Important information about the status of negotiations with GTFF.
Important information about the status of negotiations with GTFF.
University of Oregon
Office of the Provost
Dear faculty colleagues, 
As the fall term comes to an end, I am writing about the status of bargaining with the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation and to address academic and research continuity planning so that faculty members are informed as we head into the winter term and contend with the possibility of a GTFF strike.  

GTFF Bargaining Status Update

Salary increases remain the only outstanding term left to negotiate.
The UO bargaining team increased the salary offer for both minimum salaries and across-the-board increases. The latest offer is detailed on Around the O and on the HR website, which includes a comparison to the latest GTFF offer.
The new proposed minimum rate for all GEs is $33.89 per hour or $2,433 per month at 0.49 full-time equivalency. The university continues to cover full tuition and mandatory fees except $61 per term.
Minimum salary increases: The university’s offer moves away from differentiating pay across three levels to a new model setting all GE levels to a unified minimum salary rate, with greater increases for those currently earning the least:
Year one minimum pay increases:  
Across-the-board increases for GEs earning more than the minimum salary:
  • 13 percent total salary increase for those below a newly proposed base-rate threshold of $50,0000 for 9-months at 1.0 FTE (Year 1 = 7 percent; Year 2 and 3 = 3 percent)  
  • 10 percent total salary increase for those above the base-rate threshold (Year 1 = 4 percent; Year 2 and 3 = 3 percent each).   
  • View across-the-board increases table.
With the UO’s latest offer, GE salary is more competitive in comparison to peers.
GEs would earn more than the average minimum take-home pay rate of public AAU institutions when adjusted for cost-of-living differences between regions. Detailed analysis is available on the HR website
There are no changes to the GE healthcare program.
The university will maintain its investment in the GE health insurance program, which includes:
  • Providing 95 percent premium coverage for all GEs, their partners, and families.
  • A program structured to empower a GE majority-led trust to make all decisions about plan design and benefit levels.  
The GE health plan is far more generous and expensive than the plans offered by other institutions. It costs the university on average over $2,500 more per GE per year than amount spent by our public peer AAU institutions. 
Tentative agreement has been reached on all other articles. 
Some of the agreements include:
  • Reducing the amount of fees and health insurance contributions paid by GEs during the summer.
  • Providing access to UO One Credit Card for business travel expenses.
  • Increasing the number of weeks of unpaid leave while a GE is on family or medical leave.
  • Providing additional financial support for international GEs. 
A complete list of the articles with tentative agreements and an overview of new terms is available on the HR website

Continuity Planning 

The bargaining teams will continue to negotiate through mediation. The next session is scheduled on January 11, 2024. While we are optimistic about reaching agreement with the GTFF, an academic disruption remains a real possibility. As we continue to engage in good-faith bargaining, we also have an obligation to ensure academic and research continuity to minimize disruption to the greatest extent possible. 
Instructors and research groups are strongly encouraged to develop coverage plans for work performed by GEs. Refer to the frequently asked questions for academics and research for guidance.
As noted in the academic continuity FAQ, faculty lecture instructors of record with associated labs and discussions should be prepared in case GEs are absent for a period of time during the winter 2024 term, potentially beginning in Week 1. Potential strategies to prepare for GEs who might be absent from labs or discussions include:
  • Modify lectures to incorporate material from labs and discussions.  
  • Use existing or create asynchronous Canvas modules that could replace labs and discussion content. 
  • Adjust course grading rubrics to reduce reliance on lab/discussion grades.
  • With any strategy, ensure consistency across lab/discussion sections associated with the same lecture because some discussion or lecture leaders might be present while others are absent.
Deans continue to work with the Office of the Provost to evaluate winter courses with GE IORs to identify coverage needs and strategies to reduce impact. 

Talking to GEs 

Preserving relationships is important to moving forward as a collaborative academic and research community regardless of the challenges inherent in the bargaining process. You are encouraged to continue communicating with GEs in ways that convey value and appreciation for their contributions and support for their continued employment.
It is acceptable to encourage a GE to become as informed as possible on collective bargaining issues. You may direct them to resources available on the HR website, such as the UO’s latest salary offer, and through their union to gather the information they need to consider proposed terms of a collective bargaining agreement and exercise their right to participate in a strike.
Other than encouraging a GE to stay informed, it is best not to discuss bargaining or a potential labor strike with graduate employees. Discussions with a GE should focus on their work assignment and the specific tasks and responsibilities associated with completing their work. Please refer to the HR website for specific things you should not do when talking to GEs and other guidance for supervisors.
It is understandable that you and many others in our university community may feel uncertain about what lies ahead, especially as we approach winter term without an agreement with the GTFF in place. We will continue to keep you apprised of developments with regular updates about bargaining and progress on continuity planning. On behalf of university leadership, I am asking you to stay informed and engaged so together we can share facts about the status of bargaining and build confidence and credibility in our commitment to maintaining academic and research operations, minimizing disruption, and delivering quality education to our students.   
Janet Woodruff-Borden 
Interim Provost and Executive Vice President 
1258 University of Oregon, Eugene OR 97403-1258
P: 541-346-3186 | F: 541-346-2023
You are being sent this message based on your affiliation with the University of Oregon.