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GTFF 3544 Newsletter

Upcoming Events ~ News

Welcome (back) to campus and to another year with the GTFF!

This is a special year for our union. Forty years ago in 1978 a number of courageous graduate employees decided to band together and fight for a collective bargaining agreement with the University of Oregon. In the decades since, generations of graduate employees built on that original success to give us a robust contract that grants us our amazing health insurance, workplace protections, and sizable salary increases year-to-year. Graduate employees will see a number of improvements to their working lives this year that are a direct result of these union actions, including:
  • A 3.7% raise
  • Reduction in the health insurance deductible to $100
  • 36 massages a year on our insurance plan (an increase of 30 from last year)
  • An improved process for international students who waive the UO student insurance
We cannot rest on our laurels, however. This year we return to the bargaining table with the University of Oregon administration to renegotiate our collective bargaining agreement. Bargaining is an amazing opportunity to fight for things we all care about, such as a real living wage, affordable housing, and ending discrimination and harassment in the workplace and our community. Bargaining is not a fight any one individual or small group can win. Your colleagues and coworkers need your help if we’re going to achieve a strong contract that reflects the interests of our membership. In light of this, I draw your attention to two concrete things you can do to help us win the best contract possible:
  • First, please fill out a bargaining survey. This survey will help our bargaining team decide what to fight for and what to prioritize.
  • Second, come to the Bargaining General Membership Meeting on October 19, 6:00pm in Lawrence Hall 115. This is your chance to work alongside your colleagues to collectively decide our bargaining priorities and vote on your bargaining team.
I look forward to seeing you all at the Bargaining GMM and working alongside you as the year progresses. Together I know we will achieve a phenomenal contract and continue to build one of the strongest graduate employee locals in the country!
In solidarity,
Mike Magee, GTFF President

Upcoming Events

Keep an eye out for events through email or on our Facebook page!
  • Bargaining Committee Meetings
    Want to play a direct role in bargaining this year? Nominate yourself or someone you know to be on the Bargaining Committee! This is the group who will sit at the table with the University and write contract proposals over the next year. Nominations end October 15th. If you're interested, contact Mike Magee.

    - Days: Mondays
    - Time: 5:30pm
    - Location: GTFF Office (609 E. 13th St.)

    - Contact: Mike Magee (president@uoregon.edu)
  • Environmental Justice Caucus Meeting
    Come join us for a pitcher of beer on the caucus, some pizza, and a discussion of where the caucus is headed this term! We'll be planning service trips, talking about canvassing with Beyond Toxics in West Eugene, and deciding on a date for a tentative film screening.
    - Date: Monday, October 8 (Week 3) 
    - Time: 5:30pm
    - Location: Pegasus Pizza (790 E. 14th Ave.)
    - Contact: Nicholas Theis and Sam Ault (ejgtff@gmail.com)

  • E-Council Meeting
    All Stewards, Caucus Chairs, and other union leaders are invited to the first Executive Council (E-Council) Meeting of the year! Snacks and drinks provided.
    Does your department not have a steward? Are you interested in becoming a union leader? Contact Nikki Cox and come to this meeting!

    Date: Wednesday, October 10 (Week 3)
    - Time: 5:30pm - 7:30pm
    - Location: GTFF Office 
    (609 E. 13th St.)
    - Contact: Nikki Cox (organizing@gtff.net)
  • COPE Meeting
    The Committee on Political Education (COPE) is meeting for the first time this year to discuss union actions, impacts of ballot measures on unions and graduate employees, and conversations about any political issues brought by the membership.

    - Date: Thursday, October 11 (Week 3)
    - Time: 3:00pm - 4:00pm
    - Location: GTFF Office (609 E. 13th St.)
    - Contact: Malori Musselman (politicaled@gtff.net)

  • International GE Caucus Picnic
    GEs and their families are invited to a potluck picnic to celebrate the fellowship and diversity of the GTFF. This event is open to international and American GEs alike. Please feel free to bring a traditional dish from your home country to share! Some food and beverages will be provided, so please RSVP by email or on
    - Date: Saturday, October 13 (Week 3)
    - Time: 1:00pm - 4:00pm
    - Location: University Park (2300 University St.)
    - Contact: Sanan Moradi (snn.moradi@gmail.com)

  • Bargaining General Membership Meeting
    Do you care about Health insurance? Wage increases? Worker protections? Join us at the Bargaining GMM! Set your bargaining priorities! Vote on your bargaining team! Organize and win! Food and drinks provided. After-party at McMenamins on 19th.
    - Date: Friday, October 19 (Week 4)
    - Time: 5:30pm - 8:30pm
    - Location: Lawrence Hall, 115
    - Contact: Ellen Gillooly-Kress (operations@gtff.net)


Since Last Time

Union Members have participated in the following events during the first weeks of the term:
  • Notice of Intent to Bargain
    In order to renegotiate our contract with the university, GTFF leaders filed a Notice of Intent to Bargain on September 30. See below for more information about bargaining!

  • AFT-OR Special Convention
    Delegates from the GTFF won a percentage-based system from our parent union which saves us about $4,000 per month! 

  • Orientation Events
    We enjoyed meeting so many new GEs! If you missed us at the universitywide GE orientation, departmental events, our BBQ, or our social hour, consider coming to one of our upcoming events! We would love to have your input at our Bargaining GMM (see above)!

  • Fall General Membership Meeting
    See below for more information!
Know Your Contract
According to our Collective Bargaining Agreement, Article 29, Section 8, all GEs have access to sick leave, which is accrued each term worked and may be banked over time: 
  • Accrual: GEs accrue two (2) work days of paid sick leave for every term of paid GE work. During their first appointment in any school year, each GE shall also accrue one (1) additional sick day. There shall be no waiting period before sick leave begins to accrue. Actual time worked and any time on approved paid leave shall determine the pro rata accrual of sick leave credits each month. All accumulated paid sick days can be utilized during any term of employment.

  • Bank, Compensation: GEs can accrue a maximum of ten (10) work days of sick leave. There is no compensation for unused sick leave at any time during or after employment and hours do not transfer to non-GE positions or other institutions. When a GE uses sick leave they will be compensated at their current rate of pay. GEs cannot donate sick leave to other employees, and leave cannot be donated to GEs.

The rights and privileges of GEs at UO are fought for and won through bargaining! In order to best represent our members, we need input from everyone, including you! 

Bargaining Survey!

This year is a bargaining year! Every three years, we re-negotiate our contract with the university. Our contract outlines compensation, benefits, and requirements for work assignments and workplace safety. In past bargaining cycles, we have achieved for all GEs: higher pay, better health insurance, family leave, diversity training requirements, and much more.
Please fill out a quick survey about your priorities as a worker and as a student here at University of Oregon. This is your chance to participate in the process of setting our bargaining priorities for the upcoming bargaining cycle. 

Voter Registration

Many states have changed their laws related to voter registration. Do you know if you're registered to vote? You can check using the tools on
RocktheVote.org or Vote.org

If you are eligible and you have not yet
 registered to vote, please do so by October 16, 2018.

Oregon is an entirely vote-by-mail state. This means that you will need a stamp for your ballot or to drop it at a ballot box. Find your ballot box
here. Ballots must be received by November 6, 2018.  


Your Guide to the 2018 Oregon Ballot Measures

There will likely be five ballot measures on the November ballot—dealing with housing affordability, sales taxes, state budgets and revenue bills, sanctuary state status, and public funding for abortion.

  • Measure 102: “Allow Municipal Bonds for Affordable Housing Amendment”
    This ballot measure is intended to allow cities (primarily Portland) and counties to vote to use bond revenues to pay for privately owned affordable housing. Currently, local bonds are not allowed to be used to pay private companies. This is a legislative referral which means that the legislature approved this to go to a vote on the November ballot and is primarily supported by the Portland City government. It is meant to serve affordable housing needs in Clackamas, Washington, and Multnomah counties. Our parent unions support this measure.

  • Measure 103: “Ban Tax on Groceries Initiative”
    This ballot measure is intended to amend the Oregon constitution to prevent any city or local taxes on the sale of and corporate distribution of groceries (defined as any raw or processed food or beverages intended for human consumption with the exceptions of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana). This particular initiative cuts two ways: The measure is mainly supported by grocery lobbies which pose that supporting the measure will prevent regressive taxes on basic necessities which most impact financially vulnerable and food insecure households. Supporting the measure, however, may also allow grocery corporations to avoid paying taxes on the sale and distribution of groceries in the state of Oregon (which is a much more substantial tax revenue).  Our parent unions oppose this measure.
  • Measure 104: “Definition of Raising Revenue for Three-Fifths Vote Requirement Initiative”
    This ballot measure is intended to amend the Oregon constitution to require a three-fifths supermajority vote for any legislation that increases revenue through changes in tax exemptions, credits, or deductions. This measure is primarily supported by business coalitions and may make it much harder for the legislature to eliminate evident tax loopholes. Our parent unions oppose this measure.

  • Measure 105: “Repeal Sanctuary State Law Initiative” (formerly Initiative Petition 22)
    This ballot measure is intended to repeal the state’s 1987 sanctuary law (Oregon Revised Statute 181A.820) which currently limits cooperation between local and federal law enforcement and ensures that local law enforcement focus on local issues. This measure is supported by anti-immigrant committees formed within the last year. Our parent unions oppose this measure.
  • Measure 106: “Oregon Ban Public Funds for Abortions Initiative”
    This ballot measure is intended to amend the Oregon constitution to reduce access to abortion by eliminating the use of publicly funded healthcare plans (used by public employees and Medicaid recipients) if those insurance plans cover abortion. Currently, locals bargain for their healthcare coverage options and the constitution allows for the use of state-funded healthcare plans to be used for abortion when the procedure is approved by medical professional. Our parent unions oppose this measure.

Fall GMM

Over 140 GEs joined us at the first General Membership Meeting (GMM) this year! 
  1. We met our Executive Board Officers!
  2. We learned about our new health insurance plan through Regence BlueCross/BlueShield. Here are some highlights:
    • We are the only GE union in the US and Canada that owns its own insurance plan
    • Our Health and Welfare Trust got us a cheaper plan with better benefits
    • Medical rates decreased
    • Deductible went down from $200 to $100 per person
    • Per-person out-of-pocket maximums are $2,200 for in-network providers and $3,300 for out-of-network providers
    • Mental health services have no deductible
    • Per-person massages have increased from 6 to 36 visits
    • Vision insurance is available in addition to medical, dental, and life insurances
    • Insurance cards are on their way
    • You can still sign up, but there is a late fee after October 2
    • International students need to sign a waiver to get out of UO insurance (which is 10 times the cost of ours) and get on our insurance
    • For any questions, contact Glenn at benefits@gtff.net or (541) 344-0832
  3. We learned about the bargaining process we'll be going through this year:
    • Every 3 years, we are legally obligated to renegotiate our Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the University
    • The CBA is the contract that regulates our working conditions as employees at the UO; everythig we get comes from our contract, from decades of GEs fighting to get us better conditions
    • A few of the aspects we've negotiated for include wages, health insurance, paid sick leave, grievance procedures, and cultural competency trainings
    • In addition to getting new benefits, we must protect what we already have; we know UO will come hard after wages and health insurance in particular
    • We sent a "notice of intent to bargain" at the end of September and plan to start bargaining in early November
    • The ideal outcome is a "tentative agreement," where both bargaining teams say that they find the draft of the CBA acceptable
    • At another GMM (probably in Spring), the membership will vote on whether to approve or reject the draft CBA
    • You can get involved now:
    • Our goal is to have every GE participate in bargaining in some way!
  4. We learned about GTFF's 40th Anniversary Celebration
    • There will be speakers, rallies, and other events November 9-11
    • Members from the first year of GTFF will be there, in addition to representatives from AFT, AFL-CIO, SEIU, and other grad labor unions
    • More information can be found on the 40th Anniversary website
    • To help with planning, contact the 40th Anniversary committee (gtff40years@gmail.com)
    • To register for events, please RSVP here

News on Dues

As part of the election in Spring 2018, members voted to change the union bylaws to adjust member dues if the Supreme Court sided with Janus in the above-mentioned court case. The change in bylaws was originally proposed so that existing members could help cover any revenue shortfall, due to the fact that we can no longer collect dues from non-members (formerly "fair-sharers").

These changes may have increased your member dues by 0.1-0.2% from the previous academic year. The dues rate depends on the amount a member makes per month:

≤ $1,110.99 2.1% ≤ $23.33
$1,111.00 — $1,944.99 2.2% $24.44 — $42.79
≥ $1,945.00 2.3% ≥ $44.79

For more information, please speak to our Staff Organizer, Michael Marchman, or visit our website.

News on Benefits

Our VP for External Relations, Andrew "Al" Lebovitz, has been hard at work to gain new benefits for union membership! In addition to the benefits we had before, we now enjoy
  • $1 off each panini and pint on Mondays at Bier Stein
  • $1 off each visit to all locations of Falling Sky
Have an idea for other local benefits? Contact Al at external.relations@gtff.net.

Did you know...

that 2018 marks GTFF's 40th year of fighting for GEs at the UofO?
Keep an eye out for news about events, and check out the 40th Anniversary website.

Register for the event using the form below: 

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