What is the GTAC Win-Win Plan for Fall 2020?

This document was a working piece used by GTAC officers over Summer 2020. KU refused to negotiate with us, so these proposals were never adopted. In response, GTAC filed four labor violation charges against the University of Kansas. See the media statement and associated charges here. Since then, we have enforced our right to choose to teach online and and engaged in impact negotiations, including discussing and agreeing on accommodations for free loaner laptops and wireless hotspots for GTAs, single person offices for GTAs, and increased privacy regarding Covid-19 testing. Click here if you need tech, office space, are being forced to work over hours, or required to create curriculum. Join our union today! Find us on Facebook.

This document is the GTAC plan for Fall 2020. As our demands are met and circumstances change, this plan will be updated accordingly. Previous demands that we’ve won will remain but be stricken.
Items that we’re discussing for our next set of demands will be in italics and should have begin with a header that says DRAFT FOR DISCUSSION. The most recent updates were made on 7/7/2020.

The rapidly changing plan being touted by KU administrators, widely referred to as the KU (P)lan, has few cornerstones available for analysis and a number of deficiencies which must be addressed before this plan can be seriously considered. These deficiencies are addressed in another post, but suffice to say that we will not allow KU to sacrifice the life of a single GTA on the altar of the “on-campus experience”. For the reasons described in the linked post, but most critically because of the required loss of life, the KU (P)lan is unacceptable. Instead, we offer the GTAC Win-Win Plan as a safe and responsible alternative to the deadly KU (P)lan.

[We won! KU cannot force any GTA to work in-person, and we decide which risks – if any – are acceptable to us.] If you have questions, concerns, or comments about the GTAC Win-Win Plan, please contact us by email at gtacunion@gmail.com or by posting in our private GTA-only Facebook Group.

Under the Win-Win Plan, all courses will initially be offered as online courses (WW). For those courses which would benefit from a F2F component, including those requiring specific equipment or spaces or those with enrolled International students, individual instructors of record may choose to opt-in to in-person (P) or hybrid (HO/HC) courses. These instructors will set the health and safety requirements for their own courses. As these courses are updated to reflect their status (HO, HC, or P), teaching assistants will be offered the opportunity to opt-in to in-person work duties, if necessary. Any in-person work duties not covered by available opted-in assistants will be covered by the opted-in instructor. All other courses and duties will take place online.

If an instructor or assistant chooses to opt-in to F2F job duties, the worker will set the health and safety requirements for those duties. All workers who opt-in to on-campus duties will be provided Personal Protective Equipment, hazard pay, paid sick leave, and specific coverage related to Covid-19 as listed below. Worker who necessarily must work on campus, including custodial workers, library workers, and support workers, will receive these same protections and benefits.

DRAFT EDIT FOR DISCUSSION: If a department determines that an online (WW) course without an opted-in instructor would benefit from a F2F component, they shall notify the College of Graduate Affairs, who shall arrange for an administrator to run the F2F component. These administrators must be decision-makers with a minimum of a bachelors degree, a monthly salary of $10,000 or more, and medical insurance provided by the State Health Insurance Plan. These administrators will set the health and safety requirements for their F2F component and will be responsible for pre and post cleaning of all spaces utilized during F2F instruction.

Reduced enrollment may lead to more available GTAs than available courses for GTAs. GTAs who do not have available courses will help create and maintain the multi-modal curriculum to be used by other GTAs and faculty or adjunct instructors, thus fulfilling the requirement that the University of Kansas provide all necessary materials free of charge, including curriculum, as required by our negotiated union contract.

The Win-Win Plan allows necessary in-person courses to be offered while addressing the needs and respecting the agency of workers, students, and our greater Lawrence community. In addition, the financial burdens created by the limited number of in-person courses offered under the Win-Win Plan will be substantially less than the financial requirements of the KU (P)lan, which will require adjusted FTEs to cover required GTA “overtime” with estimated numbers exceeding 8 million dollars (if the minimum required labor is even available, which we do not see as possible).

Under the Win-Win Plan:

  1. All Fall 2020 courses and services will be offered online (WW) by default. Individual instructors of record can then choose to opt-in to an in-person (P) or hybrid (HC/HO) course.
  2. All assistance provided to opted-in instructors of record must be assumed to be off-line by default. Individual teaching assistants can then choose to opt-in to in-person or hybrid duties, including their choice of in-person or online lecture, discussion, office hours, etc.
  3. Any instructor of record or teaching assistant who opts-in must receive the following:
    • Minimum PPE sourced and provided free of charge by the University of Kansas using guidelines developed by the Kansas University Nurses Association, AFT Local 5132
    • A $3,000 per semester hazard bonus payable in $750 increments issued during the first pay periods in September, October, November and December
    • Unlimited paid sick leave for Covid-19, in addition to negotiated or existing policy leave
    • A 100% health insurance subsidy if covered by the Kansas Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) or the Kansas State Employee Health Plan (SEHP) or a $750 cash subsidy if covered by alternate health insurance payable in full during the first pay period in September
    • Coverage of all Covid-related medical bills which exceed the limits of the worker’s health insurance coverage
  4. Any instructor of record or teaching assistant who opts-in must be allowed to rescind their in-person or hybrid option and return to online teaching at any point for any reason, to allow individuals to continually address changing personal or community conditions.
  5. Any worker who is required to provide services or complete their duties on campus, including custodial workers, library workers, and support workers, must receive the following:
  6. The University must forbid pressure, penalties, and/or retaliation for any choice made by workers, in addition to existing worker protections in the GTAC union contract and embedded within state labor laws.
  7. Evaluations, renewals, and discipline must be irrespective of and contain no reference to course type (i.e., in person, online, or hybrid.)
  8. DRAFT EDIT FOR DISCUSSION: Any F2F duties not covered by an opted-in worker must be provided by KU administrators. To avoid placing additional burdens on departments, these work assignments shall be made and monitored by the College of Graduate Affairs.

Graduate teachers are not disposable. Black and Indigenous lives matter more than anyone’s “on-campus experience”. We deserve better and we will DID get it.

Our risk is our choice. Period.

Click here to review our analysis of the KU (P)lan.

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