On Friday (9/18/2020) GAs began voting online on the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) recently negotiated by GAU’s leadership and USF. The CBA is our graduate assistant labor/employee contract with USF. For the CBA to go into effect, GAs must vote to approve it. Due to the pandemic, our contract wins this year were fairly limited: the extension preserves minimum stipends at the same levels from the 2019-2020 academic year, increases the amount that USF pays for each GA’s health insurance premiums (which will cause the out of pocket expense for GAs to remain at $159 per year, rather than increasing to about $437 per year).
This CBA also implements some minor contract language changes (including a provision that all appointments should have the same start/end dates as faculty appointments, preventing departments from stealthily cutting GAs’ pay by shortening their appointments). We would have greatly preferred to win stipend increases and fully subsidized healthcare but, given the worldwide financial uncertainty, we believe that even treading water and living to fight another day is a win.
For a complete comparison of the changes this CBA implements, the initialed red-line copy (which details the insertions, deletions, and changes compared to the existing CBA) can be found at https://www.usfgau.org/assets/GAU_MOU_8-13-2020_initialed.pdf. A clean copy, showing the what the new CBA looks like after the changes, can be found at https://www.usfgau.org/assets/GAU_MOU_8-13-2020_signed.pdf. The previous contract, which expired on June 30th, 2020, can be found at https://www.usfgau.org/assets/2017-2020-CBA-1.pdf.
The proposed CBA was ratified unanimously, with 477 votes in favor and 0 votes opposed! Details of the ratification election are described below.
Online voting procedure:
- All graduate assistants, regardless of GAU membership, are eligible to vote and are encouraged to do so.
- The ratification vote was held from 12:00 AM (EDT) on Friday, September 18th, to 11:59 PM (EDT) on Monday, September 21st, 2020.
- Due to the health risk of an in-person election, voting was conducted virtually via Helios Voting, which provides encrypted and verifiable online elections. All ballots are anonymous. This virtual election was conducted in accordance with a variance from usual procedure, as granted by PERC.
- Ballots were counted electronically during a Zoom meeting on Tuesday, September 22, 2020. This meeting is available on YouTube: https://youtu.be/9CFMrVqcfSA