Declaration 10.24

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Letter from the President:

Strike Date Declared: November 4th

Greetings,

 

Yesterday afternoon, we informed the University of Oregon and the Oregon Public Employment Relations Board of our intention to strike starting at 12:00am on Monday, November 4th if the administration fails to provide an offer that meets our members’ demands. Under Oregon state law, we are legally obligated to inform both the employer and the state ten days prior of our intent to strike.

Last week’s 95% strike authorization vote sent a loud and clear message to the University of Oregon administration: No Cuts to Healthcare and a Fair Contract Now! UO Administration's response has given us no choice: we're making good on our vote and the collective action we authorized. This means if we don’t have a deal before November 4, ALL GEs WILL STOP ALL GE WORK starting that day and continuing until a deal has been reached and the strike has been called off.

Our bargaining team continues to work toward a settlement, but things aren’t looking good. UO’s offer at last week’s mediation session continued to insist on dramatic cuts to insurance and imposed draconian cost-sharing when premium increases are over 4% (far below our 6-8% average premium increase). Some slight progress was made as both sides are willing to explore an option for increases to salaries if premium increases are below certain thresholds, but our team insists that the GTFF Health and Welfare Trust (composed of majority GTFF members) must have full power to make decisions regarding our plan and that the 95/5% premium split remain in place for premium increases up to 10%. In addition, the administration’s team made no movement on wages or support for international GEs. Our bargaining team will meet with the administration again tomorrow morning, but all signs point toward a strike being the only way to convince UO to back off from their demand to cut our insurance plan.

Ninety-five percent of us are ready to strike, and the administration knows this. It cannot just be a threat, however. We need to be ready to walk off the job and hit the picket line early on Monday the 4th, and this is a huge feat of coordination and organization. In anticipation of this, there will be a Strike Preparation GMM Wednesday, October 30, at 5:30pm in Lillis 182. This will be our time to coordinate picket shifts, answer questions about the strike, and get ourselves and our colleagues ready for the fight to win a fair contract! We are in this fight together, and our community allies have shown overwhelming support for the struggle ahead!
 

Late Pay Grievance: We Won!

As you know, this September, the University failed to pay up to 350 GEs on time. In response, we filed a Step 3 grievance as a union! We were looking to ensure that everyone gets paid, that everyone is made whole for any financial hardship suffered and that this problem does not happen again. Two grievance meetings and one meeting with HR and the Grad School later, we received the university’s response. We won on all fronts!

The University agreed to put together a program to ensure that anyone who incurred costs due to bounced checks or late fees is reimbursed up to a maximum of $200. This program is to be developed by today, October 25. If you were paid late, keep an eye out for instructions from the University on how to access this reimbursement! You will need receipts of your expenses.

Additionally, the University will write an “after-action report” to be shared with us due on December 1, which will detail why the problem occurred and the University’s plans to avoid the problem in the future.

If you have any questions, please email Alexis Kiessling at grievances@gtff.net.

I’m overwhelmed at all of our commitment to each other and solidarity against the administration’s unconscionable insistence on imposing a regressive contract.

I’ll see you all at next week’s GMM and on the picket line!
In Solidarity Forever,



Ellen Gillooly-Kress

President of the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation

To learn more about our bargaining efforts, visit our website.

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