2009-2011 Contract Settlement

On February 18th, members of UE Local 896/COGS raitified a new contract with the State of Iowa Board of Regents and the University of Iowa. Below is a letter describing the overall settlment, followed by more detailed explanation of contract changes.

February 20, 2009

We are pleased to announce that the 2009-11 contract has been ratified. This contract preserves the rights we’ve won during the past ten years ago while continuing to improve the living and working standards of graduate employee’s at the University of Iowa. Our primary goals for bargaining was to reach full tuition scholarships, resolve the FERPA dispute, improve language on training and class coverage, and preserve the rights won and protected through previous contracts and our grievance procedure. We set those goals prior to the steep economic recession that has now overwhelmed every discussion of budgets for state institutions in Iowa and around the country. Despite tremendous pressure placed on these negotiations by those forces, we believe this contract holds to those principles.

There are several core improvements made through this agreement, including:

* 100% tuition scholarships beginning in the second year (2010-11) of this contract.
* Resolves the FERPA disupte by creating a mechanism to meet federal requirements while still providing the union with the information it needs to protect the rights of our members.
* Shifts the ultimate responsibility for class coverage to the department rather than with teaching assistants.
* Requires all non-department assistantships to be posted on the Grad College job board.
* Requires the university to train TAs and RAs in all skills expected for their position as outlined in their evaluation. The language creates a joint task force to identify ways to best implement this policy across the University.

Several other language changes have been made in order to keep the contract in line with current practices between UE-COGS and the University of Iowa.

In conclusion, this agreement preserves the gains made over the past decade while addressing some significant non-economic issues for employees and securing a greatly improved financial package for all graduate employees. The actual agreement can be viewed by clicking on 2009-2011 Agreement. Many thanks go to all COGS members who made this agreement possible.

In Solidarity,

UE Local 896-COGS
Bargaining and Grievance Committee