In the cooling-off period, things are heating up!

We need all hands on deck to build a credible strike threat.

Photo of a large crowd gathered in a tiered lecture hall, standing close together and raising fists. People in the front row are holding a banner with the GTFF logo and text that reads, "Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation, American Federation of Teachers, Local 3544. UO works because we do!"
Over 250 members in person and online attended our General Membership Meeting on October 27, 2023, for the launch of the Strike Authorization Vote.

A lot has happened since our last email update! To summarize:

  1. We filed our Last Best Offer (LBO) on Thursday, October 26.
  2. We launched our Strike Authorization Vote on Friday, October 27.
  3. We had an abbreviated mediation session with UO on Monday, October 30.

With so much happening, we understand that keeping up with all of these updates can be challenging. So, you might notice less detailed explanations of specific proposals and/or events. You can still find all of the latest proposals on our Trello board, and we’ll be sure to add links to additional information throughout the newsletter. But now that we’ve entered a new phase of the bargaining process, it’s more important than ever that we’re all on the same page—so our goal is to minimize information overload, while making sure you can still find the information you need.

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. LBOs are a formality within the legal negotiation process that we have to file before we can move onto the next big step of the negotiation process (i.e., UO imposes their contract or we strike). In theory, either party could give a LBO and not move at all in the negotiation sessions that follow. However, in practice, there’s an understanding that within the 30-day cooling off period, there’s some space for both sides to figure out where an agreement can be made. You can read our offer and UO’s offer on our Trello board. 
  1. About that next big step: We’ve launched a Strike Authorization Vote. Ballots were sent to members’ UO emails on Friday, October 27, and voting will be open until 5pm this Friday, November 3. As a reminder, a strike authorization vote doesn’t immediately trigger a strike—instead, it empowers the bargaining team to declare an intent to strike. We’re asking you to vote yes so that we can be ready, if and when we decide as a union that a strike is necessary.
  1. During our mediation session on Monday, October 30, we presented a counter proposal for salary in response to the offer UO put forward in their LBO. The latest numbers are included in the table below. (As always, you can find full proposals on our Trello board.)

GTFF Mediation Proposal (Oct. 30)UO LBO Proposal (Oct. 26)
Raises to salaries across the board:Raises to minimum salaries:Raises to salaries across the board:Raises to minimum salaries:

(If you want to see what these proposed raises would mean for your paycheck, our data team has created a salary calculator! As both sides continue to negotiate, you can use the “Custom Proposal” column to test the newest numbers. Check it out here.)

It is a big deal that UO is committed to offering at least 10% raises to the minimum, and it shows that the pressure we’ve all been putting on them is working. However, this is not enough, UO has more to give, and we need to keep fighting to get the salaries we deserve.

So what happens next? We keep fighting.

As our cooling-off period continues, we have two more mediation sessions scheduled with UO’s team, on November 9 and November 20. Depending on the availability of our state mediator and our teams, we may add more dates.

Meanwhile, we need members to keep up the pressure and back up our demands at the table with a credible strike threat. To do this:

  • This week: ask every GE you know to vote YES on the Strike Authorization Vote.
  • Attend department meetings organized by your stewards (or organize them yourself!).
  • Join the Mutual Aid Committee (meeting Tuesdays from 12-1pm in the GTFF office and on Zoom) to plan how we’ll take care of each other in the event of a strike.
  • Get familiar with our new Strike FAQs document so that you’ll have the knowledge to support yourself and your colleagues. 
  • Share our Strike Fund with people you know who may be able to donate. 

Above all, continue building connections with fellow GEs. These connections are what will keep us strong, united, and prepared for whatever comes our way!