April 24 bargaining update

At the bargaining session on Monday, April 24, MIT made significant movement on several of the GSU’s priority demands. The Institute presented a highly competitive package of wages and benefits, as well as adding mediation and arbitration to our internal process in handling discrimination and harassment complaints.

MIT made six notable additions to its economic offer this week, in areas that the GSU has indicated are among the most important to graduate students:

  • A larger salary increase of 4.5% during the first year of the new contract, followed by 3.5% and 3% during the second and third years of the contract, respectively. This would result in a 11.4% increase over the term of the agreement, and a four-year increase of 21.1%, including last year’s 8.7% gain.
  • Coverage of 50% of the cost of individual dental insurance premiums.
  • Adoption of a new vision insurance benefit.
  • A $1,200 payment to international graduate students, to cover fees and other costs associated with their visas.
  • Significant expansion of leaves and benefits covering childbirth and parental leave, as well as other family and medical leaves, to provide graduate students with more time, support, and funding during important life changes or times of need. These include:
    • An additional four weeks of paid parental leave, with partial salary continuation plus full tuition and benefits continuation.
    • An additional four weeks of parental leave for non-birth parents (or birth parents who use only one month of childbirth leave), with tuition and benefits covered.
    • Up to 12 weeks of family and medical leave for a graduate student’s or family member’s serious health condition, with tuition and benefits covered.
  • A new three-day immigration leave benefit for graduate students who are required to attend certain hearings or appointments relating to their visa status.

In this bargaining session, MIT also made a substantial move on addressing discrimination and harassment claims. In particular, for non-Title IX claims, the Institute offered the option of external modified arbitration as an appeal option. For Title IX claims, MIT offered the union the opportunity to pursue mandatory third-party mediation after the completion of MIT’s internal review processes.

We also offered mediation and informal resolution at any time, upon agreement of all parties, as well as union representation during the process.

Importantly, MIT’s offer on non-discrimination and harassment is similar to the provision that currently exists in the ratified collective bargaining agreement between Harvard University and its graduate student union. 

MIT has also worked, in recent weeks, to meet the GSU’s demands on other key items that matter to graduate students:

  • Needs-based annual grants of up to $10,000 for graduate students with dependent children, above and beyond the need-blind grants of $6,500-$8,500 that MIT currently makes available to graduate students with dependent children; and
  • Five additional vacation days, for a total of 15 vacation days annually.

While both parties are still working toward reaching an agreement on remaining matters, MIT’s most recent offer meets many of the GSU’s priority demands while upholding our commitment to serve the best interests of the entire MIT community now and in the future.

We look forward to the union’s responses to this comprehensive package at the next scheduled bargaining session on Friday, April 28.