Bargaining FAQs

Not in the know about this bargaining cycle? Confused about the terminology being thrown around? International GE and unsure about your workplace protections? Wondering how to talk to students and faculty about bargaining? Read through this list of frequently asked questions and get some answers!





  • What’s happened so far?

Teams exchanged proposals and met publically starting in November 2018. In April 2019 GTFF called for mediation and continued to bargain over the summer.

In September 2019, GTFF declared impasse, starting off a legal timeline for our next steps. On Thursday, October 3, teams exchanged “last best final” offers, but continued to negotiate. 

Between October 15 and 17, over 85% of the membership cast ballots in our strike authorization vote, and 1,044 members—over 95% of voters—voted to authorize the executive board to call a strike if necessary.  On October 24, we deemed it necessary, and declared our intent to strike on November 4 if a deal was not reached.

Thanks to this credible strike threat and our active and engaged membership, alongside incredible community, undergraduate, faculty, and staff allies, we reached a tentative agreement late October 29, five days before a potential strike and after nearly one year of negotiations. We successfully defended our quality, affordable health care coverage while achieving 3% raises for minimum salaries and 1.4% increases for all salaries. More details of this tentative agreement are forthcoming, and we will be holding a ratification vote in the next few weeks.





  • What are we asking for? What is the UO’s current counterproposal?
  GTFF ‘Last Best’ Offer UO ‘Last Best’ Offer
Wages 3.0% yearly raises to minimums all three years

1.5% minimum yearly increases to other salaries

2.5%, 2.75%, 3.0% raises to minimums

1.5% yearly increases to other salaries

Health Insurance Premium increases under 10%, costs shared 95 UO / 5 GTFF

Premium increases over 10% (marginal), costs shared 50 UO / 50 GTFF

Two options:

1) Flat rate

2) Low marginal increases with no UO support over 5%

Fees $61 academic year

$333 summer

$61 regular year

65% summer

Family Leave 6 weeks paid 6 weeks paid
Int’l GE Support Visa application and reapplication reimbursement N/A
Childcare $700 / year assistance up to 9 years old $700 / year assistance up to 7 years old
Summer Jobs One year pilot non-tuition-waiver summer jobs program with protections and clear sunset clause Non-tuition or fee remission summer jobs program with no protections or sunset clause

You can check out the the Bargaining Blog for more specifics regarding each of the GTFF’s proposals and a summary description of our RAISE platform. The Bargaining Blog has the proposals in their current state from the GTFF and from the UO.



  • What is “mediation”?

Mediation brings in a third-party mediator from the state Employment Relations Board (ERB) to facilitate bargaining between us and the UO administration.



  • What is “impasse”?

After 15 days of mediation, either side and/or the mediator can decide that no further progress toward settlement can be made through mediation. Declaring “impasse” calls a halt to bargaining and both sides have seven days to submit their “last best offer.” After this offer begins a 30-day “cooling-off” period.  At the end of that period, UO can impose its new contract and we, as GEs, can withhold our labor if we do not agree to that contract. This is where we are right now!



  • I’m an International GE. Can I participate in a strike?

Check out details about international GEs and union activity here. Long story short, international GE visas are based on your student status, not your employee status! You are an employee of the state of Oregon, and you have the right to take whatever legal action you find necessary in the course of that employment.



  • How Do I Talk to My Students about Bargaining?

Your undergrads can help support our efforts to put pressure on the university. Take a couple minutes before or after your class, lab, or discussion section to talk about bargaining and what they should know about the GTFF! Here are a few suggestions for starting that conversation.

  • You are definitely allowed to talk about the union and our bargaining efforts to your undergrads (so long as it isn’t during work time)! As long as your sharing of union information doesn’t distract from your class, you are in the clear. Be careful though about doing this during class time, since that could be grounds for discipline if you’re using work time to talk union with students – to be safe, do this before or after class time.
  • Wear your union gear! Your t-shirt, your buttons, your beanie—whatever you have. The more represented the GTFF is in your apparel, the more likely students are to ask you about it—an easy way to start that conversation.
    • If they really like your swag, the GTFF office has some buttons specifically designed for undergrad allies—share those with your invested students!
  • The university will likely try to frame this as a question of tuition increases, trying to pit your undergrads against us (the “greedy grad students”). Let your students know that we’re simply asking for a living wage and health care and remind them that all university administrator and faculty salaries are available to the public. Share with them what a typical (and very busy!) day looks like for you!
  • If your undergrads want to know how they can help, great! You can encourage them to:
    • Post on social media using the #GradsRAISEUO and #thankyourGE hashtags
    • Write “Letters to the Editor” of the Daily Emerald and other local publications in support of GEs
    • Roll out to GTFF informational pickets, work-ins, and other public GTFF events



  • How Do I Talk to Faculty about Bargaining?

Faculty can be another great resource for solidarity and support as we put pressure on the university. Here are a few suggestions and caveats about starting that conversation.

  • GE labor helps faculty and instruction overall. They know this, you know this—make it clear that GES are asking to be treated as the employees (junior colleagues) that we are!
  • The faculty union (UAUO) starts bargaining this year, and they may face a similar situation—let them know that GTFF stands in solidarity with them!
  • Department heads are considered “managers,” and shouldn’t discuss bargaining with you because they can be seen as representatives of the university. Other folks? Chat with them!
  • If faculty want to know how they can help, great! You can encourage them to:
    • Communicate with other faculty and administrators on campus in support of GE bargaining
    • Write letters to the editor of local newspapers in support of GE bargaining
    • Post on social media using the #GradsRAISEUO and #thankyourGE hashtags
    • Roll out to GTFF informational pickets, work-ins, and other public GTFF events
Want to print this out? Use the document linked here:
Bargaining FAQs