues? Where Does the Money Go?

Union dues are more analogous to taxes than to investments; they are a shared resource that can be drawn from for a number of different reasons. Exactly where dues go is different for every union. As a union member, you will have a say in the way Graduate Researchers United uses dues. Here are a few of the most common things that union dues pay for:

  • Operating costs of the union
  • Enforcing the contract by representing members in grievances and arbitration
  • Representing members in legal proceedings
  • Costs incurred in contract negotiations

So What happened on May 9th?

Here’s what the Union Proposed

Discipline and Discharge – Describes graduate researchers’ rights to a fair system of discipline and just-cause termination

Schedules and Hours of Work – Says that graduate researchers will only work more than 40 hours per week by choice

Personnel Files – Outlines the type of information that can be collected about graduate researchers and how long it is on file

Counter-Proposal to Dues Checkoff – Describes the logistics of dues collection

Here’s how Management Responded

In a bizarre yet predictable twist, Management started referring to graduate researchers as employees instead of students when it was advantageous to do so. In ongoing negotiations over the Union Use of Facilities article, a sticking point has been the type of information that the union is allowed to post publicly. OHSU has a policy against public posting of political material, but students are exempt from the policy. Management said that the Union would not be allowed to post political material since we are employees. Ok cool can we have W-2s now?

Management provided an almost correctly formatted counter-proposal to Grievances and Arbitration. This counter proposal slashes the time allowed for graduate researchers to report their grievances, including serious abuse allegations, down to just a few days. The Union team believes that graduate researchers deserve adequate time to report their grievances. Reply to this email, come to a CAT meeting, or talk to us on Slack to let us know your thoughts on this topic.

Tentative Agreements

After a substantial effort to teach the Management team to electronically sign PDFs, the Savings Clause and Ground Rules documents are now official.

Action and Events

CAT Meetings – Every Monday from 5:00-6:00 in BRB 381 you can be a part of the decision-making process for your contract and your union. Free food is provided!

Bargaining Sessions – Come and see the contract being put together in real time and show your support for your bargaining team. There is no bargaining session this week; the next session will be Thursday, May 23.

Local 328 Picket – More details are coming in about the Local 328 picket, which will be joined by GRU. Together, we will demonstrate our demand for good-faith bargaining from OHSU Management. Thursday, June 13 4:00-5:30 with barbecue to follow on the Mac Hall lawn.

AVDS Interest Meeting – The Alliance for Visible Diversity in Science (AVDS) will be holding an interest meeting Thursday, May 16th from 4:30-6:30 in RLSB 2S014-2S018. Learn more about why you should come (other than the free food and drinks) below.

Better Know Your Community: Alliance for Visible Diversity in Science (AVDS)

“AVDS started four years ago as a concerned group of students, post-docs, and faculty members realized that our PhD programs have room to improve their diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.”
-Antoinette Foster, AVDS President and Graduate Researcher

The Alliance for Visible Diversity in Science (AVDS) is a student-run diversity advocacy group at OHSU. Their ongoing mission:

“to increase visible diversity within the graduate programs at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) by recruiting, retaining, and most importantly, supporting graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, staff, and faculty members from underrepresented backgrounds”

AVDS has mobilized OHSU to improve visible diversity in many different ways, including hosting regular social events, meeting with OHSU program directors and communications staff, inviting guest speakers and showing documentaries, and actively recruiting people with diverse backgrounds to join OHSU’s graduate programs. Recently, they submitted a set of formal recommendations for improving and supporting diversity to OHSU leadership. If that sounds like something you’d like to be a part of, there’s no better day than today!

Come to their interest meeting May 16 from 4:30-6:30 in RLSB 2S014-2S018 to eat, drink, and find out how you can join AVDS. If you can’t make it but still want to be involved, fill out this interest form on their website.

That’s all for now! As always, you can stay up to date with the union by following us on our WebsiteInstagramTwitterFacebook, and Slack.

Science and Solidarity,

-       Graduate Researchers United