- Bargaining tomorrow: What’s at stake
This is a reminder that our next round of bargaining is tomorrow at 8 AM. We’re expecting to hear the administration’s response to our proposals. To recap, this is what’s at stake:
- Effective January 7, 2021 all bargaining unit members will receive either a 7% increase in their salary/hourly wage or have their salary/hourly/wage increased to $48,500/year, whichever results in the highest salary/hourly wage. If the member is working less than full-time the $48,500/year will be prorated based on what ratio of a full-time 40 hours/week they are working. For example, a member working 32 hours/week (0.8) time would have that $48,500 pro-rated to $38,800/year.
- Augsburg pays 100% of healthcare, vision, and dental premiums on plans covering a single employee. Employees choosing healthcare plans covering partners, dependents, or families would pay a reduced percentage of the premiums than they currently do.
- Augsburg will make an annual contribution to employee HSA accounts for High Deductible plans of $1000 per year, regardless of coverage level.
- The formation of a Health and Wellness Committee that will determine health care plans, their designs and other issues concerning them, including selecting affordable health care plans and bringing transparency to the process. The committee would also establish a health care plan for students. The committee will have equal representation from upper admin/HR, Augsburg staff union, other non-union staff, students, faculty, adjunct faculty union, and facilities and custodial union. These representatives will be directly selected by their peers.
- Birth/Adoption Leave: The Employer shall provide to all employees six (6) weeks of paid Birth/Adoption Leave time to use starting up to 2 weeks prior to or after the birth or adoption of a child. Time shall be used all at once anytime in the first 12 months from the date of birth or adoption decree.
- Family Care Leave: six (6) weeks of paid family leave to care for medical/illness needs of themselves, and/or of their family and household members or anyone they are in a caregiver relationship to.
- A two-year freeze on student tuition and housing costs.
These proposals aren’t pie-in-the-sky demands. They’re what the majority of staff has said is necessary to create an Augsburg contract that reflects our values of equity, inclusion, and democracy. We all do better when we all do better.
We’re excited to hear what the administration has to say about our proposals. We see this process as a collaborative way to share staff input on how Augsburg is run, so we hope the administration sees it that way too.
The bargaining team will update you on how negotiations go tomorrow!
The Focused Conversation that the administration held last Thursday went great! Just under half of our union members were there to hear about sustainable growth while representing their union pride with matching Zoom backgrounds. This was a strong showing of solidarity. Just a few days after this action, administration walked back their insistence that bargaining team members use their vacation hours to negotiate. When we stand together we win!
Please continue to use your Augsburg Staff Union Zoom backgroundsand email signatures!
- Demonstrating Our Solidarity
This afternoon, nearly half of the Augsburg Staff Union members attended the Focused Conversation on Augsburg’s plan to grow sustainably. We proudly displayed our Augsburg Staff Union Zoom backgrounds and Zoom profile pictures. It was an amazing demonstration of our solidarity and our resolve to win a fair contract.
Why did we do this? We are concerned with some of the administration’s actions at the bargaining table. As we’ve mentioned in previous communications, the administration’s insistence that we wait to discuss economic proposals (namely, wages and healthcare) until some unknown later date is quite concerning to us. In a fair negotiation, one side doesn’t get to dictate the terms to their liking. This is especially concerning because of how much of a priority wages and healthcare are to the staff. Our demonstration today was a reminder that our contract proposals reflect the needs of staff. They are why we organized a union.
We continue to invite the administration to offer their thoughts on how to improve the working lives of all staff. But they’ve told us they don’t view these negotiations as something that stands to benefit Augsburg as an institution, which is why they’ve not only refused to pay bargaining team members for their time spent negotiating but are insisting they use their personal vacation time. Why? After all, Dawn Miller, Katie Bishop, and their attorney Meggen Lindsay are all being paid for their time spent bargaining.
It’s deeply unfortunate that after months of staff collectively organizing ourselves around these core issues that we feel need to be addressed, the administration still won’t connect the dots between staff having a seat at the table and a better Augsburg. Sadly, this practice of our hard work going unseen and unpaid is a familiar feeling to many of us. How many extra hours do you put into your work here that go uncompensated? We are passionate about Augsburg’s mission and we proudly serve our institution. We expect Augsburg to return the favor, so we can continue to commit ourselves without the fear that one day our retirement contributions may be taken away or that we have a trip to the hospital that puts us in crushing debt. Auggies take care of one another.
Something that caught our attention during the focused conversation was that administration wants to increase staff size. We appreciate that the administration recognizes the problem of understaffing and how it limits our ability to serve the needs of students. Adequate staffing is one way to deal with the extremely high turnover rate at Augsburg. The other necessary component of that is adequate compensation and benefits.
We joined the Focused Conversation en masse today to remind the administration that we’re very serious about our proposals, and we’re committed to Augsburg.
We’re looking forward to our next round of bargaining, scheduled for Thursday, April 1st.
Supporters of the Augsburg Staff Union and our contract proposals have been using union Zoom backgrounds/profile pictures in their day-to-day meetings. Show your support:http://augsburgstaffunion.org/change-your-zoom-background/
We’ve also changed our email signatures to reflect our support for the union. Some of the language we’ve been using is:
- I am a proud supporter of the Augsburg Staff Union
- I support an Augsburg Contract with Augsburg Values
See our notes here from our Town Hall on Tuesday, March 23rd.