Give UO Graduate Employees a Fair Contract

Michael Schill, President, University of Oregon & The University of Oregon Board of Trustees

Over the last ten months, the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (GTFF), AFT Local 3544, has bargained in good faith with the University of Oregon administration while striving to move toward a living wage, to maintain coverage of health insurance costs, and to make gains in terms of summer funding, support for international students, parental leave, and childcare subsidies. The university is proving reluctant to provide these simple things to graduate employees, despite the fact that graduate employee working conditions are student learning conditions.

GTFF represents over 1,400 graduate employees at the University of Oregon. These graduate employees teach vast numbers of undergraduates and conduct scholarly work that is vital to maintaining UO’s reputation as a top-tier research institution. They are an integral part of the community and play a crucial role in the fulfillment of the University of Oregon’s mission, vision, and values. We’re fighting to reach a fair contract that values the work of graduate employees and respects our important contributions to the university as educators and researchers.

Serious issues remain outstanding in negotiations that have now reached impasse, particularly continued access to quality, affordable health care coverage. The university’s current bargaining position, which seeks to restructure health care benefits and would force graduate employees to take on greater costs, represents a move backwards at a time when the university should be striving to expand health care access.

The University of Oregon’s continued success requires reaching an agreement that includes a fair wage increase to help graduate employees move toward a livable wage, additional support for international students, and provisions for parental leave and childcare, without rolling back the quality and affordability of graduate employees’ health care or increasing graduate student fees.

The critical work of graduate employees contributes to making the University of Oregon one of the preeminent educational institutions in the country. The University of Oregon is in a position to agree to a contract that sets the standard for how graduate employees are valued and supported by their institution, and we encourage the university to take advantage of this opportunity.

As of October 18, over 1,000 GEs have voted to authorize GTFF's executive board to call a strike if an agreement is not reached by the end of our cooling off period, November 3. We remain committed to negotiations, and hope UO administration will take every opportunity to settle a fair contract with us.

Please support our bargaining efforts!  Sign this petition to show UO's administration how important it is to value the contributions that graduate employees make to the university's educational and research missions.


To: Michael Schill, President, University of Oregon & The University of Oregon Board of Trustees
From: [Your Name]

I write to you regarding the ongoing negotiations between the University of Oregon and the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (GTFF), AFT Local 3544. Graduate employees teach vast numbers of undergraduates and conduct scholarly work that is vital to maintaining UO’s reputation as a top-tier research institution. They are an integral part of the community and play a crucial role in the fulfillment of the University of Oregon’s mission, vision, and values. I urge you to reach a fair contract that values the work of graduate employees and respects their important contributions to the university as educators and researchers.

Like many in the community, I take seriously the issues that remain outstanding in negotiations, particularly continued access to quality, affordable health care coverage. The university’s current bargaining position, which seeks to restructure health care benefits and would force graduate employees to take on greater costs, represents a move backwards at a time when the university should be striving to expand health care access.

The University of Oregon’s continued success requires reaching an agreement that includes a fair wage increase to help graduate employees move toward a livable wage, additional support for international students, and provisions for parental leave and childcare, without rolling back the quality and affordability of graduate employees’ health care or increasing graduate student fees.

The critical work of graduate employees contributes to making the University of Oregon one of the preeminent educational institutions in the country. The University of Oregon is in a position to agree to a contract that sets the standard for how graduate employees are valued and supported by their institution.

I am hopeful that you will take advantage of this opportunity and settle a fair contract with the GTFF. I look forward to seeing a successful outcome soon.