The Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation and University of Oregon Administration reached a tentative agreement on Tuesday following 14 hours of negotiations.
“We’re feeling good in the sense that we’re feeling a sense of relief. It was a long process and yesterday was 14 hours of negotiations. To have a tentative agreement is a big relief, but it still needs to be voted on by members.” Rajeev Ravisankar, GTFF Vice President for External Relations, said.
The tentative agreement will be voted on by GTFF members within two-weeks.
An update from UO Human Resources said that the tentative agreement includes salary increases to keep up with the cost of living in Eugene and maintains health care premiums for Graduate Employees.
GTFF and UO Administration have been negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement since November, 2018.
“We won significant gains in terms of 6 hours paid training, and greater role in curriculum development.” Ravisankar said.
Other changes include paid parental leave, increased child care assistance, protections for international GEs from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, protections against harassment and bullying in the workplace, and provisions to hire GEs for certain summer positions without a tuition waiver.
Having a credible strike threat was important in reaching the tentative agreement, Ravisankar said. According to Ravisankar, 86% of the GTFF members voted and 95% of the voting members approved a strike, which was scheduled to start on Nov. 4.
“I am incredibly grateful to the members of the university’s and GTFF’s bargaining teams for their many hours of work to reach a tentative agreement,” said Mark Schmelz, chief human resources officer and associate vice president, to AroundtheO.
The GTFF is committed to continuing their fight for a democratic institution that represents the graduate and undergraduate students, staff, and faculty, Ravisankar said
“We’d really like to articulate this vision that we’re all in it together and UO admin has an agenda that deprioritizes and devalues us and we are going to be working on that going forward.” Ravisankar said.