To: All Members of the GEO Bargaining Unit, and all Graduate Research Assistants
Fr: Robert Naiman, GEO
Re: Covering same-sex domestic partners at McKinley
The purpose of this note it to clarify the rights of GEO members under the GEO contract with respect to coverage of same-sex domestic partners and to clarify the policy that applies to research assistants. A GEO member reported being told by McKinley staff that a marriage license was required to purchase such benefits. The McKinley website says: “To purchase Graduate Spousal Fee Coverage you need to bring the following items with you: A copy of your marriage license?” Click here for further clarification of same-sex partners’ rights.
Under the GEO contract, assistants may purchase coverage for spouses and same-sex domestic partners for McKinley Health Center and Counseling Center (Article XV, 1a), Health Insurance (Article XV, 1b), Vision Insurance (Article XV,
1c), and Dental Insurance (Article XV, 1d). Furthermore, assistants are eligible to receive up to three days of paid leave to attend the funeral, for travel, and bereavement time upon the death of an assistant?s immediate family, same-sex domestic partner or household member. (Article XVII, F.)
While research assistants are not covered directly by the GEO contract, because (at the insistence of the University) they are not part of the legally recognized bargaining unit, with respect to this issue as with many others the policy of the University is to treat other graduate employees in the same way as members of the bargaining unit covered by the GEO contract. Thus, in practice, the above provisions should apply to research assistants as well.
Following the GEO member’s query, I contacted a McKinley official, who responded: “We follow the University policy regarding same sex partner determination. The University maintains a website which outlines the necessary documentation required to be recognized as a same sex domestic partner. For this process, a marriage certificate is not required.” The form is available here.
If GEO members or research assistants experience any difficulty exercising the rights specified above they should contact the GEO office immediately.