Winter 2019 Week 4 Newsletter

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GTFF 3544 Newsletter

Upcoming Events ~ News

We had over 125 Members & supporters at the 3rd Bargaining Session!

Upcoming Events

Keep an eye out for events through email, on our Facebook page, and on our calendar!
  • Grad Partner Happy Hour
    This event was planned by the Family Issues GE. See below for more details!
    - Date: Wednesday, 1/30 (Week 4) 
    - Time: 3:00pm - 6:00pm
    - Location: McMenamin's
    1485 E. 19th Ave.)
    Contact: Kris Wright (

  • 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 (
  • Fourth Bargaining Session
    Come support our Bargaining Committee at the fourth Bargaining Session of 2018-2019! We'll hear the last of the university's proposals as well as some counters. Let's continue to show the university that we stand together to fight for our rights as workers! (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, 2/1 (Week 4)
    - Time: 11:00am - 3:00pm
    - Location: 221 Lillis Hall

    Contact: Mike Magee (

  • Union Workshop Series
    We are launching a series of workshops primarily for Stewards and open to all interested Members. There are five sessions scheduled between Weeks 2 and 4 so far. See below for more information!
    - Location
    GTFF Office (609 E. 13th Ave.)
    Contact: Michael Marchman (
  • Contract Action Team (CAT) Meeting
    Come hear how the CAT plans to support GTFF's bargaining efforts!
    - Date: Wednesday, 1/30 (Week 4)
    - Time: 5:30pm - 7:30pm
    - Location
    GTFF Office (609 E. 13th Ave.)
    Contacts: Nikki Cox ( and Kayleigh Peterman (

  • Winter General Membership Meeting (GMM)
    Put it on your calendar! We'll hear updates from the Executive Board, Bargaining Committee, Caucuses, and more. Refreshments will be provided.For more information (such as the full agenda), visit the event's page on our website.
    - Date: Friday, 2/8 (Week 5)
    - Time: 5:30pm - 8:30pm
    - Location: South Eugene High School cafeteria (400 E. 19th Ave.)

    - Contact: Ellen Gillooly-Kress (

  • E-Council Meeting
    All Stewards, Caucus Chairs, and other union leaders are invited to this E-Council Meeting! We've got a full agenda!. Light refreshments will be provided. Be sure to RSVP!
    Contact: Nikki Cox (
    Date: Tuesday, 2/13 (Week 6)
    - Time: 5:30pm - 7:30pm 
    - Location
    GTFF Office (609 E. 13th Ave.)
Union Workshops

Want to learn more about your rights as a worker? Interested in ways to strengthen your union? Check out these great opportunities! 

Please RSVP to Michael ( if you plan to attend.
  • Being a Good Steward
    Monday, 1/28 (Week 4), 3:00pm - 4:30pm

    This workshop/training is all about how to talk with your colleagues about our union. Regular one-on-one conversations with other GEs are ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL to building membership, strengthening peoples' involvement in and commitment to GTFF, and building the kind of solidarity that we need to thrive and kick butt as a union. This can be scary or intimidating -- but with a little training and practice, you will not only get good at it, you'll realize that it is both fun and rewarding to have real work conversations with people.
  • Union Conversations
    Wednesday, 1/30 (Week 4), 3:30pm - 5:00pm
    This workshop/training focuses on how to be an effective steward. Stewards are the backbone of our union and a large, knowledgeable and engaged Stewards Council is essential to having a healthy, vibrant, democratic union! Having effective stewards is also critical to winning a strong contract, enforcing our rights and benefits, and strengthening our union. You don't have to be a steward to benefit from this workshop - everyone is welcome!

Nominations Open:

VP for External Relations


Our previous VP for External Relations, Andrew "Al" Lebovitz, is unable to continue in this role for the remainder of the 2018-2019 academic year. If you--or someone you know--are interested in taking over the position, please contact the Executive Board at See below for information about the VP for External Relations position or visit GTFF's Bylaws, Article 4, Section 7.

"The duties of the Vice President for External Relations shall include the following:
(a) to serve as the ranking Delegate at the Lane County Central Labor Council;
(b) to serve as ranking Delegate at ESSN.
(c) to Chair the External Relations Committee;
(d) In conjunction with Vice President for Organizing assist with the organization of other graduate employee unions; (e) to be responsible, in conjunction with the President, for originating correspondence between the GTFF and its affiliate organizations or other external organizations (not including the University or its agents), and; (f) to assist the Vice President for Political Education in establishing and maintaining contact with external political organizations."

The VP for External Relations also sits on the Communications Committee and the Contract Action Team during bargaining cycles.

We hope to fill this position soon!

Bargaining Updates

At the Third Bargaining Session (1/18/2019), we heard the first set of the university's proposals. Here are just some of the ways that GEs lose under their plan:
  • Slash university contributions to our health insurance by changing from 95% of premium costs covered to a flat $1350 per GE every term (Article 24, Appendix E). This amount represents a $400 DECREASE from the $1700 UO currently pays per GE for health insurance on average. In the case of GEs with partners or family members on their insurance, this proposal nearly HALVES UO’s contribution, severely diminishing the kinds of care available to children and families.
  • Increase GEs’ student fees by changing from a flat $61 per term in fall, winter, and spring to 45% of all student fees (Article 23, Section 2). Not only will this dramatically increase the amount you pay every term back the to University, it also means that there is no limit on any future increases on student fees.
  • Increase the amount of Summer fees GEs pay from 65% to 100%, which represents hundreds of dollars more paid back to the university out of our salaries during the summer (Article 19).
  • Remove compensation for prep work for Summer courses that are later canceled (Article 19).
  • Remove compensation for GEs who substitute for one another when sick (Article 29).
  • Decrease the number of paid sick days GEs can accumulate and disallow new GEs from taking their sick leave immediately in their first term (Article 29).

The university claims that many of these increased costs to GEs will be funneled back into our “take-home pay.” What this really means is that the number written on our checks will be larger, but this new “salary” will simply be paid back to university in the form of massively increased student fees and health insurance costs. In other words, their proposals steal from one pocket to give to the other. When all is said and done, the university’s plan represents a net loss to GEs, even after their proposed 0.8-1.0% raise, which would not even cover the rate of inflation.

This is all part of a plan to make GE salaries look higher so that UO can appear “competitive” with its AAU peers. They want to achieve this appearance by tearing down the rights and benefits we’ve fought for over decades of negotiations and the work of GEs past and present.

In contrast, the GTFF aims to improve GE conditions, not maintain the status quo. We’re fighting for good healthcare, a living wage, affordable housing, better training, safer working conditions, and protections for vulnerable GEs:
  • Raise pay by 9.5% to attain living wage levels by the end of this contract’s life (Article 22).
  • Remove GE responsibility for per-term incidental fees (Article 23).
  • Require UO to cover 100% of GE health insurance premium costs (Article 24).
  • Expand GE privileges over the Summer term (Articles 10, 19, 24).
  • Introduce protections for international and immigrant students (X5, X6).
  • Increase GTFF's representation on campus (Articles 3, 5, 17).
  • Expand benefits for GEs with families (Article 10, X2).
  • Expand protections in the workplace against discrimination, inappropriate behavior, and workplace bullying (Articles 8, 29, Appendix D, X3).
  • Update work environment conditions (Article 10).
  • Create committees and GE positions to better serve vulnerable GEs' needs (Article 25, X1).
The next Bargaining Session is this Friday, 2/1 from 11AM to 3PM in 221 Lillis Hall. We will hear the last of the university's proposals and some counter-proposals from our Bargaining Committee.

People are welcome to come and go as needed. If you can't make it in person, tune in to our livestream and post your support on social media with the hashtags #GradsRAISEUO and #UOworksbecausewedo.
Are you interested in helping out with bargaining efforts?
Contact Nikki Cox ( and Kayleigh Peterman (!

Informed by the Membership and designed by the Bargaining Committee and the Contract Action Team, the proposed 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

Know Your Contract

Our Collective Bargaining Agreement requires the university to allow for union representation and support in a variety of work-related meetings: 
  • Article 9, Section 5, Paragraph 3: Regarding Workload Allocation
    A variance or deviation from the allocated amount of time for each specific work duty does not constitute a violation of this Agreement and may not be grieved. However, GEs are encouraged to notify their supervisors as soon as is practicable during the academic term if they anticipate their total work assignment will exceed their FTE. A Union representative shall be allowed to attend a meeting between the GE and the GE’s supervisor for the purpose of reviewing the GE’s workload allocation form to determine whether the GE’s specific work duties will result in the GE working in excess of the GE’s assigned FTE.
  • Article 10, Section 7, Paragraph 2: Regarding Professional Ethics
    Graduate Employees shall not be barred from consulting with their professional association or outside legal counsel should an ethical concern arise at their workplace. GEs who believe they are being asked to perform a work duty in violation of a recognized professional code of conduct may call for a meeting with their department/unit head (or department/unit head’s supervisor if the department/unit head is the party asking for the work to be performed) to discuss the matter. The GE shall have the right to have their Union representative present at such meeting.
  • Article 11, Section 2: Regarding Personnel Files
    A GE may choose to be accompanied by a representative of the Union and/or counsel when reviewing material [relating to their performance as employees, as well as performance as students as such material relates to employment. Material excluded from this review shall include confidential letters of recommendation for which the GE has signed a waiver of the right of access].
  • Article 13, Section 3, Part a: Regarding Grievances
    Grievants may consult with Union representatives at any time relative to a grievance, provided such consultation does not interfere with the scheduled working hours of the parties involved. A grievant may have a union representative present at any step of the procedure.
  • Article 16, Section 11: Regarding Discipline or Discharge
    A GE may have a Union representative present, to represent or accompany the GE, in any discussion or meeting regarding discipline or discharge of the GE.
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! 
The Family Issues GE Invites You To

 This Happy Hour is dedicated to graduate students’ partners as a way to get to know other grad spouses/partners/significant others and other grad families. Students are, of course, welcome too. Bring the kids, come as a couple, or fly solo!
This is an inclusive environment where all students and anyone they consider to be family are welcome. We'll provide some food and non-alcoholic drinks, happy hour prices are in effect if you'd like a drink!
Spread the word!
If you have any questions, contact the Family GE:

Kris Wright
2018-2019 Graduate Families GE, 
University of Oregon Graduate School
Susan Campbell Hall
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AFT-OR 2018 Scholarships and Awards

(Nomination deadline: January 31, 2019)
  • Shirley J. Gold Scholarship
    The Shirley J. Gold Scholarship of $1,500, awarded to an AFT-Oregon member who is pursuing higher education at an accredited higher education institution.
  • Carl J. Megel Scholarship
    The Carl J. Megel Scholarship of $1,500 will be awarded to an AFT-Oregon member’s child or grandchild who is graduating from high school and is enrolling in an accredited higher education institution.
  • Albert F. Shanker Scholarship
    The Albert F. Shanker Scholarship of $1,500, awarded to an AFT-Oregon member’s child or grandchild who is already attending an accredited higher education institution. 
  • Deirdre Mackey and Grace Misztal Scholarships
    Two $1,500 Scholarships for Post-Secondary Education. One awarded to members and the other available to a member’s dependent who are members of a marginalized community and/or demonstrate that their studies will work to advance the cause of social justice and the ending of discrimination. Click here to read more about Deirdre and Grace.
  • John Connor Memorial Award
    This award recognizes an individual member who exhibits the selfless, spirited enthusiasm and devotion to causes of the union which serve as an inspiration to fellow activists. These qualities were demonstrated in John Connor, a member of Local 2277 (PCCFFAP) and an active political action volunteer.
  • Outstanding Contribution to Public Awareness
    This award is open to any resident of Oregon, including AFT-Oregon members. This award recognizes an individual in Oregon who has contributed to the public’s general awareness or who has raised the level of public debate in furtherance of the goals of AFT-Oregon in matters of education, health, public services, labor or other current issues of importance to the membership. 
  • Local Awards for Excellence in Communications
    There are three categories:
    • General Excellence
      Recognizes general excellence in writing, editing, content, layout and design; including best story, editorial, photos, art or graphics.
    • Best Website 
      The site should be easy to maneuver, be graphically interesting, and provide valuable information to members and site visitors. 
    • Best Use of Social Media
      Engages members and provides valuable information for all site visitors.
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