March 29 bargaining update

MIT’s bargaining team met with the GSU’s bargaining team for a 17th time on Wednesday, March 29. This session was less productive than others.

Over the past month, MIT has worked diligently to conduct a rigorous analysis of the GSU’s full suite of 47 economic proposals; provide a detailed and transparent explanation of MIT’s finances; and put forth thoughtful counterproposals to reach resolution.

However, despite the GSU’s stated goal of reaching an agreement by early May — a goal that MIT shares, and continues to work toward — this week the union rejected the Institute’s proposal of a 4% increase on top of the nearly 9% increase they received last year. The union also repeated its February 27 demand for a 31-38% increase in graduate student salaries, along with other benefits that would in total cost well over $100 million annually.

MIT’s minimum doctoral graduate salaries already rank second highest in the nation. In fact, since many departments, labs, and centers pay above the Institute’s minimum salary level, almost half of MIT RAs and TAs are paid more than the minimum.

As communicated previously, the GSU’s economic proposals are unrealistic and inequitable — cutting directly into funds that provide annual salary increases for all other MIT employees, annual increases to undergraduate financial aid, and many other critical Institute needs.

Consistent with our goal of reaching an agreement as soon as possible, we agreed to several new contract terms:

  • adding caste as a protected class in the nondiscrimination provision;
  • clarifying that MIT’s harassment policy includes harassment that is not based on membership in any protected class;
  • allowing early mediation to quickly resolve allegations of nondiscrimination and harassment; and
  • agreeing that a bargaining unit member can be accompanied by a union representative during the formal complaint process for discrimination and harassment complaints.

We remain committed to bargaining in good faith and will carefully review the small adjustments the union made to their economic proposals to fully understand their specific value and impact.

Our next bargaining session is scheduled for April 6, with three additional sessions scheduled through May 4.