When we heard that the university wanted to meet on Wednesday for an open-ended bargaining session to complete negotiations, we assumed that their representatives would bring along their best offer on wages and health care.
Instead, what the university had in mind was to come to the bargaining table with no concrete economic improvements. Seems that they lacked the “authority” to do any better. The only movement was on grievances, where it looks like we’re getting most of what we want.
In addition, the university engaged in strong-arm tactics to force our membership to ratify a contract without adequate time to read and discuss the proposed agreement.
The members hearing the news at the 3PM caucus over in Grainger Engineering Library were disappointed, to be sure. But we encouraged the bargaining team to hold the line at negotiations. Then we left the room, went down to the street, grabbed signs and a bullhorn, and staged a picket.
After the caucus, the university’s representatives tried to continue the session. However, our “free speech” on Springfield Ave apparently bothered them. Flustered and lacking anything new to say, they packed their bags promptly at 5PM and scurried back to the administration building.
They’ll be back, and hopefully the university reps will have enough “authority” at the next bargaining session to offer us a decent package on wages and health care. GEO will be there too, and next time we’ll bring the signs and bullhorns along…just in case.