Mediation Statement 10.26

Letter from the President:

Bargaining Breakthrough

A joint statement from both sides of the bargaining table regarding mediation:

“We had the most productive meeting that we have ever had while bargaining late into the evening. Both sides heard each other’s interests, and the biggest point of difference, health insurance, has been tentatively resolved pending agreement on a full package. GTFF and UO’s teams hope to complete work on the agreement when we meet again on Tuesday.”

Peter Fehrs

Mike Magee

Missy Matella

Michael Marchman

Late last night, we made a major breakthrough in negotiations--UO’s team withdrew their demands to cut our health insurance. This is the moment I want to be completely transparent with you. The good news is we are winning this battle. We have turned the tide in these contract negotiations with our concerted and very real threat of a strike. The university has agreed to our demands on health care only because of the organizing work of each and every one of you. We would not be where we are now in negotiations without an overwhelmingly positive strike authorization vote and our notice of intent to strike. We are here because of the power of coming together. 

Because of you, we have been able to secure our last best final offer on health insurance, which retains the 95/5% premium split for yearly increases under 10% and provides for 50/50 marginal cost sharing on increases over 10%, plus an incentive that kicks in during years where we receive a low renewal rate. While under no obligation to achieve this feat, if our Health and Welfare Trust renews our insurance with premium increases below 5%, 50 cents on every dollar the university saves from this low renewal year will be put into raising minimum salaries permanently. The university has also conceded regarding year-on-year calculations for the base of their contributions to health care to prevent long-term erosion of the plan and reductions to UO's contribution. 


We’re not there yet, however, and the bargaining team and I want to tell you why we still haven’t reached a deal. There are still two outstanding economic asks: The university is still offering 2.6%, 2.85%, and 3.0% increases to the minimum salary. The university is also only offering $50 for visa reimbursement, instead of offering to cover the entire cost of a visa. These issues are still important to us as a bargaining committee, as they are to you, our fellow members, and we are trying every avenue possible to fulfill our promises of defending our health care, fighting for international GEs, and keeping wages up with inflation. We still need your organizing energy to finish bargaining this contract!


We will be seeking input on our current bargaining status at an Executive Council meeting on Monday, October 28 at 5:30pm. If you have questions, comments, or concerns, let your steward know and ask them to bring it to this meeting! We will also still be holding a GMM at 5:30pm on October 30th in Lillis 182.

We hope to reach an overall agreement soon, and we’re heartened by the university’s willingness to move on health care. I cannot stress enough that this movement from the university yesterday was thanks to our collective action. It is thanks to our organizing efforts that the university finally acknowledged after almost a year of bargaining just how indispensable health care is to the important work we do as teachers, researchers, and learners on this campus!


We’ve got a little further to go, but a real agreement seems in the cards! Thank you so much for all your hard work and energy that’s got us to this point. Together, we’re going to achieve a fair contract for GEs, and while it’s been a long time coming, there’s no group better to continue to fight for the contract we need and deserve. Let’s keep up the energy and excitement!

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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