During today’s meeting, we began discussing the addition of a new clause to our contract that explicitly permits domestic Graduate Assistants to have a second job outside of the university. As you know, many Graduate Assistants on campus have been told that they cannot hold an additional job while they are working here at URI. This is simply untrue for domestic students, and goes against established policy here at the university. In fact, the Administration expressed that action has been taken in the past when departments have tried to limit students’ right to work outside of the University. We are asking the administration to be crystal clear in their policy on external employment by codifying your right to work a second job in our contract. We look forward to making progress on this essential issue.
We also revisited the academic freedom clause where graduate assistants are incorrectly labeled as “apprentices” as well as our proposal to extend the grievance timeline to better accommodate the needs of our members. The Administration will be drafting alternative language for the academic freedom clause to reflect the dual role of Graduate Assistants as both students and employees which we hope to examine during our next negotiating session.
As far as the grievance procedure, the Administration has suggested that GAU provide members with additional resources such as the “Discrimination Complaint Procedures” from the office of Affirmative Action to alleviate our concerns that the grievance reporting window is too narrow for those who have suffered egregious offenses such as sexual and gender harassment in the workplace. This particular policy allows 365 days for victims to come forward and file a complaint with the university. We will continue to discuss how to best address our concerns regarding access to the grievance process so that you are protected from abuse in the workplace.