Hello GEO family!
The bargaining update this week focuses on an issue that is near and dear to our hearts: healthcare.
The GEO healthcare proposal is straightforward — we want to eliminate co-insurance and instead have a system of fixed co-payments, and we want to lower the total out-of-pocket costs for our members. We want our members to be able to afford the care that they need, when they need it. Rather than members having to guess the cost of a doctor visit, hospitalization, or diagnostic service, GEO believes that our members should know ahead of time what these costs will be so that members can budget for them.
**SKIN IN THE GAME**
The management lead negotiator, Susan Chinman, does not believe that GEO members have enough *skin in the game* when it comes to their healthcare, in other words, that members are not paying enough for services. Management is worried that if graduate student employee health care costs go down, then graduate student employees might actually _use_ their benefits. This insulting statement assumes that GEO members are not already invested in their own healthcare, that members are not already paying enormous sums for the care that they need. It also points to a troubling truth: the University knows that the current cost of healthcare is prohibitive. Our members often forego healthcare because they cannot afford it, and management is uninterested in fixing the problem.
**NOT HIGH, NOT MIDDLE, BUT LOW**
GEO proposed a high-level health coverage plan that would keep out-of-pocket costs low and co-payments reasonable. Management responded that they are not interested in a high-level plan. Management is not interested in a mid-level plan. Management has said at the bargaining table that they are only interested in a low-level plan within the platinum range for our members. This attitude is disrespectful to our members and disrespectful to the bargaining process. Management does not value graduate student labor enough to ensure that graduate student employees remain healthy enough to do their jobs.
Despite the frustrating conversations at the table this past Friday, the GEO bargaining team is still giddy over our all-gender bathroom win. Not only will graduate employees be able to access all-gender restrooms, but we also created a process to increase the total number of all-gender restrooms on our campus. The importance of this victory cannot be overstated. Safe and accessible restrooms are a workplace issue, and now, thanks to GEO, management knows it.
your GEO bargaining team