In Wages and Insurance
IOWA CITY, Iowa
Local 896 members take to the streets of Iowa City during
Members of UE Local 896-COGS overwhelmingly ratified their
third contract with the University of Iowa, State of Iowa Board of Regents.
The union of teaching and research assistants bargained with
the University and Regents right up to the last minute before final offers for
arbitration were to be exchanged. The sticking point was over starting
salaries and guaranteed salary increases for returning employees. Finally, the
employer relented and accepted the unions last offer.
The two-year agreement increases minimum salaries by 4.2
percent in each year. Returning employees will receive a minimum salary
increase of 3 percent plus an additional 1 percent progression increment. The
increases for returning employees will now go to all employees; in the past,
only employees continuing in the same appointment were guaranteed the
With a projected increase of at least 40 percent to UI Grad
Care, the most widely used insurance plan, over the next two years the
employer will pay 90 percent of the premium cost for single health insurance,
70 percent of the premium cost for dependent insurance, and 85 percent of the
premium cost for single dental insurance, increases of between 1 and 3
percent. Outpatient substance abuse with a 10 percent coinsurance has been
added to the plan summary and domestic partners, including same-sex domestic
partners, will also now be eligible for the employer contribution for
insurance. Beginning in the second year of the agreement, the employer will
contribute 70 percent of the premium cost for dependent dental insurance.
Also, employees will no longer have to re-enroll for health insurance each
To help with organizing in the high-turnover,
graduate-employee environment, appointment letters sent out by the employer
will now include a statement informing teaching and research assistants that
they are covered by a contract and represented by UE Local 896-COGS, along
with a reference to the locals web site.
Improvements were also made in other areas of the contract,
including job postings, teaching assignment notification, and coverage of
classes when an employee is on leave.
The Local 896-COGS bargaining committee included Jennifer
Sherer, Heather Kopelson, Michael Marchman, Angela Hess, Jennifer Ryan, and
Lars Peterson. They were assisted by Field Org. Ryan Downing.
UE News - 05/01