As all students who were present two years
ago are aware, an adequately compensated workforce is vital to the
functioning of this University. In March of 2002 Graduate Employees
Organization members staged a one-day walkout to express
dissatisfaction with their compensation package and the contract
negotiation process then underway. As a result of the walkout,
graduate student instructors received a better pay package, as well
as better benefits with regards to the key issues of healthcare and
child care.

Last April, University lecturers successfully unionized to form
the Lecturers Employees Organization to counter unfair and
insufficient compensation packages from the University. LEO, which
represents all the non-tenure track faculty at the University, aims
to address difficult working conditions which many lecturers have
to face.

Tomorrow, LEO and GEO are staging a joint demonstration on the
Diag at noon. This joint rally is expected to raise awareness about
many of the difficulties that lecturers and GSIs continue to face.
Expected to be front and center are issues pertaining to
healthcare, prescription drug benefits and child care services.

This rally deserves the support of University students, as well
as GSIs and lecturers. Lecturers, for example, receive laughably
inadequate compensation from the University. A lecturer is
essentially a non-tenure track professor – most have the
highest-available degrees in their fields. Despite being fully
qualified in their fields and entirely responsible for running a
class, many lecturers are paid less than GSIs. Because of this,
some lecturers are forced to take up multiple jobs at different
local universities, just to ensure they can make a living. The
result is that lecturers are often burdened with the weight of
financial stress, long workdays and difficult commutes. The tragic
outcome is that lecturers are unable to put forth their full effort
into designing curriculum, planning lectures and helping students.
The indirect losers are students, who do not receive the education
their exorbitant tuition theoretically paid for.

Prescription drug benefits and child care benefits are two of
the most pressing issues currently facing GEO and LEO. In an
attempt to cut costs, the University, contracted with a private,
for-profit company, AdvancePCS, to manage prescription drug
benefits. The result, in the eyes of GEO, is a flawed and untenable
healthcare plan which raises costs for employees. GEO is hoping to
pressure the University into letting GSIs and librarians benefit
under a plan which allows them to buy generic drugs at a low
price.

Students should take a proactive interest in LEO and GEO. These
organizations work to ensure that many valuable educators receive
the compensation they are entitled to. This rally, which hopes to
raise awareness of the issues facing lecturers and GSIs, is a great
opportunity for students to get out and show their support.

 

 

 

 

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