UO wasn’t prepared for the power we brought last week

This post reproduces an email sent to GTFF members on March 24, 2023. View the original format.

Thank you to everyone who showed up to our very first rally at Johnson Hall last week! The weather was perfect, the vibes were incredible, and it was so amazing to see support from folks like the UO Student Workers, the faculty union (UAUO) the unionized classified workers (SEIU), and of course, our members!

Another big shout out to everyone who was able to help us pack the room for our first official negotiation meeting with UO! In attendance we had GTFF members, representatives from AFT-Oregon and AFL-CIO, UO Student Workers, Coalition of Graduate Employees (CGE) members, and Starbucks Workers United members, just to name a few. In total, we had over 150 attendees during this session! We demonstrated to the UO administration how seriously we take our working conditions, and we can’t wait to see the room packed at future sessions.

If you weren’t able to attend, here’s what happened:

  • We (the Bargaining Team) presented GTFF’s proposals for better salaries, international GE support, improvement of working conditions, maintenance of our health care and more. Our proposals for a 4-year contract with a 2-year opener included a 30 percent increase to the minimum GE salary (as well as a 16 percent increase for those above the new minimum salary) in the first year, with double-digit increases in the following year. The Team will be presenting the rest of our proposals at upcoming negotiation sessions. 
  • After our presentation, UO caucused and returned with their Economic Proposal document. This initial proposal included a 3-year contract, a 4 percent increase to minimums in the first year, and a 2.65 percent increase to minimums in subsequent years—with no pay increase for those above the new minimum salary. With these lamentable proposed increases, over 500 GEs would remain at their same salary.
  • After Spring Break, we’ll be having negotiation meetings with the University every other week. Be on the lookout for our email and social media posts with those meeting times once they are scheduled!
  • Trello is the platform that the Bargaining Team will be using to keep our members informed about the specific articles in our contract that are under negotiation. Click on this link or the button below to follow the various exchanges of proposals throughout this negotiation process, and be sure to bookmark the page!

Read our proposals

What happens next?

Keep your eyes peeled and ears open for communications about tasks we and the Contract Action Team (CAT) may need help with leading up to this next session. Tasks range from button or sign making, door knocking, flyering, speaking at rallies/providing testimony, taking notes during meetings, managing our livestream and more! If you’re interested in helping out, please email our VP of Organizing, Lillian, at organizing@gtff.net.

We’re still finalizing meeting times with UO for future sessions, but we’ll send lots of communications out once that’s settled. These sessions will be roughly 3 hours long; while we would love to have you there the entire time, we understand that you may have class, work or other commitments. Even if you can only show up for 10 minutes, we would love to see you there, and your presence will help increase our power at the table!

Do you like to make memes? We want to see them!

Who doesn’t love a good meme made by your fellow union comrades? Throughout this bargaining cycle the university will give us more than enough material to make quality memes to boost our morale. These memes will also help communicate with our membership and the public about how the negotiations are going over the next few months. If you have a bit of inspiration, feel free to share your memes by tagging us on Instagram, adding them to the #random channel on Slack, or sending them to our VP for Member Communications, Rosa, at member.communications@gtff.net.

Resources and Dates

  • You can follow the various exchanges of proposals throughout this negotiation process on our Trello board.
  • We made the news! Read more about the rally and the negotiation session with UO in these reports from the Daily Emerald and KLCC.
  • Bargaining Team meetings are open to all members. For spring term, we’ll be meeting on Tuesday nights from 6-8pm. All meetings are held in a hybrid format on the GTFF Zoom and in the GTFF office. 
  • Want to be more involved with future rallies and negotiation sessions? Check out our Contract Action Team (CAT)! To get more info, you can join the #cat channel on Slack or email our VP for Organizing, Lillian, at organizing@gtff.net.