Acting Provost Frances Bronet has shared a negotiations update with campus about on-going discussions with the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation. After many hours of mediation prior to the Thanksgiving break, the bargaining teams will meet again Monday at 8 a.m. This is expected to be the final mediation session before a strike may begin on Tuesday, Dec. 2.
The UO introduced a new proposal — a financial hardship fund — to address concerns raised by the GTFF about GTFs who face financial pressure due to medical emergencies or the birth or adoption of a child.
“The university’s proposal directly addresses the initial concerns voiced in negotiations,” Bronet said.
The UO proposed a continuing $150,000 per year financial hardship fund for all graduate students, both GTFs and graduate students who do not work as teaching fellows. The fund, which would be administered through the Graduate School, would permit graduate students to apply for grants of up to $1,000 for medical emergencies and $1,500 for needed financial support related to the birth or adoption of a child.
Establishment of a hardship fund is the latest addition to the university’s offer that also includes:
- A 9 percent pay increase, over two years (once fully implemented, salaries per hour would be $20.69 for level 1; $23.38 for level 2; and $24.69 for level 3 GTFs);
- Full tuition waivers;
- Significantly reduced fees (a GTF pays only $61 per term); and
- Full health, vision and dental coverage for all GTFs, their partners and children, with the university paying 95 percent of the premium.
“The university is hopeful that the GTFF will recognize the value of the complete package for our GTFs and their families so we can all avoid a strike,” Bronet said.
The university has proposed putting language directly into the collective bargaining agreement guaranteeing the existence and amount of the new fund, as well as ensuring GTFs access to the program using the same criteria that would apply to all graduate students.
“The university strongly believes that standard criteria for hardship funds, including a student’s overall financial circumstances such as a loss of income, should apply to all graduate students equally,” Bronet said.
If a strike occurs, campus activities are expected to continue to meet the needs of students during dead and finals weeks.
The academic continuity plan provides faculty with options on how to best administer finals and enter grades for students. Faculty will make decisions regarding specific approaches in order to best meet the needs of their classes and students.
For more information and frequently asked questions, visit http://provost.uoregon.edu/gtff-negotiation.
—By Julie Brown, Public Affairs Communications