Response to UO’s Bargaining Proposals

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Letter from the President:

This past Friday, we finally heard UO’s bargaining proposals to the GTFF. Their proposals shift money around from benefits like health insurance, sick days, and compensation for substitute teaching, and puts it into a so-called increase in “take-home pay.” UO claims that this results in a big pay raise for GEs, but we aren’t fooled! Their economic package will result in a net loss for all GEs, all the while eroding many of the hard-won benefits GEs currently enjoy and protection for the most vulnerable members of our community.

How UO thinks pay raises work.

Here are some of the ways that GEs lose under the university’s proposals:

  • Slash university contributions to our health insurance by changing from 95% of premium costs covered to a flat $1350 per GE every term (Article 24, Section 1b; Appendix E). This amount represents a $400 DECREASE from the $1700 UO currently pays per GE for health insurance on average. In the case of GEs with partners or family members on their insurance, this proposal nearly HALVES UO’s contribution, severely diminishing the kinds of care available to children and families.

  • Increase GEs’ student fees by changing from a flat $61 per term in fall, winter, and spring to 45% of all student fees (Article 23, Section 2). Not only will this dramatically increase the amount you pay every term back the to University, it also means that there is no limit on any future increases on student fees.

  • Increase the amount of Summer fees GEs pay from 65% to 100%, which represents hundreds of dollars more paid back to the university out of our salaries during the summer (Article 19, Section 6).

  • Remove compensation for prep work for Summer courses that are later canceled (Article 19, Section 4, paragraph 4).

  • Remove compensation for GEs who substitute for one another when sick (Article 29, Section 5).

  • Decrease the number of paid sick days GEs can accumulate and disallow new GEs from taking their sick leave immediately in their first term (Article 29, Section 8, Parts c and d).

The university claims that many of these increased costs to GEs will be funneled back into our “take-home pay.” What this really means is that the number written on our checks will be larger, but this new “salary” will simply be paid back to university in the form of massively increased student fees and health insurance costs. In other words, their proposals steal from one pocket to give to the other. When all is said and done, the university’s plan represents a net loss to GEs, even after their proposed 0.8-1.0% raise, which would not even cover the rate of inflation.

This is all part of a plan to make GE salaries look higher so that UO can appear “competitive” with its AAU peers. They want to achieve this appearance by tearing down the rights and benefits we’ve fought for over decades of negotiations and the work of GEs past and present.

We aren’t falling for it.

Your bargaining team remains committed to our R.A.I.S.E platform and aims to improve GE conditions, not maintain the status quo or simply move money around. We’re fighting for good healthcare, a living wageaffordable housingbetter trainingsafer working conditions, and protections for the most vulnerable members of our community. The University’s proposals indicate that their priorities lie elsewhere.

If you think this is a losing deal for GEs, make your voice heard!

Stand with your bargaining team at the next bargaining session!

If you can’t attend in person, tune in to our livestream and show your support on social media by tagging your posts with #GradsRAISEUO and #GTFF3544.

Let’s show up and show that we are united!

TL;DR:

Their plan would gut our health insurance, which is the product of decades’ worth of work by the GTFF, leaving us less able to cover GEs’ partners and families. Costs related to health insurance and student fees will only go up, and the “raise” in “take-home pay” is at best 1%, and would only diminish each year.

In Solidarity,

Mike Magee
President of the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation