Tentative Agreement Reached

After 17 hours, the GTFF bargaining team reached a tentative agreement with the university. The session was facilitated by a state-appointed mediator.

For the contract to be approved, the GTFF membership needs to vote to ratify the agreement. To read the agreement, click the following link: 2010_2012_CBA_tentative_agreement_GTFF

Dave Cecil, the lead GTFF negotiator sent out an email to the membership containing the highlights of the agreement. To read the email, follow the jump.


At 2 am this morning, your bargaining team wrapped up a 17-hour
mediation session with the university that has resulted in a great deal
given the budget climate in the state of Oregon. More details about the
session below, but first the highlights of the deal.

Elimination of departmental resource fees (established as the number one
bargaining goal by the Executive Council)
The elimination of approximately 500 course fees for graduate students
Raises to the minimum wage of 1% in 2010-2011 and 3% in 2011-12
A $10 per term reduction in fees

Minimal increases in the cost of health insurance for dependents and in
summer for the next two years, with hard caps on the amount of increases
GTFs will have to face. This was actually our toughest fight and perhaps
biggest victory. The university seemed intent on pushing a lot of the
risk of cost increases next year on to the GTFF - with the changes to
our plan that will occur because of the Congressional health care
reform, we face massive increases next year - but we fought them back.
If the renewal for health care next year is 20% - at the high end of
guesstimations, but not inconceivable - the UO would face a cost
increase of $1.2 million dollars, while GTFs would only share $60K of that.

We very much wanted to get more dollars in the pockets of GTFs today,
but we felt strongly that it was worth sacrificing a few dollars now for
security next year. 

We did have to give up on protecting the right of GTFs who graduate in
the Spring term to have the discounted summer health insurance.  It was
a hard thing to give up on, as we know that the end of graduate school
is when our brothers and sisters need the help the most, but it was the
only way that the UO would take their demand to reopen health care
bargaining next summer and make the GTFF take a bigger chunk of next
year's renewal off the table.

On the non-economic front, we manged some gains without getting exactly
what we want. 

You all know that we have been fighting to make it so the UO cannot fire
or refuse to hire based on the subjective judgment of faculty when it
comes to satisfactory academic progress. What we got is a process
whereby if a GTF is fired or not hired for lack of satisfactory academic
progress, they have to be notified in writing, the specifics of the
deficiency explained, and an appeals process laid out.  We think that
this arrangement, while not perfect, protects grads against arbitrary
and capricious actions by the faculty. 

We will have access to the rankings lists departments make when hiring
GTFs for the purposes of grievances.  This will help us make sure that
departments are complying with the contract and their own policies when
it comes to hiring GTFs. 

We did not get the maximum class-size language we wanted, but the UO
will be doing a long-range study of the number of students assigned to
teaching GTFs and the GTFF will be getting the raw data.

We will post all the tentative agreements to the bargaining blog or
webpage soon so you can take a look.

As I mentioned, we bargained for 17 hours yesterday, the first time in
memory that the GTFF and the UO have engaged in a marathon session of
this type. The team held up well over the hours, playing hold 'em,
griping about the University, wishing we were celebrating a very special
birthday, and arguing about grammar rules. We were in Oregon Hall for
most of the night, with the air conditioning turning off at 7 pm and the
lights shutting off automatically every hour or so.  As you may imagine,
being in a room with the same 5 people for that long with only a deck of
cards to entertain sparked some tensions, but it was a great time.
Every single person in the room had some place else that they
needed/wanted to be, but never for one second did anyone consider the
possibility of not fighting on in an attempt to get the best deal
possible for the members.

That's all for now. If you want more details about the session itself or
what the deal means, feel free to seek out Jacob Dittmer, Dan Andersen,
Anna Pucilowski, or Scott Nieradka who all did a fantastic job fighting
for you.


P.S. A hat tip to Lia Frederiksen who bargained along side us for 9
months, but had to jet off to Toronto before we could wrap bargaining up.