The University of Oregon and the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (GTFF) began the collective bargaining process for a new contract in November of 2018. The parties reached a tentative agreement at mediation on October 29, 2019, and the union's members have ratified the new contract.
GTFF represents graduate employees. Graduate employees are graduate students who work part-time performing teaching and teaching-related duties, research duties, and/or administrative duties. In the fall term of 2018, there were 1,487 graduate employees working for the university. The overview of graduate student employment provides more information.
Graduate employees are vital to the teaching and research mission of every college, school, department, and center on our campus. As both students and employees, they fill a unique role, and the university greatly values the critical work they do supporting academic and research pursuits. It is our goal to maintain graduate programs that are successful and competitive now and in the future.
The agreement reached achieves the goal of providing a competitive compensation package to attract and retain top talent and position our graduate programs for long-term success. It invests meaningful dollars in increasing salaries for all graduate employees while also continuing to invest in GE health care by increasing funding each year of the contract and incentivizing the GTFF Trust to manage future premium increases. It also includes important terms related to interests we share with GTFF – diversity, inclusion, summer support through implementation of a new summer GE position, and support for students with families.
Terms of Agreement
- 3% increase to minimum GE salaries each year of the contract.
- 1.4% increase to GE salaries above minimum each year of the contract.
The agreement establishes both an incentive for keeping premium increases low and a cost-sharing plan should premium increases exceed a set threshold. This maintains access to affordable, quality health care while at the same time providing an opportunity for the GTFF to choose to further increase GE compensation during the term of the contract. The terms include:
- When annual premium increases are below 5%, the university contributes half of all saved dollars to a pool to increase salaries for GEs at the salary minimum.
- The university continues to contribute 95% of premium costs up to 10% above the current contracted rate. The university will cost-share premiums for any increases above 10% as the GTFF agree to assume 50% of the financial responsibility.
Family and Childcare Support
The agreement invests in resources to support graduate employees with family and childcare needs in the following ways:
- Provide six weeks of paid family leave.
- Increase the assistance fund for childcare from $575 to $700.
- Increase access to the assistance fund for childcare by extending the age limit of the child from 18 months to seven years and allowing one use per year instead of per child.
- Continue funding a GE position to support graduate families.
A new summer GE position article will be added to the contract to encourage hiring over the summer by allowing certain positions to be offered without a tuition waiver.
Workplace discrimination prevention
We will pilot a project that creates a diversity graduate employee position to develop and maintain resources for underrepresented graduate students. Additionally, we’ve agreed to anti-bullying language and training for department heads and faculty.
We have added contract language that highlights our employee accommodations process and ensures that GEs understand how to request workplace accommodations.
Keeping the campus community informed is a priority. Updates shared throughout the bargaining process with the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation are available on the information and updates webpage.
Questions and requests for additional information should be directed to the bargaining team in Employee and Labor Relations at email@example.com.