The University Record, April 9, 1996

U-M, GEO scheduled for state mediation tomorrow

The University's bargaining team and representatives of the Graduate Employees Organization (GEO) had not reached an agreement at Record press time despite numerous negotiating sessions last week. GEO members had earlier voted in support of a work stoppage that was scheduled to begin yesterday (April 8) and continue through today.

Although the number of issues had been reduced significantly by the end of last week, spokespersons for the University said that they did not expect significant progress to be made before state mediation was scheduled to begin. A state mediator w ill begin meeting with GEO and the U-M bargaining team tomorrow (April 10).

According to a fact sheet released Friday, salaries and benefits paid to teaching assistants (TAs) cost the University approximately $34,000,000 in 1995-96. That figure includes full tuition waivers that are granted to TAs with a 25 percent or gr eater appointment. A partial tuition waiver is granted to TAs with less than a 25 percent appointment.

Provost J. Bernard Machen sent a memo to all University faculty, graduate student teaching assistant and graduate stu dent staff assistants last week stating that the University felt a walkout at this time of the year would "be a hardship on students at such a late date in the term." He also stated that it is "the responsibility of all University of Michi gan employees to perform their assigned teaching responsibilities" and that failure to teach classes as assigned could "result in lost compensation." Machen also urged instructors not to reschedule classes at off-campus location or at irre gular hours and said he hoped an agreement could be reached without the threatened work stoppage.

Approximately 75 percent of TAs are appointed to their positions in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts (LS&A). LS&A Dean Edie Goldenberg last week at the LS&A faculty meeting echoed Machen's position, saying that she expected "our instructional staff to meet with their classes at their normal time and place."

Representatives from the 1,800-member union and the University's seven-member bargaining team have been meeting since October.