After two years of talks, the Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) and Kansas University administrators are still at odds.
Negotiations between both parties stalled this month when they couldn't agree on a GTA contract for the 1997-1998 school year.
"We've been falling behind," Graduate Teaching Assistants Coalition (GTAC) steering committee member Dave Young said. "Just recently the GTAs at the University of Iowa unionized, and their salary went up to $12,000 a year plus health care benefits. Ours is less than $8,000 with no health care benefits. That's one of the big things we think we're entitled to."
KU GTAs unionized in April 1995, and did not receive a pay raise the following year, Young said.
"In 1996-97 we got a 1 percent pay raise," he said. GTAs are expected to receive about the same increase again next year.
"We feel like it's retaliation for having unionized," he said. "We're very determined."
The Kansas State Health Commission will decide next month if GTAs are eligible to receive state health care benefits. Under current regulations, GTAs are considered half-time employees and are not eligible for state health care benefits.
"We're half-time employees, but the package of teaching and being full-time students is a full-time commitment," Young said.
The GTAs proposed a fee waiver of $200 per semester in lieu of health care benefits. The administration rejected the offer.
GTAs teach approximately 30 percent of undergraduate classes at KU and do not receive guaranteed tuition remission or a fee waiver.
The final meeting between GTAC and KU administrators is scheduled for 9 a.m. June 4 in the Kansas Union.