After a one-day walkout last Thursday, both the University and the Graduate Employees’ Organization have returned to the bargaining table, reaching an agreement on a few key issues.

The University and GEO came to an agreement on child care benefits and the language that will be added to the anti-discrimination clause of GEO’s new contract. The clause will include gender identity and gender expression.

The inclusion of gender identity and gender expression in the contract was agreed upon in bargaining sessions in February. GEO’s lead negotiator Andre Wilson said the final wording of the clause was not agreed upon until Friday.

The amended clause prohibits discrimination based on “a gender-related identity, appearance, expression or behavior of an individual, actual or perceived, and regardless of the individual’s assigned sex at birth.”

“We talked to some people at the national level — the national TBLG task force. They felt that it would be strongest if we went with that language,” Wilson said. He added that the language of the clause closely mirrors the anti-discrimination clause in the Ann Arbor’s city charter.

The University also addressed GEO’s concern over the rising costs of child care. Under an agreement reached Friday, the child care subsidy for next year would be increased to $1,750 for the first child and $900 for each additional child. This represents an increase of $50 per child. Beginning in the fall, the subsidy increase will be determined according to the average fee increase at the University child care centers outside of the University Health System.

The number of work hours required to receive the childcare benefits was reduced to allow international GSIs access to the subsidies. Some international visas restrict the number of hours GSIs and their spouses can work, and this has denied them access to the childcare subsidy in the past.

“We were happy that (the proposal) addressed the two big things in childcare we were trying to address,“ GEO President Dave Dobbie said.

Another significant development was the inclusion of a special conferences clause.

“Under the provision, the University and the union agreed to meet each semester to discuss issues of mutual concern such as benefits, childcare and testing and training of international students,” University spokeswoman Julie Peterson said.

“We are very encouraged by this progress and hopeful we can resume next week and continue working toward a settlement,” she said.

Many key issues, however, remain unresolved. Negotiations will resume today and tomorrow to discuss salaries, benefits, a no-strike clause and the testing and training of international GSIs.

GEO said yesterday that its membership has authorized an open-ended strike beginning April 4 if an agreement is not reached on those issues. A final vote on whether to strike will take place at a membership meeting on April 3.

“Friday was the most significant day of bargaining since we started,” Dobbie said. “All of us hope to avoid taking further action and going through with a strike.”

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