GTFF Bargaining: Tentative Agreements

The parties met on Monday, January 15, and reached a tentative agreement on a successor contract. The GTFF members ratified the contract on January 26, 2024. Until a new collective bargaining agreement is available, refer to the list of tentative agreements for information on CBA terms.

GE Salary - Article 22

The tentative agreement 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 significantly in increasing salaries for all graduate student employees while also continuing to invest in GE healthcare: 

  • Minimum Pay: $35.52 per hour.
    $2,549.51 per month at 0.49 full-time equivalency.
  • Double-digit percentage increase: 
    At least 10 percent first-year increase for all GEs with a 1.0 base salary under $50,000.
    The salary increases will be implemented retroactively to September 16, 2023. 
  • New Minimum Pay Salary Structure: 
    Minimum pay for all GE I, GE II, and GE III set at the same rate, which is proposed to be 10% higher than the current GE III rate. This is in addition to the recent 1.5 percent increase, also retroactive to September 16th, 2023, in accordance with the GTFF collective bargaining agreement which allows minimum salary rates to be increased when the annual health insurance renewal rate is less than 5%. 
  • Tuition & Fee Benefits: 
    UO continues to pay all tuition and fees (except $61 per term)
  • Health insurance provided for all GEs, their partners, and families:
    UO continues to pay 95 percent of the premium. For context, GEs with individual health insurance currently pay $37/month in premiums in any term in which they have an appointment.

Salary Increases

Minimum Salary Increases*

The tentative agreement sets a unified and increased minimum pay rate, and results in GEs at all three minimum levels receiving a significant increase in year one of the contract.

GE Level Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Total
GE I* 31.81% 5% 5% 41.81%
GE II* 16.68% 5% 5% 26.68%
GE III 10.50% 5% 5% 20.50%

 *The minimum base rates for graduate employees were increased by 1.5%, retroactive to September 16, 2023, in accordance with the GTFF collective bargaining agreement which allows minimum salary rates to be increased when the annual health insurance renewal rate is less than 5%.  **The GE1 and GE2 salary rate minimum will be set to the same as the GE3 salary rate minimum.

Across-the-Board Increases

The tentative agreement includes a new approach to across-the-board increases that differentiates those already at the higher end of the pay scale from other GEs. It establishes an above minimum department base rate threshold with a higher percent increase for those below the threshold than above.

Contract Year Base Rate Threshold = $50,000 at 1.0 FTE equivalent (9-month)
Year 1 Below threshold = 10%
Above threshold = 4%
Year 2 4% for all
Year 3 4% for all
Total Below threshold = 18%
Above threshold = 12%

UO Salary Offers - Increasing pay for all GEs while significantly investing in those at the lowest rates.

Consistent with the university's commitment to position graduate student employees and the university for long-term success, the tentative salary offer focuses on significantly raising compensation for those GEs at the lowest rates of pay. It also brings the GE salaries into better alignment with AAU peers to improve the UO’s competitive position when recruiting future GEs. 

The table below illustrates the annual increases for GEs currently paid at a minimum rate with a 0.49 FTE appointment: 

Current Levels 

Academic Year Minimum (1)
Academic Year Minimum 

Percentage Increase in Year 1 

Percentage Increases in Year 2 and 3

Percentage Increase Over
3-Year Contract
GE I $17,408 $22,946 31.81% 5% 41.81%
GE II $19,666 $22,946 16.68% 5% 26.68%
GE III $20,765 $22,946 10.50% 5% 20.50%

Note: Graduate employees with a full three-term appointment at 0.49 FTE work 646 hours. Regular 12-month employees at 1.0 FTE work 2,080 hours.

(1) Rates account for recent adjustment based on health insurance renewal, which increased minimum salary in accordance with Article 20, section 1c of the current CBA

Departments will still have the ability to pay above the minimum rate or provide higher increases, which includes differentiation between GE levels.

Comparison with AAU Peer Institutions 

The tentative agreement brings the GE salaries into better alignment with AAU peers to better compensate current GEs and improve the UO’s competitive position when recruiting future GEs. Analysis places this tentative agreement above the average minimum take-home pay rate of the other public AAU institutions when adjusted for cost-of-living differences between regions. The following data compares the newly agreed to minimum salary with those at other AAU public universities. The analysis focuses on take-home pay after GE contributions for mandatory fees and health insurance premiums, with cost-of-living adjustments based on the MIT Living Wage Calculator.   

AAU GE Take-Home Pay Analysis (9 month 0.49 FTE) 

  AAU Average UO Proposal

Minimum GE Stipend 
(0.49 FTE) 

$23,572 $22,946

Mandatory Fees 
(GE portion of mandatory fees) 

$(481) $(183)

Insurance Premiums 
(GE portion of health insurance premium) 

$(919) $(353)

Take-Home Pay 
(Stipend less Mandatory Fees and Insurance Premiums) 

$22,171 $22,410

Cost-of-Living Adjustment 
(Eugene cost-of-living as % of AAU average using MIT Living Wage Calculator) 

92.5% N/A

Net Take-Home Pay 
(Take-Home Pay after Cost-of-Living Adjustment) 

$20,507 $22,410
Difference ($)    $1,903
Difference (% above AAU average)    +8.3%

Factors considered for the analysis: 
  • MIT cost-of-living calculator used to align with GTFF analysis. 
  • Calculator adjusted for Eugene cost-of-living, which is 92.5% of AAU public peers. 
  • To ensure a consistent comparison of take-home pay, we deducted from the stipend the GE’s contributions to mandatory fees and health insurance premiums on an institution-by-institution basis, both of which reduce total take-home compensation. 
  • This analysis does NOT include the additional investment that the UO makes in the UO GE health insurance program (which is over $2,500 more per GE than other public AAU institutions) as explained below. 

The contract proposal is focused on providing graduate students with a competitive total compensation package for their part-time employment as they work toward degree completion. 

UO Investment in Health Insurance 

It is important to recognize that the UO health insurance program for GEs is far more generous and expensive than the plans offered by other institutions. University administration was clear at the start of bargaining that there would be no proposals to change GE health insurance introduced by the university’s bargaining team, and that remains the case. We do not seek to reduce the contributions the university makes toward GE health insurance nor change the health insurance program structure, which empowers a GE majority-led trust to make all decisions about plan design and benefit levels. In particular, the UO plan provides 95% premium coverage for all GEs, their partners, and families, which is very unusual for most institutions.  

Tentative Agreements

Article Tentative Agreement Reached Changes or Additions
3 - Union Rights FINAL 9-14-23
  • GEs doing union service will be appointed at 0.49 FTE rather than their released department FTE appointment
  • Established a $3,000 information request allowance for union use
8 - Nondiscrimination FINAL 10-9-23
  • Updated protected characteristics to align with UO policy and expanded protections to include caste
  • Added sections for applying name changes to employment documents and setting expectations for supervisors respecting a GE’s reported gendered language
9 - Work Assignment FINAL 11-9-23
  • Increased deadlines for notice requirements for available courses and final teaching assignment
  • Allowance for GE workload form modifications due to course enrollment changes
  • Set expectations for supervisor and GE use of a workload allocation form 
  • General Duties and Responsibilities Statement  (GDRS) expanded including what counts toward total years of funding a graduate student at the time of admission
10 - Health, Safety, and Work Environment FINAL 9-14-23
  • Clarified that GEs will have what they need to perform their job duties that includes a variety of specifications and items to address issues raised by GEs
  • Committed to a timeline for the interactive accommodation process
12 - Evaluations FINAL 8-24-23
  • Sets expectations for notices of evaluative observations
16 - Discipline and Discharge FINAL 8-31-23
  • Sets expectations for notice of union rights and representation during disciplinary meetings
  • Adds support to assist GEs unable to work due to immigration issues
17 - Appointments FINAL 11-30-23
  • Stipulates additional information that must be included in an appointment notice, such as health insurance costs
19 - Summer Term FINAL 11-30-23
  • Summer GE appointments must include enrollment requirements and course decision dates
  • Reduces fees for those with summer GE appointments to align with the academic year structure
22 - Salary  FINAL 1-15-24
Salary Increases
Non-salary terms
  • Changes the minimum FTE from 0.20 to 0.25
  • Increases summer instructional FTE to align with the academic year structure
  • Salary increase for all GEs as described above.
23 - Tuition Waiver FINAL 11-30-23
  • No notable changes
24 - Health Insurance FINAL 11-30-23
  • Reduces the GEs summer bridge contribution to health insurance
  • Increases the university's contribution to health insurance administrative costs
25 - Respectful Workplace and Support Services FINAL 11-9-23
  • Makes GE support positions under the contract more flexible for meeting evolving GE needs
  • Updates the definition of bullying to better align with respectful workplace expectations
29 - Paid and Unpaid Absences FINAL 11-30-23
  • Adds provisions for Paid Leave Oregon to comply with Oregon Paid Family and Medical Leave
  • Expands GE Family Medical Leave from 12 to 16 weeks of unpaid leave
  • Provides flexibility for GEs to observe cultural and religious holidays
30 - Graduate Student Assistance Fund FINAL 10-9-23
  • Expanded eligible events that qualify for funding to include the death of a spouse/partner or dependent, loss of housing, international GE living expenses during the summer, and increases the age limit for eligible childcare expenses
  • Provides additional funding of $25,000 if the fund is depleted in a given year
  • Adds expectation for the university to explore ways to improve support for graduate students especially those in crisis
31 - Training and Professional Development FINAL 8-24-23
  • Increases pay rate for GE training hours
  • Encourages inclusion of GE input in undergraduate curricula and educational innovation decisions
35 - Negotiation of Successor Agreement FINAL 8-24-23
  • Allows either party to indicate the desire to negotiate a successor agreement
Appendix A - Data Delivery FINAL 6-2-23
  • Position start date added as a data point in monthly reporting to the union
Appendix L - Exploring Self-Funding FINAL 9-14-23
  • Creates a joint workgroup to explore innovations to the GE healthcare program including self-funded options
NEW Article - Caregiving FINAL 11-9-23
  • Outlines provisions and support for GEs with caregiving responsibilities including access to, financial assistance through the Graduate Student Assistance Fund, and access to subsidized childcare during the summer
NEW Article - International GEs FINAL 11-9-23
  • Pays for visa fees
  • Access to specialized tax filing software
  • Access to support through the Graduate Student Assistance Fund
NEW Article - Expense Reimbursement FINAL 11-30-23
  • Governs expense reimbursement processes
  • Grants GE access to UO One Card for business travel
  • Sets an expectation that departments incur university-related expenses to avoid the need for GEs to be reimbursed
NEW Letter of Agreement - Equitable Housing FINAL 10-9-23
  • Forms a committee to produce findings and recommendations to improve equitable housing near all UO campuses
NEW Letter of Agreement - Tuition waiver and Oregon Paid Family and Medical Leave FINAL 11-30-23
  • Pilots maintaining tuition waivers for GEs to continue making academic progress while using Oregon Paid Family and Medical Leave
NEW Letter of Agreement - Funding Petition FINAL 1-15-24
  • Provides a petition process during academic year 2023-24 and 2024-25 for an award of up to one year of additional funding in the
    subsequent academic year for doctoral students who satisfy timing and eligibility requirements