Welcome back from the break! In this newsletter, we’re gonna talk about our upcoming events and contract negotiations but let’s start with some real talk about our union.
Top: GTAC/AFT-Ks Members & Family w Ks Governor Laura Kelley
Bottom: GTAC/AFT-Ks Members & Family w Ks Secy of Labor Delia Garcia
and union organizer and worker’s right icon Dolores Huerta
Last year, we stood together to fight for a better University for ourselves as graduate teachers and for our undergraduate students, faculty colleagues, and support staff. We are proud to have been a part of victories that are making grad worker lives better here at KU including our November raises! But our struggle isn’t over – as we gear up for contract negotiations this spring, it’s time for everyone to pitch in so here are four easy ways to help:
#2: Take the survey! Surveying helps the Negotiations Committee gather a comprehensive understanding of grad worker priorities and tells us what to fight for! Please take our paper survey and ask your colleagues as well! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get surveys for your department.
#3: Know your contract! Did you know that you have a 35-page contract with the University of Kansas which outlines your rights as a GTA? Do you have questions about your work as a GTA, or where the line is between GTA work and student work? Are you concerned about graduate and international worker exploitation at KU?
Come to GTA Contract 101 (with free dinner!) on Thursday, February 6th at 6pm at the ECM at 1204 Oread! You deserve to know the ins and outs of your own employment contract, including common misunderstandings about worker’s rights in Kansas, hours of work, appropriate job duties. RSVP here!
#4: Join our political team as we lobby the statehouse for worker’s right and higher education funding! Reply to this email to find out how you can help.
Join us for a lowkey union hangout on Thursday, December 12th from 7-?pm at Lucia on Mass in Lawrence. Kids are welcome at Lucia. Reply to this email with any questions and text President Neill Kennedy at 785-817-0351 for carpooling info. Click here to RSVP!
Join us for our first General Meeting of the Spring 2020 semester on Thursday, January 30th from 7:30-9:30pm. from 7-?pm at Lucia on Mass in Lawrence. Kids are welcome at Lucia. Reply to this email with any questions and text President Neill Kennedy at 785-817-0351 for carpooling info. Click here to RSVP!
In 2018, our GTAC contract negotiations team was able to fight for and win a three-year series of raises for all GTAs, paid sick and family leave, increased worker’s rights and protections, and a number of other concessions from KU administration. We’re looking forward to fighting for raises, better healthcare, a larger healthcare subsidy, and other priority changes when we again enter into contract negotiations this spring. Please complete a survey so your voice is heard! Surveying helps the Negotiations Committee gather a comprehensive understanding of grad worker priorities and tells us what to fight for! Email Patrick Gauding at email@example.com to get surveys for your department or to join the Negotiations Team.
“Duties Will Average No More Than 20 Hours Per Week” and “Work Adjustments”
HOURS OF WORK: The most important thing to know about this contract provision is that “on average” does not refer to a mathematical average. You cannot be required to work 30 hours one week and 10 hours the next as a mathematical average of 20 hours per week. Except under unusual circumstances, your work as a .50FTE GTA should never exceed 20 hours per week. However, with this clause, we agree to not stop work when those rare occasions arise.
Example: If you normally work 18 hours per week and then 23 hours during finals week, this would be a reasonable deviation from your normal hours of work.
In addition, breaks, vacation, sick leave, and parental leave all count towards your 20 hours.
Example: Let’s say you normally work five hours per day on Monday through Thursday for a total of 20 hours per week. During Fall Break, you will only work 5 hours per day on Monday and Tuesday and 0 hours on Wednesday and Thursday for a total of 10 hours for that week. You will not “owe” the other 10 hours – those 10 hours are paid vacation time negotiated as part of your compensation package as a GTA.
Finally, all GTA duties must be included in this calculation, including time spent writing, updating, and thinking about the syllabus and curriculum; grading; reading and responding to emails; and in-class and office hours.
Time is money! Many of our members were working more than allowed by their FTE but now have increased FTEs with accompanying increased salary and backpay or have had their work duties adjusted to fit within their FTE limits so they have more free time. If you’d like more information about how to adjust your GTA work, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WORK ADJUSTMENTS: All GTAs are eligible for work adjustments of 2 weeks per semester for personal or family circumstances and up to 6 weeks for the birth, adoption or placement of a child. Work adjustments are not for any other circumstances. Examples of non-applicable circumstances are as follows:
- Work adjustments are not required for or applicable to scheduled breaks, including Winter or Thanksgiving Break, as these paid breaks are a part of your compensation package as a GTA.
- Work adjustments are not required for or applicable to sick leave which is less than one week in duration, as these may be covered by departmental provisions.
- Work adjustments are not required for or applicable to GTAs attending conferences and other events related to professional development, as these events are covered by paid release time as detailed in Article 9: Section 2 of our employment contract.
What do I have to do while on work adjustment/leave? When you are on a work adjustment, you do not have to do any GTA work, although student work may still be required. This is not an extension on your work deadlines and you cannot be required to “make up” any grading or other GTA duties at a later date, unless that “make up” work fits within your FTE.
Who does the work? What usually happens is that the department finds a GTA who is willing to take on the extra hours for extra pay. The chair can then temporarily raise the GTA’s FTE and pay to match the adjusted hours. This additional pay comes from COGA and not from your department’s budget. If no GTA is available to pickup the extra work, or if the chair prefers, the department may assign those extra duties to faculty workers.For a work adjustment, send your chair documentation and dates in writing with as much notice as possible, unless your illness/injury precludes advance notice. Your chair can ask for additional documentation, but they must give you reasonable time to provide it and they cannot arbitrarily deny you. If you would like support in drafting a request for a work adjustment, in reviewing documentation, or if you experience issues with your work adjustment, contact us at email@example.com.
Just to recap, join our union here, RSVP for free contract training here, email Patrick for surveys or to join the political team, or reply to this email with questions about our upcoming events and political work!
Graduate Teaching Assistants Coalition
AFT Local 6403, AFL-CIO