In light of the current weather conditions and subsequent chaos, GTFF wants to remind everyone to be safe.
Today UO sent out a communiqué that indicates that although UO is officially open, “Supervisors should take steps to allow employees to work remotely this afternoon”, “Employees should work with supervisors on any schedule changes”, that “it is understood that not everyone may be able to travel to campus in inclement weather”, and that campus members are “expected to use their best judgment in assessing the risk of coming to campus.”
If, in your best judgment, it is unsafe to come to campus to complete assigned GE duties, you are strongly encouraged to consult your department’s GDRS (https://gradschool.uoregon.edu/gtf/rights-and-responsibilities/gdrs) and contact your supervisor or the appropriate person as stipulated in your GDRS to inform them that for safety reasons you are unable to come to campus and to make any necessary arrangements or adjustments to duties. Your GDRS describes your department’s procedure for absences and who GEs should contact in cases where they are unable to fulfill work duties.
The Collective Bargaining Agreement between GTFF and the University (Article 10, Section 3) makes clear that “GEs may refuse to work in unsafe spaces” and that “if after reporting to the supervisor that a specific task or assignment may jeopardize personal health or safety, correction is not made, that employee may refuse to perform such activity until the appropriate health or safety officer has review the situation and made a finding.” GTFF understands this language to include the right of GEs to refuse to work under conditions in which it is unsafe to travel to campus.
Many administrators and faculty have used their best judgment and chosen not to come to campus today. GEs also have the right to use their best judgment and determine whether or not it is safe to attempt to access campus at the moment.
If you do choose to come to campus, please be careful – especially after dark and as the temperature drops this evening.
If you experience any serious difficulties or pushback when exercising your best judgment, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sixth 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 livestreamand 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 (email@example.com)
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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 (email@example.com)
Want to learn more about your rights as a worker? Interested in ways to strengthen your union? Check out these great opportunities!
Being an Effective Steward/Member Monday, 3/4 (Week 9), 11:00am - 12:30pm
This workshop 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!
Having Effective Union Conversations Thursday, 2/28 (Week 8), 11:00am - 12:30pm Tuesday, 3/5 (Week 9), 3:00pm - 4:30pm
This workshop 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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attack on GTFF Power
The UO Faculty Senate will be voting tomorrow (2/27) on a policy that would weaken the GTFF's power in a bargaining year.
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 tomorrow (2/27) from 3:00pm to 4:00pm 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.
At the Fifth Bargaining Session (2/15/2019), we heard counter-proposals from both the GTFF and UO teams. We are still deep in discussions with the university on a number of issues. Read below for more information!
We tentatively agreed on Article 15 (regarding a change to the timeline of finding an arbitrator) and on Article 35 (which updates contact information for Employee Labor Relations [ELR]). We’ve also tentatively agreed to some basic language updates for the contract.
The university has expressed some interest in our proposals regarding adding partners to the Grad Assistance Fund and providing more emergency funding for childcare, as well as some of our proposed language about GE rights and immigration.
We discussed the importance of workload allocation forms and records, which can be a great tool to gauge overwork if you are also tracking your hours. (Make sure you’re informed about this current piece of our CBA!)
The university’s proposals are also seeking to address some reasonable concerns related to the current format of the grievance process, and they have proposed some interesting solutions. We are examining the consequences these changes might have and hope to arrive at an agreement to improve the process and protect the dignity of GEs in the workplace.
The Bargaining Committee has also asked the university to clarify which of our original proposals they will agree to debate and to further clarify economic negotiations going forward, as their package deal (which we rejected at the 4th session) does not allow for the kind of negotiation we planned.
We do expect some economic discussion (money talk!) to be on the table at the next session. This could get contentious and will be informative about the university’s priorities, so come sit in and get the information first hand!
People are welcome to come and go as needed. If you can’t be there in person, tune in to our livestream (twitch.tv/gtff3544) and show your support on social media by tagging your posts with #GradsRAISEUO and #GTFF3544.
At the Winter General Membership Meeting, the Executive Board asked for nominations for the two previously vacant VP positions (External Relations and Political Education). Members of the Executive Council met the following week and voted in Rajeev Ravisankar and Trevor Brunnenmeyer.
VP for External Relations
Rejeev received his Bachelors in International Studies and Political Science and his Masters of Public Administration from Ohio State University. Currently, he is pursuing a PhD in Media Studies at UO. He has written for Jacobin, Huffington Post, Kirwan Institute, and Himal Southasian and has been involved in the fight for equality and labor rights for years. He serves on the Contract Action Team.
VP for Political Education
Trevor studied Physics and Mathematics at the University of Utah. He has been continuing his studies in Physics at UO since 2015. He is the President of the Physics department and has been a Steward of Physics for GTFF. He has been a judge for international Pokemon competitions. Currently, he serves on the Bureaucracy Subgroup of the Bargaining Committee.
Disability Access Caucus Members of the Disability Access Caucus had a joint meeting with the Bargaining Committee on 2/22. They discussed having a subgroup meet during the bargaining season, bargaining language, proposal review and amendment discussion, and other Disability Access issues.
Environmental Justice Caucus Beyond Toxics is canvassing in West Eugene on one of the coming weekends (it is weather-dependent). Essentially, they are repeating a survey that took place several years ago, in which residents in the industrial corridor were asked about various health and environmental concerns. We are asking for volunteers from the EJ Caucus to help with this effort! If you are interested, please contact Amanda Sikirica at email@example.com. Spanish-speaking participants are in particular need!
The EJ Caucus is also hosting a "Teaching Environmental Justice" workshop with TEP this year. This is in the planning stages, and there is another meeting scheduled for Week 8 in terms of wrapping up planning for the first session. The idea is to encourage grad students across campus to incorporate EJ in classrooms where it's not typically taught, but relevant or useful for course goals. Again, if you are interested, please contact the EJ Caucus!
The TRUST Caucus had a joint meeting with the Grievance Committee on 2/14. They discussed updates on open and closed grievances, issues of discrimination in the Humanities Area, the grievance procedure, and what to focus on moving forward. The TRUST Caucus also met on 2/21 to prepare for Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April.
Interested in joining a caucus? Email the Caucus Chairs:
Properly and securely installed partitions and shelving
Safe and appropriate furnishings
Provided with the same custodial services on the same schedule as other similar spaces in the department or building/facility
A desk space in a room able to be locked with no more than 2 GEs assigned to share that desk
Access to gender inclusive restrooms comparable to other employee groups
Private Meeting Space
Access to space suitable for private meetings for GEs with teaching assignments either as instructor of record or as lab/discussion leader
Access to Computers
Easy and reasonable access, at least during standard working hours, to computers equipped with software typically provided other departmental staff and as it relates to GE assignments. Departments may send out requests to determine if computers will be utilized by GEs for work duties, and if by mutual agreement they are not being utilized, they may be removed.
Easy and reasonable access to internet necessary to carry out work assignments.
Access to Telephones (for all GEs with duties requiring phones, or upon GE request)
Easy and reasonable access to telephones necessary to carry out work assignments
Access to voicemail or other messaging service
Access to Office Supplies, Photocopies, and Printouts
GEs working under the direction of an instructor of record (as teaching assistants, lab leaders, or discussion section leaders), administrative GEs, and research GEs shall have access to supplies necessary to accomplish the tasks associated with their assignments as directed by their supervisors. These shall be available at no personal cost to the GEs and does not preclude limitations placed upon the supervisors or instructors of record.
GEs working as instructors of record shall have limits on quantity and out-of-pocket costs for necessary supplies that are substantially similar to other instructional staff with comparable instructional assignments in the department. Access to these supplies shall be available at least during departmental standard working hours.
Departments with GEs who work as instructors of record shall specify how GE assistance for the instructor-of record GEs shall be apportioned.
Access to the same or similar facilities as other faculty and staff in the department.
When no kitchen facilities exist, GEs and/or the Union have a right to request kitchen facilities.
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!
AFT-OR Convention Delegates
Congratulations to the following individuals for being elected as GTFF's 2019 AFT-Oregon Convention delegates:
These people will represent GTFF among our sister unions in early May.