Big Wins and Important Moves in Monday’s Mediation Session

Photo of 10 people seated around tables arranged in a large rectangle inside a conference room.
Members of the GTFF bargaining team before our mediation session on October 9, 2023.

We made significant progress during our second (12+ hour!) mediation session with UO on October 9. After months of holding on to our Caregiving Support and International GE Support articles, the administration’s team brought them back to the table—and though their offers were underwhelming (they struck most of our proposals), it meant that we could finally have more holistic and informed discussions about our financial priorities.

As we move deeper into the negotiation process, you’ll notice that we and UO are offering some of our proposals as packages. For example, during this last mediation session, we made a salary offer (see chart below) that was contingent upon certain proposed language in the Caregiver and International GE articles. In order for these proposals to be accepted, both parties have to agree on the package as it’s presented rather than what the proposals were in each of the separate articles. As a reminder, all of these proposals—packaged or not—are mediation proposals, and can look different from the “last best offers” given at the end of mediation.

Here’s where the salary numbers stood at the end of the day:

GTFF Proposal (Oct. 9)UO Proposal (Oct. 9)
Raises to salaries across the board:Raises to minimum salaries:Raises to salaries across the board:Raises to minimum salaries:

As you can see, there’s still quite a bit of distance between our offers, but the increasing pressure you’ve applied outside of the bargaining sessions has made this progress happen! On that note, we want to send a big thank-you to all the members who turned out for our work-in on Monday in the EMU. You reminded UO that GEs—and the rest of the campus community—are watching!

Photo of a crowded cafeteria space with people seated at tables and working on laptops. Many of the people are wearing GTFF shirts. Some signs with GTFF logos are also visible.
GTFF members work-in at the EMU on October 9, 2023.

Here’s what else happened:

  • Good news: We’ve reached a TA (tentative agreement) on Article 8, Nondiscrimination & Anti-Harassment! Here are a few of the improvements we’ve won:
    • Caste has been added as a protected category.
    • When requested by the GE, the university will update any current employment documentation to reflect a change in name or gender in university information systems and office name placards.
    • Supervisors’ persistent refusal or failure to respect a GE’s reported name, gender identity, pronouns, and honorifics is now prohibited and understood as discrimination and/or harassment under section 1 of this article.
  • Good news: UO has agreed to language that will create more clarity in Notice of Appointment (NOA) letters. The letters will now include information such as: monthly gross income (can you believe this wasn’t included before?!); definition of FTE; estimated costs of our insurance plan and any mandatory fees. Unfortunately, UO has not yet agreed to language that protects GE’s guaranteed years of funding if they secure additional funding from other departments. 
  • Meanwhile, a lot is still in flux with the international GE and caregiver articles! However, one positive note is that UO has indicated openness to covering international GEs’ visa fees—something that was a sticking point in the last bargaining cycle. We’ll keep you posted as we continue to negotiate, and you’ll find all the most recent proposal details on Trello.

What happens next?

We’re having an abbreviated session with UO’s team on October 16 to exchange general information and potentially pass proposals to prepare for our regularly scheduled mediation session on October 24. There won’t be any caucus time taken during this abbreviated session to work on proposals. However, you’ll see any proposals we do present or receive on our Trello board.

As we mentioned in our last update, the next step after mediation is impasse, which either team could declare after 15 days of mediation. There’s more about this process in our bargaining FAQ. 

In the meantime, you might see fellow GEs posting strike pledges around your department this week! Signing a strike pledge is an agreement to exercise your legal right—which all GEs have!—to withhold labor as a part of a collective strike, if we decide through a democratic process that it’s necessary to do so. These pledges give us the chance to have important conversations, member to member, about what we are willing to do as a collective to win what we need. If you’re ready to sign, reach out to your department steward, or come by our office at 609 E 13th Ave to pick up your pledge. 

October 12, 2023: This post has been updated to include a paragraph on the October 16 abbreviated session, which was omitted from the original post due to a production error.