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University Relations

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April 13, 2006
Contact: Lynn Bretz, University Relations, (785) 864-8866.

KU, GTA union reach impasse in contract negotiations; state board to step in

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas and the Kansas Association of Public Employees, which represents Graduate Teaching Assistants on the Lawrence campus, agreed Monday that contract negotiations have reached impasse. The university and KAPE will now seek assistance from the state’s Public Employer Employee Relations Board to resolve outstanding issues.

“The university bargaining team regrets this outcome,” university spokeswoman Lynn Bretz said. “The university continues to believe that improvements in salaries and health insurance are of primary importance to most GTAs and university departments. Unfortunately, KAPE sacrificed the university’s salary offers to pursue nonmonetary issues.”

With no new contract in place in August, GTAs did not receive salary increases in fall 2005. In negotiations, the university offered to give GTAs currently on staff a 5.5 percent increase for spring 2006 in a lump sum payment at the end of the semester. For the coming academic year, the university offered to add to the 5.5 percent an additional merit increase equal to the faculty merit rate for fiscal year 2007. In FY 2008-09, GTAs would continue to receive the same percentage increase as faculty.

In addition, the university proposed a minimum GTA salary of $11,000 for FY 2007 and subsequent increases to $11,500 in FY 2008 and $12,000 in FY 2009. The current minimum salary is $10,000.

The university and KAPE have been negotiating a new three-year contract since May 2005. Negotiations went into recess over the summer and during winter break at KAPE’s request.

A major nonmonetary point of contention in the negotiations was the university’s limit of 10 semesters (five school years) on GTA appointments — a limit KAPE wanted to extend. The university considers the five-year limit an academic matter. Extending it would remove an incentive for completing degrees as well as deny incoming graduate students access to the pool of teaching assistantships. Graduate students who complete 10 semesters as GTAs are eligible for other appointments such as lectureships or graduate research assistantships.

The university and KAPE did reach tentative agreement on several articles in the contract (a memorandum of agreement).

Under the current contract, GTAs received an average 10 percent salary increase annually from FY 2003 through FY 2005 — cumulatively a 33 percent increase in salaries.

If assistance from the state’s Public Employer Employee Relations Board does not resolve outstanding issues and the contract remains unresolved, the board may appoint a fact finder. GTAs will remain under the current contract, which does not allow for salary increases beyond FY 2005, until a new contract is resolved.


The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus. | (785) 864-3256 | 1314 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045