Meet and Confer (M&C) is a policy adopted by the University System of Maryland (USM) which allows Graduate Assistants (GAs) to engage in formal discussions with the administration regarding employment issues.
Graduate Assistant (GAs) can use M&C platform to voice their concern regarding issues related to employment benefits, compensation, etc. in the absence of unionization and collective bargaining.
M&C is not collective bargaining; as such there are no binding obligations on the administration to honor the concerns raised in these discussions.
M&C is another avenue for GAs to voice their concerns. Existing shared governance bodies, such as the GSA, can continue advocating for all graduate students. It is just another method established by USM for GAs to voice their concerns directly to the administration.
GA representatives will meet with the administration for these discussions twice a year. In addition to meeting with the administration M&C also allows GAs to vote on whether or not to bring in outside representation (including unions) to confer with GA representatives during the discussions.
How is Meet and Confer being implemented at UMBC?
A Graduate Assistant Advisory Committee (GAAC) has been assembled of students from all the different GA positions and various departments. This group represents the GAs of UMBC in the Meet and Confer discussions.
The GAAC will meet with the Dean of the Graduate School, the Provost, and the Vice President for Administrative Affairs at least twice a year to engage in meet and confer discussions.
The GAAC is also charged with running an election process by which the GAs of UMBC can vote on whether or not to bring external representation into these conversations.
Whether or not GAs elect to bring in external representation the GAAC still meets with the administration and voices your concerns. The external representative is there to act as council and advise the GAAC.