UF chief negotiator Bill Connellan responded to GAU’s Oct. 26 fee and salary proposals with a counteroffer of a 2-percent salary raise for all graduate assistants effective Jan. 1, 2016, and a $100 fee relief also effective Jan. 1, 2016.
Ioannis Ziogas, a political science graduate assistant and GAU’s bargaining chair, said the 2-percent raise doesn’t address GAU’s concerns about income inequality. A 2-percent raise in salaries would give the most money to top earners.
"Percentages don’t put food on the table," the 35-year-old said.
Connellan said he’s willing to work with GAU but won’t agree to their proposal of the top earners receiving smaller raises than those who make less.
Kevin Funk, a political science graduate assistant and co-president of GAU, said he thought Connellan could do better with his proposal.
"It’s in our interest to do something that benefits everybody, particularly those who are struggling at the bottom," the 33-year-old said.
Ziogas shared a graph that showed the effects of Connellan’s 2-percent raise proposal. He compared a graduate assistant making $40,000 a year to one making $10,000 a year. With time, the pay gap increases.
Connellan said he understood GAU’s argument, but he believes a percentage-based raise works best.
GAU will come back with a response Nov. 9.
UF Student Body President Joselin Padron-Rasines was present at the meeting. She said students should follow the negotiations because many are taught by graduate assistants.
"It’s important for undergrads to understand what GAU is fighting for," she said.