Winter 2019 Week 10 Newsletter

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GTFF 3544 Newsletter

Upcoming Events ~ News

Lots of Updates

Be sure to read to the bottom!

Upcoming Events

Keep an eye out for events through email, on our Facebook page, and on our calendar!

  • Seventh Bargaining Session
    We expect to hear some money talk!! Let's show up to witness what the university thinks will be an appropriate response to our economic proposals(People are welcome to come and go as needed. Can't make it in person? Tune in to our livestream and show your support on social media by tagging your posts with #GradsRAISEUO and #UOworksbecausewedo!) For more information, visit the event's Facebook page.
    - Date: Friday, 3/1 (Week 8)
    - Time: 11:00am - 3:00pm
    - Location: 221 McKenzie Hall

    Contact: Mike Magee (


  • Bargaining Committee Meetings
    This is the group who will sit at the table with the University and write contract proposals over the next year.
    Days: Mondays
    Time: 5:30pm
    Location: GTFF Office (609 E. 13th Ave.)
    Contact: Mike Magee (
  • Emergency Stewards Meeting
    We will be discussing critical organizing in our bargaining campaign. Steward attendance is REQUIRED, all interested members are welcome. If stewards cannot attend, please ask another member to attend the meeting in your place. Please invite other stewards and interested members!
    Day: Thursday, 3/14
    Time: 5:30pm - 7:30pm
    Location: GTFF Office (609 E. 13th Ave.) []
    Contact: Nikki Cox (

  • AFL-CIO Lobby Day
    The power of Oregon’s union movement is the diversity of our membership, the strength of our solidarity, and the sound of our unified voices. When members of different unions meet with lawmakers to advocate for a wide range of issues we will make a substantial difference and can help pass the laws our state’s workers need to prosper. Don’t worry if you’ve never participated in a lobby day before – AFL-CIO staff are experienced in legislative advocacy and will provide training before the meetings and be there to help guide the conversation when you sit down with lawmakers. Light breakfast and lunch will be provided. Please RSVP:
    Day: Tuesday, 3/19
    Time: 9:00am - 4:00pm
    Location: The MICAH Building (600 State St. Salem, OR)
    Contact: Michael Marchman (
  • Portland Troublemakers School
    Join union members, labor activists, and community organizers for a day of skill-building and strategy discussions to create a stronger workers’ movement. There will be workshops on Secrets of a Successful Organizer, contract campaigns, building labor-community alliances, winning strikes, defending our unions, new worker organizing, and lots more! Registration is $10 and includes a light breakfast, coffee, lunch, and workshop materials. Childcare stipends, transportation, and Spanish translation available. Register here:
    Day: Saturday, 4/6
    Time: 9:00am - 4:00pm
    Location: Pacific NW Carpenters Institute (4222 NE 158th Ave. Portland, OR)

    Contact: Ellen Gillooly-Kress (
  • Eighth Bargaining Session
    We'll have more details for you after this coming bargaining session. Please note that this one is scheduled for a Thursday, unlike all the ones before it!
    Day: Thursday, 3/21
    Time: TBD
    Location: TBD
    Contact: Mike Magee (
  • 2019 AFT-OR Convention
    Every other year, local chapter affiliates of AFT-OR (our parent union) gather for convention. At convention, local chapters connect to organize and mobilize; vote on resolutions and state bylaw changes; elect members of the AFT-OR executive board; and join together in celebration of solidarity.
    - Dates: Friday, 5/3 - Sunday, 5/5
    - Location: Sunriver, OR

    Contacts: Ellen Gillooly-Kress (

Have you seen these around campus? 

GTFF Members are “blacking out” their office doors to show where GE labor would be lost should our new contract not support our ability to live, teach, and learn at UO.

This is part of our bargaining campaign and is meant to catch the attention of our undergrad students, our supervisors, and UO admin.

If your door has already been "blacked out," post a picture of it on social media with the hashtags #GradsRAISEUO#GTFF3544, & #UOworksbecausewedo.

If you would like to participate, email Nikki Cox at

Your Right to Concerted Activity

According to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB):

"You have the right to act with co-workers to address work-related issues in many ways. Examples include: talking with one or more co-workers about your wages and benefits or other working conditions, circulating a petition asking for better hours, participating in a concerted refusal to work in unsafe conditions, openly talking about your pay and benefits, and joining with co-workers to talk directly to your employer, to a government agency, or to the media about problems in your workplace. Your employer cannot discharge, discipline, or threaten you for, or coercively question you about, this "protected concerted" activity. A single employee may also engage in protected concerted activity if he or she is acting on the authority of other employees, bringing group complaints to the employer's attention, trying to induce group action, or seeking to prepare for group action. However, you can lose protection by saying or doing something egregiously offensive or knowingly and maliciously false, or by publicly disparaging your employer's products or services without relating your complaints to any labor controversy."

Supervisors may not block your ability to participate in the Blackout Blitz or any other union-sanctioned action. If you have experienced discipline or other difficulty with your supervisor, department head, or administrator because of your participation, please let us know! Contact Ricardo Friaz, VP for Grievances at
Attack on GTFF Power
The UO Faculty Senate moved their vote on a policy that would weaken the GTFF's power in a bargaining year. It will now occur on Wednesday, 3/13 at 3:00pm.

Under this academic continuity policy, the president could call an "academic emergency" in response to an earthquake, epidemic illness--or a GTFF strike. This would allow supervisors to assign "emergency grades" to undergraduates for courses GEs teach.

One of our biggest bargaining chips during a strike is withholding grades for undergraduate classes. This policy would remove that capability. It also essentially calls for faculty members to scab (metaphorically cross the GTFF picket line and undermine our power) for the university. This could cause rifts among the campus labor unions, fracturing our trust and harming our solidarity.

We are doing everything we can to win a successful contract without calling for a strike. However, should we reach the end of this bargaining cycle without coming to an agreement, that is an option we will consider. 

We need to fight this!
Please contact any faculty allies in your department and ask them to speak out against this policy! Tell them what this policy means to our union and why it is important that we stand together.

Stewards and other union leaders are encouraged to attend the Faculty Senate meeting Wednesday (3/13) at 3:00pm in the EMU rooms 145 and 146. Please RSVP if you are able to attend.

Call for Bargaining Testimony

Why is R.A.I.S.E. is important for me, you, us?
We are asking Members to share testimonies, stories, statements, or interviews related with bargaining proposals put forth by the GTFF and by UO.

Opportunities to share your story include live testimony at the bargaining table, video recordings of interviews, and signed or anonymous written reflections.

We are especially seeking input on the following areas:
Challenges of parenting as a GE
Challenges faced by International GEs
Challenges finding/affording quality housing

Your contribution is extremely crucial in furthering the bargaining process, since collective statements of our members are the main power in this journey.   
To share your story, contact: 
Mike Magee (
Hyunsoo Lee (
Kayleigh Peterman (
Informed by the Membership and designed by the Bargaining Committee and the Contract Action Team, the Bargaining Platform is

We R.A.I.S.E. each other up!
Recognition and Development
Accountability, Transparency, and Participation
International Student Advocacy
Safety, Equity, and Inclusivity
Economically Fair and Dignified Standard of Living

For more information on the bargaining platform, proposals, and Bargaining Committee, visit
Bargaining Updates

We had the Sixth Bargaining Session on 3/1. There were lots of things we didn't agree on, but we could agree on the following:
  • UO should not collect information related to DACA recipients.
  • We both want more informal grievance options, and GTFF's Bargaining Committee is looking into the university's proposal.
  • There is interest in a disability access subcommittee consisting of members of both bargaining teams.
The university's bargaining team argued against our proposal adding an optional 6 hours of paid training as part of GEs' professional development. They also disagreed with our proposals requiring GEs to have representation on appointment and curriculum committees, instead preferring the status quo (allowing GEs on these committees, but leaving it optional for each department). In response to our proposal to increase the number of GEs acting in support roles for graduate students from underrepresented communities, the university suggested that the Graduate School create a website with resources related to these communities. This would be a great first step, but not necessarily a satisfactory substitute. 
GTFF's Bargaining Committee gave some allowance to UO regarding dues deduction changes but reasserted the union's lawful authority to changes its own dues structure as needed. We argued again for including information about (and examples of) workplace bullying in the CBA. We also reiterated that UO's proposal which would allow departments to change a position's GDRS each term is unreasonable for GEs, especially those who are new. The Bargaining Committee did, however, concede to including both the amount of time and percentage of time a GE's tasks would take in the position's workload allocation form

In the previous bargaining session, GTFF's Bargaining Committee inquired about the university's lack of meaningful response to our rejection of their economic proposals. At this session, we finally heard back about two -- housing and funding for international GEs' flights home -- which UO does not consider to be topics to be bargained over. The university also rejected our summer funding proposal on the basis of cost. One economic aspect we continue to fight for is our health insurance. UO claims that their proposal would allow them to cover "100% of our health insurance...but with different health insurance". Our insurance coverage is the best on campus and is something we have fought for over our forty years as a union! We will not allow the university to slash away at benefits that are important to so many of our members.

Stand with your bargaining team at the next bargaining session and show the university what R.A.I.S.E. means to us!

Friday, 3/15
221 McKenzie Hall

People are welcome to come and go as needed. If you can’t be there in person, tune in to our livestream ( and show your support on social media by tagging your posts with #GradsRAISEUO and #GTFF3544.
 Let’s show up and show that we are united!

Are you interested in helping out with bargaining?
Contact Nikki Cox ( and Kayleigh Peterman (!

Member Organizer Institute

We are looking for members who are interested in using this development opportunity as a way to jump-start or deepen a long-term involvement with our local. Does that sound like you? Consider applying for the Member Organizer Position for this Spring!

AFT-Oregon’s Member Organizer Institute (MOI) is a training and development opportunity for emerging leaders who are ready to take their union organizing skills to the next level and build our local for the future.

MOI is a 3-month intensive
paid training program that teaches organizing skills through real-world experience in concert with staff and local leaders. This program capitalizes on one of our most valuable resources--our members--to help build union power and activism.

The goal of the institute is to train union members to build power, grow our membership, engage current members in our union and ensure the long-term sustainability of our local by having members trained to continue their organizing work and help develop other members after participating in the institute.

"Participating in AFT’s MOI was extremely rewarding and politically invigorating experience. I loved the opportunity to get to know other departments on campus and hear the ways in which GE across the UO handle the stress and challenges of our everyday lives. It also gave me the chance to meet new people and get to know the inner workings of our union a little bit better. Overall, it made me a better union member because now I know how to navigate the potential difficulties of organizing conversations and I can connect with members and nonmembers in a more genuine and personal way." 

- Rhiannon Lindgren, Fall 2018 Member Organizer

Program highlights include

  • A two-day organizing training with other member organizing institute/academy participants
  • Real-world field experience under guidance from professional organizing staff
  • Regular team meetings with other MOI participants to compare and learn
  • Establishing and building organizing practices for our local

Admittance into the institute is competitive and will be based on an application and interview. Send your applications and questions to Jessica Foster ( The application deadline is March 20, 2019, but it is recommended that you submit your application ASAP to be considered for the program. 

More details about the  program can be found here

Don't have a GE Appointment for Spring?

Become an Associate Member!

Becoming an Associate Member allows non-GEs to stay involved with the GTFF. Associate Members enjoy full rights as union members, such as attending meetings and social events, voting in elections, running for office, and accessing members-only discounts at local businesses. However, Associate Members cannot participate in contract ratification, or strike authorization, or decertification votes.
To enjoy these benefits, Associate Members contribute $41.18 per term, the equivalent of the dues of our lowest-paid Full Members.

Many students become Associate Members to start their membership early (if they have a GE assignment in the future) or to continue their membership (if they had a GE assignment in the past). Many others join as Associate Members because they believe in the cause of our union and want to work toward better inclusion and solidarity. Whatever their reasons, we love and appreciate the efforts of our Associate Members!
To sign up as an Associate Member, visit our website:

AFT Academics Survey

AFT Academics wants to hear from you! They are organizing across the country and want to know what you think. Please fill out this survey: 
If you want to get involved, please let us know--we are happy to follow up with you.

AFT Academics is a new national union of academic workers. We are dedicated to creating a just, sustainable, and engaged academy by empowering the people who make it run. Through solidarity, direct action, and legislative efforts we can win on the issues that impact academic workers, our students, and our communities.

AFT Academics is a project of the American Federation of Teachers. The AFT is 1.7 million members strong, and the largest higher education union in the United States at over 250,000 members in colleges and universities across the country. Learn more about the AFT here.
Know Your Contract

Our Collective Bargaining Agreement, in Article 17, explains appointment/reappointment process: 
Section 1. The University appoints GEs after consultation with departments, schools, and colleges, who make recommendations from among a pool of eligible candidates within their unit. Graduate students have the right to apply for GE positions in all departments or employing units. There can be no limits on the number of GE positions for which a graduate student may apply. []
Appointment decisions shall be made by the standing committee of the department and shall not be made for arbitrary or capricious reasons. In choosing among candidates, strong consideration may be given to the student’s potential in the proposed academic program. Because of this, in academic departments, priority may be given to candidates enrolled in that department’s program(s).
While appointment or reappointment criteria may include the recommendation of the person who will act as the GE’s supervisor, the committee must give substantial consideration to the other 35 appointment or reappointment criteria.
If a department or employing unit does not offer a reappointment on the basis of less than satisfactory academic progress toward the degree, the department/unit must inform the student of this in writing, citing the criteria for satisfactory academic progress that have not been met. Graduate students may grieve departmental decisions related to satisfactory progress through the University’s graduate student academic grievances procedure.
The University agrees to post all GE job openings for positions in non-academic or administrative units and out-of-department positions with the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation office, and on the websites of the Graduate School and Human Resources. 
Section 5. Subject to the offer and acceptance method described in Section 1 and the rescission period described in Section 3, years of funding offered by a department or employing unit detailed in admission or appointment notices sent to new hires and any subsequent offers of funding shall be binding and may not be reduced or rescinded except for good cause shown including the GE’s poor performance, discharge under Article 16, or ineligibility for an appointment due to unsatisfactory academic progress.
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! Sign up to give your testimony!
The Family Issues GE Invites You To

If you have any questions, contact the Family GE:

Kris Wright
2018-2019 Graduate Families GE, 
University of Oregon Graduate School
Susan Campbell Hall
Join our listserv:

Caucus Corner

With the goal of creating more safe, inclusive, and "RAISE"d environment, our caucuses and diverse community members are working hard to present testimonies to bargaining sessions and bring together voices of underrepresented members.  

T.R.U.S.T. Caucus
The TRUST Caucus had a meeting on 3/7. The members discussed reporting requirements of GEs harassing subordinates. The “Share Why You Don’t Share” campaign was also checked, as a preparation for Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April. Also, the members started to draft a GTFF sexual assault survivor support resolution for ATF-OR submission. There will be a meeting during finals week, so keep an eye out.

Interested in joining a caucus? Email the Caucus Chairs:
Disability Access Caucus Kylen Gartland
Environmental Justice Caucus Nick Theis & Sam Ault
GEs of Color Caucus Youssef Ait Benasser
International Caucus Sanan Moradi
Parents' Caucus Amy Rowland
Queer Caucus Tzula Propp
T.R.U.S.T. Caucus Emily Beecher
Women's Caucus Vacant
Workers’ Caucus Vacant
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