DAYS WITHOUT A CONTRACT: 396
DAYS UNTIL THE START OF THE ACADEMIC YEAR: 19
Normally I like to take the weekends off from blogging but I thought this deserved a mention today (rather than waiting):
SIUC unions: Support is strong [The Southern]
Essentially Codell Rodriguez investigated the membership numbers of our four unions and found that, despite the numbers, support is strong. GAU’s reported membership number is particularly deceptive because about four hundred GAs graduate, move out of positions, leave campus, or otherwise end their time as assistants every spring and there are about four hundred new assistants every fall. We have also seen support for our actions in bargaining in other ways, particularly around the two key issues GAU still has: fees and health care. For example, we collected 500 “freeze the fee” petition cards in about a week which we presented to the Board of Trustees in April. Our job (speaking as an officer here, not just as a blogger) is to try and best represent the needs and wishes of the 1700 graduate assistants and deliver their voice to the administration. We did multiple surveys and interviews with GAs across campus (and still are) to find out what those interests were and we’re pursuing them to make SIUC a better place to work. Our end goal is, of course, to gain a good, mutually acceptable contract for our members, who are integral to the smooth operation of the university. Included in a “good” contract should be provisions for adequate health care, relief from skyrocketing fees, and other measures of job security that will make SIUC an attractive and sought after place to come for graduate students. This is something we believe graduate assistants do support and we look forward to being able to present a fair contract offer to them for ratification. Everyone benefits from a contract — not just graduate assistants (or faculty or staff) but the university community as a whole. The same is true for any of the unions on campus.