The University of Oregon and the Graduate Teaching Fellow Federation (GTFF) began the collective bargaining process for a new contract in November of 2018. Negotiations are expected to continue into the spring term. The current three-year contract expires on March 31, 2019.
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 university greatly values graduate employees and 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.
University negotiations with the Graduate Teaching Fellow Federation (GTFF) is based on the following:
- Commitment of good faith
Work in good faith throughout the negotiation process to achieve an agreement that best meets the needs of our graduate employees, our faculty, and the entire university.
Provide factual information and periodic updates to keep key stakeholders apprised, engaged, and informed.
- Competitive compensation package
Seek a competitive compensation package that attracts and retains top talent in our graduate programs.
- Long-term success of graduate programs
Support the long-term goal of maintaining and improving our top-tier graduate programs so they are successful and competitive now and going forward.
- Responsible stewardship of public funds and tuition dollars
Be good stewards of tuition and taxpayer dollars by allocating resources responsibly.
The university is seeking a compensation package for graduate employees that is competitive with its peers in the Association of American Universities (AAU) by focusing on two key elements: salary and benefits. The university's proposal would increase minimum salaries, putting average GE salaries ahead of AAU peers, while still preserving health benefits and a fee structure that is more generous on average than peer institutions. It would do so by transferring some money currently going to health benefits and fee waivers and apply that money to salaries. The proposal summary provides more detail about the compensation package proposed by the university in comparison to AAU peers. Here is an overview:
- An increase in GE salary
14.7% increase salary in the first year using new money and money transferred from health insurance and fees
- A change in tuition fees to align with AAU peer institutes
Increase in fees that is offset by salary increase
- A reduction in contribution to health insurance to align with AAU peer institutes
Transferring a portion of contributions to health insurance to salary, to increase take home pay
UO currently offers lower minimum salary than other AAU institutions. To offer higher salaries, the university is seeking to realign benefit offerings. The university's proposal would decrease the amount of money invested in health benefits and fee waivers and shift that money to salaries. The proposal results in:
- A net increase of 9.5% for level I GEs in the first year after fees are paid
- An average 7.3% for all GEs in the first year after fees are paid
- An average increase in take home pay of $2,088 for GEs working three terms; net average of $1,296 after fees
- Maintaining competitive health insurance contributions for graduate employees (49.7% greater average contribution than AAU peers)
- Maintaining low fees for graduate employees (comparable to AAU Peers)
When viewed holistically, this proposal equates to 1% increase in the total compensation package – salary and benefits – for graduate employees during the 2019-20 academic calendar, which would be followed up with a .8 % cost-of-living adjustments in each of the next two academic years.
The GTFF bargaining committee provided its proposal at the beginning of the negotiation process. Visit the GTFF website for more information about their proposal.
Information and Updates
Keeping the campus community informed during on-going negotiations with the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation is a priority. Questions and requests for additional information should be directed to the bargaining team in Employee and Labor Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org.
November & December 2018
November: GTFF proposal presentation
December: Bargaining discussion
January 18: University proposal presentation
Continue bi-weekly bargaining sessions.
Continue bi-weekly bargaining sessions.
Continue bi-weekly bargaining sessions. Meet more frequently, if necessary.