Archive for Saturday, April 7, 2007

GTAs set to receive merit pay raises

Negotiations between union, KU resolved after two years

April 7, 2007

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Kansas University's graduate teaching assistants stand to get a double-digit raise in light of a ruling this week that brought an end to stalled labor negotiations.

In a ruling made public Friday, an independent fact-finder ruled mostly in favor of KU on four issues that had had been under negotiation the past two years between the school and the Kansas Association of Public Employees, which represents KU's 970-plus GTAs.

The union wanted to broaden its on-campus recruiting activities, change limitations on the number of semesters GTAs can be appointed, give GTAs 20 more days in which to file a grievance and boost minimum salaries to a level higher than the minimum proposed by KU.

The fact-finder, John M. Creger of Ozark, Mo., found in favor of KU and against the union on almost all of the issues, except that he didn't approve KU's request to remove a step from the grievance process.

Mike Osborn, a union representative, said Friday that he wasn't prepared to comment on the outcome of the negotiations.

"I just haven't had a chance to look at it yet," he said.

Regardless of the findings, the resolution allows for GTAs to receive merit pay increases they couldn't get for the past two years because of the dispute. According to figures released by the school, that means GTAs will receive an average pay raise of 11.3 percent on top of the average $12,243 they make now for a half-time appointment.

The school announced Friday it plans to seek fast-track approval from the Kansas Board of Regents to enact the pay raise by the end of the academic year.

"The university was prohibited from putting pay raises into the pockets of deserving GTAs for almost two academic years because of the protracted negotiations with the union," KU Provost Richard Lariviere said in a statement. "We want to be as competitive as possible in the national market for the best and brightest graduate students. This impasse was frustrating and painful for the university and unnecessary for GTAs to endure."

Comments

oldgoof 7 years, 11 months ago

wagenseil says: "Once they had done that, they might as well have simply folded up the entire operation. Sad, really." . oldgoof sez more funny than sad. Wagenseil hit the history on the head. And if the GTA's think they have external "political capital" they can tote their requests over to the likes of Melvin Neufeld, et al. Ha!

Rhoen 7 years, 11 months ago

This new Provost is a very smart guy and it becomes increasingly apparent why he was hired.

Mr. Lariviere's divide-and-conquer strategy, apparent in the following quotation, is far more likely to be effective in maintaining the University's image than the Chancellor's let-them-eat cake approach ever was.

Where the Chancellor showed his distain for GTAs' survival needs by suggesting, for example, that those with families go on welfare to obtain the health care they could not receive through their employment, the new Provost makes the union the bad guy ... Very clever.


"The university was prohibited from putting pay raises into the pockets of deserving GTAs for almost two academic years because of the protracted negotiations with the union," KU Provost Richard Lariviere said in a statement. "We want to be as competitive as possible in the national market for the best and brightest graduate students. This impasse was frustrating and painful for the university and unnecessary for GTAs to endure."


wagenseil 7 years, 11 months ago

The GTAs have been out-manuvered by KU at virtually every single point in this entire process, and not surprisingly. Since there is one fundamental thing that they can't compromise on -- health care -- KU can use that as a lever to extract concessions on everything else. This is negotiation 101. The whole concept of a GTA union was the result of a bunch of hippies in the English and History departments who failed to realize that the 60's were fifty years ago and thought they could out-negotiate someone whose professional career was made [in part] on studying union busting (Schulenberger). Not only were they wrong, but somewhat surprisingly their professional representatives haven't done any better. Graduate school is fundamentally an apprentice system, not a system of long-term employment where it makes sense to sacrifice today for benefits in the distant future (GTAs at KU have never gone on strike, for example), so the basic model will never work. Furthermore KU guaranteed this forever by inserting the 5-year employment limitation, which the union agreed to. Once they had done that, they might as well have simply folded up the entire operation. Sad, really.

compmd 7 years, 11 months ago

Before you go praising the new provost, remember that his #1 priority at this school is research. Of course he wants the best and brightest graduate students, he wants them to make the university look better.

I think that many GTAs deserve higher pay. There are several that teach classes also taught by full professors. So why does the GTA make 90% less money for teaching the same thing?

Lariviere doesn't give a crap about undergraduate education, which is primarily what this university is here for. Just look at enrollment numbers. Most students at KU are here for a BA/BS, and the provost's ignorance of this population is tremendously disturbing to me.

U2freak 7 years, 11 months ago

Hemenway sucks all the way so does the adminstration sick and tired of all the KU admininstors' crap

skeetie83 7 years, 11 months ago

Yes, health care would be very nice. As GTAs, we don't qualify for public health/welfare because we supposedly make too much money an hour. As half-time employees, we supposedly only work 20 hours/week. This doesn't take into account the additional hours we put in on lesson planning and grading.

I agree that grad school is a great training ground, however, we deserve to earn a living wage. Currently we don't. While the average pay is $12,243, many of us make less than that because of KU's refusal to give raises in the past 2 years. So, many of us make around $10,000 for teaching our own classes, including planning, the actual teaching, and grading. While I hear a lot of negative comments about KU GTAs, I care a great deal about the education that I am giving my students. I want them to come out of my class knowing much more than the first day they walked in.

I value the experience I'm gaining, but it can be difficult to have to be a grad student, instructor, and work 2 additional jobs just to survive. I just want to be able to live.

cassieP 7 years, 11 months ago

What is most unfortunate about the mistreatment of GTA's is that the university could not survive without them. The PhD's might make the university attractive to the academic community at large, but the GTA's are the workforce that actually teaches and interacts with the largest portion of the student body.

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