Frances Bronet’s claims on grad student paid leave are contradicted by SEIU

Francesca Fontana has a well researched article in the ODE, here:

… The GTFF asked for a 5.5 percent raise for two years for all GTFs. According to Bronet, the university offered two proposals: a 6 percent raise per year for two years to level one GTFs and 3 percent to levels two and three, or 5 percent in the first year and 4 percent in the second for all GTFs.

“We are happy with either of those because we want to meet their interest and their needs,” Bronet said.

The other unresolved priority is paid leave. According to Bronet, the university cannot offer the GTFF paid leave because they are part-time employees (working under 0.5 Full Time Equivalent, or FTE).

“What they can do right now is have 12 weeks of protected job leave,” Bronet said. “In terms of paying for family leave, one of the dilemmas is that we have many employees on campus that work less than 0.5 and don’t have access to family paid leave. We’re trying to have some kind of equivalence across all the people who are working and contributing to our collective community.”

The Service Employees International Union released a statement on Sept. 30 announcing solidarity with the GTFF and revealing that part-time classified staff accrue paid leave. This leaves adjunct faculty as the only part-time employees that cannot acquire paid leave.

According to Henry, the issue of paid leave is a form of discrimination towards students who want to have children.

“We’re told, ‘Dissertate before you procreate,’” Henry said. “Without paid leave, the issue of gender equity comes into play because you’re saying men can pursue professional track positions, wives can stay at home and have children. This gets rid of the best and brightest women on their way to becoming professional scholars because you can’t do both.” …

The university is also claiming that the tuition waivers grad students receive should be counted as pay. Whatever. The point is UO needs our grad students. Of course we give them fee waivers. Many other universities supplement these with research grants for computers and travel. (As a first year PhD student Wisconsin sweetened their offer to me with me a state of the art $2500 PC with a 386 processor and 1MB of RAM.)

Actually, to stay in the AAU we need many more graduate students. It’s a bad time for the administration to pick a fight with the ones we got. This is the first time in history that UO has hired an outside lawyer to negotiate with the grad student union. That’s been a big failure. Coltrane and Bronet need to show that they have the stones to back down, and set things right.

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9 Responses to Frances Bronet’s claims on grad student paid leave are contradicted by SEIU

  1. F&@king Clueless says:

    I can solve her dilemma – offer all employees paid leave. That way, employees who are sick or have kids can take care of themselves and their families so they can better contribute to our “collective community” (WTF does that mean?).

  2. Anonymous says:

    Maybe Johnson Hall should offer the grad students its “Jim Bean” sick leave policy: 9 months off at $200K, plus they cover your beamer payments.

  3. Anonymous says:

    “But even without programs as generous as those in Scandinavia, I suspect that any costs associated with taking paternal leave will be outweighed by potential gains. Men will develop better nurturing skills. Women will enjoy increased earnings, career advancement, and satisfaction. Children will benefit from having two involved caregivers. And corporations and governments, who want to see a more resilient and equal-opportunity work force, will realize it is in their best interests to help balance work and family obligations for everyone.”

    -Scott Coltrane

    • anonec says:

      UO doesn’t want to pay for the social benefits that it can’t fully internalize. Unfortunately, it’s all rational and consistent…

    • Anonymous says:

      Scott Coltrane, interim president of the University of Oregon, who researches fathers and families, says more young men want time off with a new child — but just 10 to 15 percent of U.S. employers offer paid paternity leave, almost all in white-collar professions.

      “The main reason men don’t take it is because they don’t have wage replacement — so they can’t afford to,” Coltrane says.

      Some states are acting on their own, mandating paid family leave for most workers. In California, the number of men taking it has doubled in a decade. Coltrane says that’s good for men, kids and women.

  4. UO Grad Student says:

    I would like more information about the university seeking to count our tuition waivers as pay. Would that become taxable income? Also, the UO considers grad students never to be in state students if they moved to OR for school, regardless of time in residence. You can petition to become an in state student, but it’s not an easy process.

    Many of us live here for many years- we buy homes, have families, work in side businesses (because GTF salary is a joke), vote in local elections, register cars, pay local taxes, etc. Would we be getting the tuition waiver at out of state cost? And again, would this be taxable at that rate? Is this an effort to just be able to say that we’re paid above the area’s living wages?

    • anon says:

      That’s an interesting point about the in-state tuition. It seems like THAT would be a very valuable bargaining issue, too late for this time, but it’s one that would benefit GTFs all over campus and would not cost UO out of pocket so they might bargain for it.

    • haha says:

      Careful. If you really go down this round, the GTFF union might decide they agree, and then you’ll pay a dues on your tuition waiver, and poof, there went your raise.

    • synecdoche says:

      I have a recommendation for the University:

      Raise the tuition rate for GTFs to $10 million a year.
      Waive $10 million a year in tuition.
      GTFs become the highest-paid state employees and don’t deserve any other pay or benefits!