GTFF Bargaining Update – August

The GTFF and the University of Oregon will return to contract bargaining this Thursday (August 21st) with the assistance of a mediator from the Oregon Employment Relations Board. We hope this will allow the two sides to come to an agreement before the new academic year begins.


One member of the GTFF’s bargaining has recently had a piece on our desire for parental leave published in the Register Guard. It is a wonderful read and the GTFF thanks Jon for speaking up for GTFs.

Jon makes reference to President Coltrane’s visit to the White House, which you can read about from Around the O. Around the O also revealed that

Coltrane believes paid paternity leave is better for men, women and children and that more significant steps need to be taken toward paid leave for both parents.

in a piece this week about President Coltrane being interviewed by NPR about parental leave. President Coltrane’s predecessor understood the importance of paid parental leave at least a little as he announced parental leave for unrepresented faculty and OAs before he stepped down. Another President, Mr. Obama, also has spoken to the importance of parental leave in recent months.

In June, Vitae, a section of The Chronicle of Higher Education ran a series on “pregnancy, motherhood, and the academy”. In these articles, four women reflect on their experience with balancing a life in academia and having or raising children. The whole series is fantastic, but I’ll highlight one segment from the second of the four articles, by Rachel Leventhal-Weiner:

When you find that you have no actual paid leave, either because your department won’t honor the policy or because you can’t afford to take unpaid leave, it’s time to make some difficult decisions. I’ve watched many graduate student colleagues drag themselves (and sometimes their breast pumps) back to the classroom earlier than they’d prefer, just to keep their stipends and their health benefits. And I’ve seen many others cobble together classroom coverage from their graduate-student peers for a few meager weeks. In these arrangements, everyone loses: The students get a half-dedicated instructor and the families get a half-dedicated parent.

We hope President Coltrane takes note of these voices: the graduate students who struggle without paid leave, President Obama’s, his own. We encourage him to be the one to take significant steps toward paid leave for both parents. We’ve heard he’d like that.