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TUGSA rejects tentative agreement with Temple, strike continues

TUGSA rejects tentative agreement with Temple, strike continues
TUGSA rejects tentative agreement with Temple, strike continues 00:20

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The tentative agreement between the union representing graduate student workers and Temple University was rejected during a vote Tuesday.

TUGSA announced over 92% of the votes rejected the agreement, with 83% voter turnout.

TUGSA said in a release it notified the university of the results and offered to return bargaining as soon as Wednesday. The union said the strike will continue until a new tentative agreement is reached and accepted by TUGSA members.

According to a release, the tentative agreement contained minimal raises and no healthcare coverage for dependents. The proposed wage increase would only bring the average grad worker stipend to $22,000 in the first year, TUGSA said.

"TUGSA members were presented with the opportunity to vote on the Agreement," TUGSA contract negotiations team member Laurie Robins said in a release. "Their vote shows that the terms of the Agreement are insufficient to meet the needs of our members and tells the University administration that they need to offer a truly fair contract."

The announcement comes about a week after TUGSA and the university reached a tentative agreement.

"Despite the University offering to reinstate benefits that it cut during the strike in this Tentative Agreement, the terms of this proposed contract still fail to meet our basic needs," TUGSA member Amanda Whitehead, a long-time instructor in the Dance department, said in a release. "These benefits should've never been cut in the first place."  

The university released a statement about the union representing graduate workers rejecting the tentative agreement: 

"We are disappointed to learn that TUGSA did not ratify the tentative agreement reached with the university last Friday, Feb. 17. The agreement would have ended the three-week strike and returned the university to normal operations.   

The agreement provided for a retroactive increase to minima of 10% along with a one-time payment to every TUGSA-covered graduate student of $1,000 and increases to minima in each of the next three academic years of 5%, 2.5% and 2.25%, respectively. The agreement maintained free health coverage for graduate students and provided enhancements in benefits such as bereavement and parental leave. Finally, the agreement also provided retroactive healthcare subsidies, tuition remission and pay for striking students. 

Although the TUGSA leadership left the Friday meeting promising to unanimously recommend the agreement for ratification, the TUGSA membership did not ratify the agreement. Therefore, the parties will return to bargaining soon, and we will continue to negotiate with TUGSA in good faith as we have done to date." 

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