Reaching agreement on a successor contract that best serves graduate student employees and the university is a top priority. The university is committed to an outcome that positions graduate student employees and the university for long-term success. Our core principles of appreciation, creative problem solving, and responsible financial stewardship guide negotiations as well as commitment to good faith and transparency throughout the process. These bargaining principles will remain at the forefront when making decisions and presenting bargaining proposals.
Updates about from bargaining sessions with the GTFF are provided to keep the UO community informed on counter proposals, tentative agreements, and other important milestone moments. Questions and requests for additional information should be directed to the bargaining team in Employee and Labor Relations at email@example.com.
November 21, 2023
The university's and the GTFF's bargaining teams met on Monday, November 20, to continue negotiations. The state-appointed mediator was unable to attend as originally planned. However, the parties decided to meet and exchange several counter proposals discussing all remaining open items.
Salary increases for all GEs remain a focal point of negotiations. The university increased its previous offer by adjusting the across-the-board raises to 4 percent in Year 1 and 3 percent in Year 2 and 3 (previously 3.5 percent, Year 1, and 2.75 percent, Year 2 and 3), which ensures that all GEs receive increases. The offer continues to propose moving all GE levels to the same minimum salary, which would significantly increase compensation for those at the lowest rate of pay.
The GTFF countered on salary by maintaining the current structure, three levels at different minimum pay rates, and applying the same percent increase to each – Year 1 = 20 percent, Year 2 = 10 percent, Year 3 = 7.75 percent. Their offer also includes across-the-board increases for GEs above the minimum salary – Year 1 = 13 percent, Year 2 = 8 percent, Year 3 = 5.75 percent.
The GTFF bargaining team presented a packaged proposal of all remaining items, excluding salary increases, for the UO to consider. The remaining outstanding non-salary items include fee structure and health insurance contributions during summer term, number of weeks of unpaid leave, and guaranteed funding of appointments among others. Refer to the list of proposals for the most up-to-date offers.
Mediation continues. The bargaining teams and the mediator are discussing availability with plans to schedule another mediation session next week.
November 10, 2023
The university's and the GTFF's bargaining teams met in mediation on November 9, 2023.
The university's team presented an updated salary offer that is consistent with the university's commitment to position graduate student employees and the university for long term success. The latest salary offer focuses on significantly raising compensation for those GEs at the lowest rates of pay and bringing GE salaries into better alignment with AAU peers to improve the UO’s competitive position when recruiting future GEs.
Refer to the Article 22, Salary offer information for complete details. Highlights include:
- Setting a single minimum pay rate for graduate employees prorated by FTE, would result in GEs at all three minimum levels receiving a significant increase in year one of the contract-- GE I=25.25 percent; GE II = 10.87 percent; GE III = 5 percent.
- Providing a total minimum compensation package for GEs that includes:
- Pay of $33.26 per hour (updated from original estimate of $28.11 due to contractual cap on number of hours GEs work per academic year).
- Full health benefits for GEs and their families (95 percent of premiums covered).
- Coverage of GE tuition and mandatory fees except for a $61 per term GE contribution.
- Providing an increase in subsequent years of the contract:
- Increases minimum salaries by 3.75 percent each year.
- Increases across-the-board pay for GEs earning above the minimum salary – 3.5 percent in Year 1 and 2.75 percent in Years 2 and 3.
- Departments would still have the ability to pay above the minimum rate or provide higher increases, which includes differentiation between GE levels.
In addition to discussions about GE salaries, tentative agreements were reached on four items – work assignments (Article 9), respectful workplace and support services (Article 25), and new articles supporting caregivers and international GEs.
The list of proposals provides a list of the remaining items open for negotiations and links to the most up-to-date counterproposals.
October 30, 2023
The university's and the GTFF's bargaining teams met in mediation following the submission of final offers and cost summaries, which was required by the State within seven days of the GTFF declaring impasse. The offers are available on the Employment Relations Board's website:
October 20, 2023
Following several months of negotiations, the GTFF declared impasse on October 19. Following the statutory periods for negotiations and mediation, impasse is the next step in the bargaining process to establish a new collective bargaining agreement between the university and the union. The parties will submit final offers by October 26, and then a thirty-day cooling off period will begin. Details of the university’s and the union's final offers will be provided as soon as they are available.
Mediation will continue during the cooling off period. Future mediation sessions will begin after final offers have been submitted, so that the parties can work on developing their final offer.
October 17, 2023
The parties met for a modified mediation session on Monday, October 16, 2023 to exchange several articles and provide an opportunity to answer clarifying questions. While this was not considered full mediation, it was an important step in keeping the process moving forward.
The bargaining teams discussed several items including summer term, minimum FTE for appointments, and expense reimbursement. The GTFF bargaining team provided the remainder of their counter proposal to Article 22, Salary, that is consistent with the salary increase amounts they offered at the last mediation session and addresses minimum FTE and appointment dates. The university bargaining team provided a counter proposal for Article 19, Summer Term and expense reimbursement. The list of proposals provides the most up-to-date offers.
The parties have a mediation session scheduled for October 24. The GTFF have indicated their intent to file a declaration of impasse on October 19. Should the GTFF declare an impasse, the parties will discuss how best to proceed and whether an October 24 session makes sense as both parties develop their final offers. Refer to the Employment Relations Board website for more information about the timeline that guides the dispute resolution process.
October 10, 2023
The bargaining teams met in a closed mediation session on Monday, October 9, 2023 with the State-appointed mediator.
The university and GTFF bargaining teams exchanged several salary counter proposals during the mediation session. They have linked their respective salary offers for Article 22 with two new articles for international GE and caregiving support. These three items are being negotiated as an economic package.
The latest GTFF salary proposal includes across-the-board (ATB) increases for all current GEs totaling 27 percent (previously 34.5 percent) and increases to minimum salaries of 41 percent (previously 51 percent) over three years. The university’s last salary proposal provides an 8.75 percent across-the-board increase (previously 8 percent) for all graduate employees and increases to minimum GE salaries by 15.25 percent (previously 12 percent) over the three-year contract. The movement by both parties and details by contract year are outlined in the offer comparison chart.
Tentative agreement was reached on Article 8, Non-Discrimination, Article 30, Graduate Student Assistance Fund, and a letter of agreement on Equitable Housing.
The bargaining teams discussed several other articles to identify interests and opportunities for agreement. Topics discussed included appointments, fee waivers, training, and paid and unpaid absences. View the list of proposals for the most up-to-date offers and complete list with links to full counterproposals.
The bargaining teams will hold a mediation check-in on Monday, October 16 to allow for the parties to discuss clarifying questions. The next full-day of mediation will take place on Tuesday, October 24.
October 5, 2023
The bargaining teams met in a closed mediation session on Wednesday, October 4, 2023 with the State-appointed mediator. They will meet again on Monday, October 9.
The GTFF bargaining team presented a counter proposal on salary, Article 22. The latest GTFF salary proposal reduced their across-the-board (ATB) increases for all current GEs to 34.5 percent (previously 35 percent with the 0.5 percent change reflected in the Year 3 increase). Their counter proposal also reduced the increase to minimum salaries to 51 percent over three years (previously 52 percent).
The university’s last salary proposal presented on September 14 prior to mediation provided an 8 percent across-the-board increase (previously 6 percent) for all graduate employees over three years and increased minimum GE salaries by 12 percent over three years (previously 9.3 percent).
The follow chart provides a side-by-side comparison of the UO and GTFF offers for each year of the contract:
|UO Offer||As of Sep. 14||GTFF Offer||As of Oct.4|
|Contract Year||Salary Minimums||ATB||Salary Minimums||ATB|
Progress was made on several non-economic articles with parties nearing agreement on Article 8, Non-Discrimination and a letter of agreement on equitable housing.
In total, nine articles were exchanged during the session with meaningful discussion between the bargaining teams. Topics discussed, to name a few, included discrimination prevention, Graduate Assistance Fund, housing, and expense reimbursement. View the list of proposals for the most up-to-date offers and complete list with links to full counterproposals.
September 15, 2023
The bargaining teams met on Thursday, September 14, to continue direct bargaining in advance of the first mediation session scheduled on October 4, 2023.
The university increased its salary proposal in a counteroffer that includes increases for all graduate student employees for each year of the three-year contract by providing both across-the-board increases and increases to salary minimums. The latest offer provides an 8 percent across-the-board increase (previously 6 percent) for all graduate employees over three years and increases minimum GE salaries by 12 percent over three years (previously 9.3 percent). The latest GTFF proposal includes an across-the-board (ATB) increase of 35 percent for all current GEs and an increase to minimum salaries of 52 percent over 3 years. The follow charts outline the increases in each year of the contract and provide a side-by-side comparison of the UO and GTFF offers:
|UO Offer||GTFF Offer|
|Contract Year||Salary Minimums||ATB||Salary Minimums||ATB|
The UO has previously proposed to increase the minimum FTE for a GE from 0.2 to 0.25. This results in additional compensation for a GE I working at the minimum FTE and salary.
The parties reached tentative agreement on Article 10, Health, Safety, and Work Environment and a letter of agreement on exploring innovations to health insurance. The following comparison illustrates the salary increase for a GE I assignment at a higher minimum FTE and higher minimum salary:
|Min FTE||Min Salary|
|Year 3 of new contract||0.25||$1,093|
Additional counter proposals were presented on issues related to work assignments, nondiscrimination, summer term among others. View the list of proposals for a complete list and links to full counterproposals.
September 1, 2023
The parties met to bargain on Thursday, August 31, 2023. Twelve counterproposals out of the remaining eighteen on the table were exchanged. Tentative agreements were reached on Article 3 – Union Rights and Article 16 – Discipline and Discharge. The university continues to evaluate the GTFF’s salary offer from last week and did not present a counterproposal. View the list of proposals for a complete list and links to full counterproposals.
Meaningful discussions continued between the bargaining teams to understand differences and identify shared interests in an effort to find common ground. Progress is being made on many proposals. Direct bargaining will continue with a session on September 14.
A state mediator has been assigned to these negotiations and mediation will begin on October 4.
August 25, 2023
GTFF presented a counterproposal on salary that indicated they are open to a three-year contract term. It includes increases for each year of the contract that provide an across-the-board increase of 35% for all current GEs and an increase to minimum salaries of 52% over 3 years.
The GTFF bargaining team also presented counterproposals for several articles to continue negotiations on issues related to work assignments, absences, and discipline among others. See the list of proposals for the latest counterproposals.
Several tentative agreements were reached for the following articles: 12—Evaluations, 31—Training and Professional Development, and 35—Successor Contract.
The GTFF lead negotiators announced their intention to request state mediation. While the parties wait for the official request to be filed and mediation to begin, bargaining sessions are expected to continue as scheduled with the next meeting set for Thursday, August 31.
Over the last several months, the GTFF bargaining team and the university bargaining team have presented proposals, reviewed counter proposals, and have discussed their underlying interests in hopes of reaching a new agreement. Unfortunately, they remain far apart on key issues. Mediation is the next step in the bargaining process and has previously proven a valuable tool in the pursuit of a tentative agreement on a successor contract. The university’s bargaining team welcomes the opportunity to engage a state mediator in negotiations.
August 8, 2023
The August 3 session included information and discussion of graduate employee compensation and living expenses. GTFF presented testimonials from graduate employees and presented comparisons from data they have collected. The university’s bargaining team presented a counter proposal on salary (Article 22) that provides a 6% across-the-board increase for all graduate employees over three years (2% each year) and increases minimum Graduate Employee (GE) salaries by 9.3% over three years. The latest GTFF proposal would raise minimum GE salaries by 52% over the first two years of the contract.
The UO presented six additional counter proposals on the graduate student assistance fund, work environment, evaluations, and more, which can be viewed in the list of proposals.
There was brief discussion about the UO counter proposal for a new expense reimbursement article that would provide an exception to policy, making GEs who are required to travel for university business eligible for UO One Cards.
June 12, 2023
- Salary Increases. The latest UO offer increases minimum Graduate Employee (GE) salaries by 9.3% over three years. The latest GTFF proposal would raise minimum GE salaries by 52% over the first two years of the contract.
- Student Fees. The GTFF is proposing that the UO pay for all university-wide student fees for GEs.
- Health Insurance. UO has committed to not make any substantive changes to the current GE Health Insurance program.
- Minimum FTE for GE Appointments. The GTFF is proposing that all GE appointments carry a minimum appointment of 0.3FTE (current threshold is 0.2FTE) and that a prohibition be implemented preventing departments from hiring graduate students on an hourly basis for workloads between 0.15FTE and 0.3FTE
- International GE Travel. The GTFF is proposing that newly hired international GEs shall be eligible for reimbursement of costs of air travel from their home country to the UO.
- Summer Employment. The GTFF is proposing that the University increase the number of summer GE appointments by 30% over the next two years.
- Guaranteed Housing. The GTFF is proposing that guaranteed housing be provided for international GEs.
- Caregiver Support. The GTFF is proposing an increase to childcare allowances from the Graduate Student Assistance Fund from $700 to $3,000 per academic year and that guaranteed slots be allocated to the children of GEs in UO childcare facilities.
The bargaining teams will meet again on June 16 for their last scheduled session of the spring term. Although dates for future bargaining have not yet been set, both parties are solidifying dates to continue negotiations on an ongoing basis during the summer.
May 18, 2023
The university and GTFF bargaining teams meet on Friday, May 19, for their sixth bargaining session. They will continue to discuss interests, ask clarifying questions, and exchange proposals in their efforts to reach a tentative agreement for a successor contract.
Key interests in discussion at this point in the process include:
- Salary and benefits
- Summer GE appointments and FTE minimums
- Increasing support for international GEs and those with caregiving responsibilities
The university has continued to emphasize clarity around employment dynamics and expectations for GEs, careful stewardship of university resources, rights, and responsibilities, and maintaining a robust total compensation package for GEs that includes fair stipends, tuition and fee remissions, and excellent health insurance.
March 17, 2023
The university and GTFF bargaining teams began negotiations by outlining priorities and providing context and framework for their proposals. The university's bargaining team expressed its interest in agreeing to a contract that offers successful, competitive graduate programs, now and in the future.
To advance these interests, the UO bargaining team presented its first proposal on salary and benefits that includes:
- A multi-year salary increase plan providing a 4% increase to salary minimums in September of 2023 and a 2.65% increase to minimums in September of 2024 and of 2025;
- No changes to the fee structure; and
- No changes to the health insurance program.
In the proposal given to the GTFF bargaining team, it was made clear that there will not be any proposed changes to the health insurance article by the university. This means the university agrees upfront to maintain the existing structure for financing health insurance as currently outlined in the collective bargaining agreement. This important detail offers clarity and reassurance that the university has no intention of proactively seeking changes to the health insurance program during bargaining.
The GTFF bargaining team’s presentation outlined their priorities, which includes economic stability, health and well-being, supporting international GEs and underserved groups, and working conditions. This is consistent with regularly discussed topics at monthly labor management meetings with GTFF leadership prior to engaging in the bargaining process. The university’s bargaining team looks forward to continuing to have meaningful conversations, identifying shared interests, and reaching agreements that benefit both graduate employees and the university.
The GTFF bargaining team presented their first set of proposals, which include thirteen articles related to salary and benefits, work environment, appointments and assignments, and summer support. The GTFF have made their proposals public through Trello, which can be accessed with this link: https://trello.com/b/diHGQaH6/gtff-2023-negotiations.
February 27, 2023
The parties met to discuss ground rules, reach agreement on bargaining processes and logistics, and establish common expectations for future meetings. Ground rule discussions will continue in the next meeting, a date for which has not yet been confirmed. It is tentatively set for March 17, noon to 3pm.
Appreciation of graduate employees: We greatly value our graduate employees and the critical work they do supporting academic and research pursuits at the University of Oregon.
Creative problem solving to address identified needs: We seek to understand the issues and needs of graduate employees and strive to work collectively with the GTFF in creative ways to resolve issues and address identified needs.
Long-term success for our graduate programs: The university strives to further its long-term goal of maintaining graduate programs that are successful and competitive now and in the future. Terms of the collective bargaining agreement should position graduate programs and graduate students for long-term success and provide viability for years to come.
Stewardship of public funds and tuition dollars: The financial landscape of the university presents fiscal limits, and our financial position is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. The university must enter into financial agreements that demonstrate good stewardship of public funds and students’ tuition resources to allow it to meet its financial commitments to institutional priorities.
Commitment of good faith: The institution is committed to working in good faith throughout the negotiation process to achieve a collective bargaining agreement that best meets the needs of both graduate employees and the university.
Transparency: The university will provide fact-based information and periodic updates to keep key stakeholders apprised, engaged, and informed.