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Boston Graduate Workers Union


Bargaining Session 12 Summary & Ratification of Rank-and-File Worker Support Fund!

🎉  On Friday, February 16th, BUGWU met BU at the table for our twelfth bargaining session for a strong contract. 🎉 

Last week BU administration requested that we meet for an additional bargaining on Friday, February 16th. Many of our Bargaining Team members had teaching and research conflicts at the time, but with a smaller group of our members we met with administration to receive counter proposals and ask technical questions regarding contract language.

Our rank-and-file run Worker Support Fund is now officially ratified and elections for our officers are now open! See below for more details.

BU Admin’s Counter Proposals Summaries:

  1. Workload: In our workload article, we included protections that would ensure that no graduate worker feels compelled or pressured to work more than 20 hours. We also included policies related to workload adjustments, workload stability, and overbase pay. BU’s counterproposal removes language that prohibits graduate workers from being compelled or pressured to work more than 20 hours and weakens or eliminates other protections. They also removed a provision that would provide income stability for hourly workers.
  2. A 12 month stipend: In our appointments article we proposed that “Graduate Workers shall be given twelve (12)-month appointments, which may consist of shorter-length assignments”. BU is responding with this side letter, agreeing to form a committee that will explore how to transition all PhD students to a 12 month stipend. Their goal would be to implement this transition for the 2026 - 2027 academic year, but this measure is not binding or enforceable. We think it’s important to point out that a committee already convened on this issue in 2020 and recommended that all PhD funded students shift to 12-month appointments.
  3. Transitional assistance: BU amended their side letter on transitional assistance that they introduced during our bargaining session on February 14th. BU is proposing transition assistance in the form of a transitional coordinator and protocol for workers who need to transition out of a lab or mentorship relationship, including funding for up to one full semester. Initially BU’s side letter applied to only PhD workers, and their amended language now says “PhD students (and other students who receive stipend support)”.

BUGWU’s Counter Proposals Summaries:

We made a counterproposal on BU’s Joint Labor Management Committee counterproposal which BU verbally accepted, and we’ll be signing a tentative agreement on that article soon. Joint Labor Management Committee is a standard clause and it establishes a committee between union members and management to discuss issues of relevance to both parties. This is not a space for negotiations, but would be used for formal problem solving outside of issues covered by the contract. This is our second tentative agreement, the first being our Separability article which BU agreed to back in September.

Elect Your Rank-and-File Support Fund Officers

Our worker support fund bylaws were ratified on Sunday, with 97.9% of respondents voting yes! Officer elections begin today and will close this Thursday at 12pm. Our candidates for the positions are: 

  • President: Laurel Oberstadt-Petrik (STH) and Zoe Johnson (AMNESP)
  • Treasurer: Matt Tracy (Chemistry)
  • Secretary: Nive Senthilvel (History)

Please vote for your officers using this form. At this week’s CAT meeting, we will have an open discussion on the proposed fund allocation procedure before it is put up for unit-wide ratification. All members are invited to come ready to discuss!

Thanks for reading!

= Updates

🎉 = Victory

Do you or someone you know have any interest in helping to create & edit this newsletter? Getting involved is easy, with no commitment level required. Everyone is welcome; we’re happy to have all the help we can get! Just search for the #communications-team channel in the BUGWU slack. (Not on the BUGWU slack? Reach out to any union rep to join!)