Your guide to our newly ratified contract

Update: On January 26, 2024, with 81 percent of members participating, GTFF voted by 95 percent to accept the contract TA’d on January 15, 2024. This ratification means that the contract can now be implemented. The original “Voter’s Guide” version of this post is below. Click here to jump to contract details. You can also read the complete contract here.

The time has come to vote on ratification of our contract! Voting will launch at 6pm tonight, Jan. 22, via ballots sent to members’ UO email addresses, and will be open until noon on Friday, Jan. 26. Below, you can find a Voter’s Guide, adapted from the Bargaining Wins document, where you can read summaries of what our union won in bargaining and compare the old and new contract language. If you have questions, you can also reach out to your stewards or to

All members should plan to attend the Contract Review General Membership Meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 23, from 6-7:50pm in PLC 180 and on the GTFF Zoom. This GMM is a space for the Bargaining Team to talk with members about the contract we TA’d last week. There will be a Q&A section about the contract provisions, and a separate Open Forum for members to share your thoughts.

Update, January 24, 2024: If you missed the GMM or need to refresh your memory, you can view the meeting slides or watch a video of the salary presentation. This post has also been updated with additional details on salary, including an explanation of the new minimum salary structure, calculations of cumulative raises, and dollar amounts for raises and back pay broken down by GE level and pay rate.

The contract provisions outlined below do not take effect until the contract is ratified by a vote of the membership. Don’t forget to vote by noon on Friday, January 26!

Table of Contents

New Articles

New! – International GE Support Article

Under the new contract, GEs won:

  • Visa application fees reimbursement in addition to SEVIS fee.
  • Free state and federal tax software to all international GEs.
  • New international GE eligibility for Grad Assistance Fund to support summer expenses.
  • New optional training specific to international GE needs related to U.S. workplace communication and cultural adaptation strategies.
  • Creation of workgroup to address the auto-enrollment of international GEs into the university’s student health insurance plan.
  • Info on UO housing opportunities and obtaining a UO mailing address will be provided around the time offer letters are sent.

New! – Caregiver Support Article

Under the new contract:

  • UO-subsidized child care eligibility will continue throughout summer, regardless of employment or student status, as long as the GE returns in fall. 
  • Caregiver GEs now have the same access to membership as other UO employee groups.
  • UO will maintain UO Care Provider Network.
  • Expanded qualifying events for the Grad Assistance Fund and increased eligibility amount of assistance for caregiving and/or childcare expenses to $1,000
  • Other key improvements to caregivers can be found in other articles:
    • Article 10: Improved accommodations and lactation spaces 
    • Article 25: Support services for families through the Division of Grad Studies
    • Article 29: 4 weeks additional unpaid Family & Medical Leave (12 weeks paid Paid Leave Oregon + 4 weeks unpaid FML can be stacked for 16 total weeks)
    • LOA on Paid Leave Oregon – GEs using Paid Leave Oregon will retain their tuition waiver eligibility

New! – Expense Reimbursement Article

Under the new contract:

  • All GEs will now have access to a UO One Card when paying for business travel expenses.
  • Expense reimbursements that have not been processed in a timely manner can now be formally grieved.
  • General Principle – GEs should not be expected to front money for work-related expenses.

New Letters of Agreement (LOAs)

New! – LOA – Equitable Housing

Under the new contract:

  • A joint committee (2 GTFF reps; 2 UO reps & reps from local housing organizations) will be established to research UO’s impact on local housing conditions + issue a public report with recommendations within 6 months of the first committee meeting.
    • This agreement covers equitable housing issues on and near all UO campuses, including but not limited to the greater metropolitan regions of Eugene and Portland, OR.
  • New qualifying event for the Graduate Assistance Fund: “A loss of housing more than sixty (60) days prior to the end of a lease agreement or similar housing instrument to which the GE is subject, which requires the GE to vacate the premises within thirty (30) days.” Loss of housing must be unrelated to lease violation in order to qualify.

New! – LOA – Healthcare/Insurance

Under the new contract:

  • Starting in September 2023, the university will work with GTFF to address the problem of international GEs being auto-enrolled in university health insurance, with the goal of implementing a new and improved process by Fall 2024.
  • Self-funding will be explored for GTFF insurance.

New! – LOA – Tuition Waiver and Paid Leave Oregon

Under the new contract:

  • Those on Paid Leave Oregon will have the ability to retain their tuition waivers.

New! – LOA – Inter-Departmental Funding Extensions

Under the new contract:

  • UO will create a limited petition process that eligible GEs can apply to in order to receive additional GE funding support if they meet the qualifying events as outlined.

Existing Articles Other Than Salary

Article 3 – Union Rights

Under the new contract, GEs have won:

  • UO will raise all union release FTEs to 0.49.
  • UO will provide $3,000 annually for information requests.

Article 8 – Non-Discrimination Protections

Under the new contract, GEs have won:

  • New protected categories: Caste, citizenship, pregnancy-related conditions (added specification), physical or mental disability, currently enlisted in armed services, expunged juvenile record, the use of any state or federally protected leave.
  • Improved protections for LGBTQIA+ GEs:
    • UO will maintain a website with information on the process for name changes.
    • Upon GE request, UO will work to update GE’s current employment documentation to reflect a change in name or gender in university information systems (e.g. DuckWeb, Canvas, university email) and office name placards.
    • “Persistent, ongoing refusal or failure by supervising university employees to respect a GE’s reported gendered language is prohibited under Section 1 of this article.”

Article 9 – Work Agreement/Work Assignment

Under the new contract, GEs have won:

  • Teaching GEs Assignments:
    • Increased notice of available teaching assignments by 2 weeks (previously: 4 weeks, now: 6 weeks).
    • Increased notice of actual GE course assignment by 1 week (previously: 2 weeks, now: 3 weeks).
  • Workload Allocation Forms:
    • “Supervisors, in consultation with relevant GEs, will update completed workload allocation form templates to reflect workload changes due to course enrollment changes when applicable.”
    • Workload allocation forms can help prevent overwork and make it easier to win overwork grievances!
  • General Duties and Responsibilities Statement (GDRS):
    • Departments will have to make it clearer what you’re getting yourself into as a GE. New info to be included in each department’s GDRS:
      • Selection criteria for GE appointments (AY and summer appointments)
      • Info about any work GEs must complete prior to first day of classes
      • Clear explanations about what counts against total years of funding 
      • Info detailing the GE work environment consistent with Article 10.

Article 10 – Health, Safety, & Work Environment

Under the new contract:

  • GEs will be provided ethernet equipment if wifi is unavailable in a GE workspace .
  • If your GE assignment involves use of specific software, you will get it for free!
  • If a certificate is required by a hiring unit for you to complete their GE work, you must be reimbursed for certification.
  • Improvements in ADA language & process:
    • Accommodation requests can now include masking and air quality standards.
    • Clearer timeline and expectations around accommodation process (10 days to acknowledge receipt, 14 days to initiate the non-automated interactive process)
    • “The University shall attempt to put into place workplace accommodations before the beginning of employment if advance notice is provided.”
    • Accommodation requests that are denied may be grieved under ARTICLE 13.
  • Temperature and air quality conditions now must be in compliance with OSHA.
  • GEs shall have access to gender inclusive bathrooms comparable to other employee groups; the university shall publicize the locations on their website.
  • Improved conditions and protections for GEs who are nursing:
    • Mandatory breaks for pumping.
    • Adequate space to store a pump and an insulated food container.
    • Lactation spaces now must “be fully shielded from view and reasonably secured from intrusion by coworkers and the public.
    • UO will publicize on its website where lactation rooms are located, access instructions, and what amenities (e.g. refrigerator or sink) can be provided. UO will also support GEs in finding lactation rooms closer to their workspace.

Article 12 – Evaluations

Under the new contract:

  • Department GDRS documents will include more information on how and when GEs will receive notice of evaluative observations.
  • A reasonable timeline for disciplinary steps will be provided.

Article 16 – Discipline & Discharge

Under the new contract:

  • Departments/units should inform a GE of their rights as a unionized employee to have union representation (e.g. a department steward) to represent or accompany the GE during any disciplinary meetings.
  • Protections for International GEs who may be unable to return to work due to immigration status/reasons beyond their control.

Article 17 – Appointments/Reappointments

Under the new contract:

  • More info will be provided in the GE Notice of Appointment, including: duration, monthly rate, percent and definition of FTE level, monthly gross income, a link to insurance plan information and costs, and information about the fee subsidy consistent with Article 23. The NOA shall include an addendum explanation of the estimated costs including costs of the GTFF health insurance plan options and any mandatory fees
  • Restrictions to hourly GE appointments will ensure that GEs get appropriate benefits associated with FTE appointments and hourly workers are paid at same rate as other GEs.

Article 19 – Summer Term

Under the new contract:

  • Same student fees as the academic year ($61) for GEs with summer appointments.
  • Summer teaching GEs will have the same minimum FTEs as during the academic year.
  • Summer GEs will receive the same salary rates, tuition and fee waivers, and the standard 95/5 cost-share for health insurance as academic year GEs.
  • Tentative summer offers for teaching GEs will now include information about the required minimum student enrollment number and the date of decision for whether the course will run.
  • If a summer teaching GE offer is rescinded less than 4 weeks prior to the start of the relevant summer session, GEs will be paid $300 for the labor of preparing for the course.

Article 24 – Health Insurance

  • During the academic year, the GE insurance split will remain 95/5:
    • UO pays 95% of health insurance premiums
    • We pay 5% of health insurance premiums
  • Under our old contract, the summer insurance split was 80/20:
    • UO paid 80% of health insurance premiums
    • We paid 20% of health insurance premiums
    • This was quadruple the cost compared to the academic year!
  • In our new contract, the standard summer insurance split will become 85/15!
    • UO will pay 85% of health insurance premiums
    • We will pay 15% of health insurance premiums
    • Same improved split applies for GEs with families/dependents!
    • *Note: Under Article 19, GEs with summer appointments will now have the same 95/5 cost share during the summer as GEs with appointments during the academic year.
  • The new contract also includes significant annual increases to UO contribution to healthcare administration costs ($116,377 in AY2023-2024, $122,196 in AY2024-2025, $128,305 in AY2025-2026).

Article 25 – Respectful Workplace & Support Services

Under the new contract, GEs won:

  • Clearer language around what constitutes workplace bullying.
  • Maintained 4 support GE positions in the Graduate Division (change in job titles, better distribution of responsibilities) and the LERC GE position.
    • Division has agreed to use Workload Allocation Forms for these new positions.

Article 29 – Paid & Unpaid Absences

Under the new contract, GEs won:

  •  Clearer expectations in GDRS for substitution/absence policies
  • Affirmation of GE access to Paid Leave Oregon policies (no-interest, no-fee loans, paid sick time, etc.)
  • 4 weeks additional unpaid Family/Medical Leave on top of 12 weeks Paid Leave Oregon (programs run concurrently, FML extended to 16 weeks)
  • “GEs cannot be required to work on the following holidays observed by the university, except as necessary to maintain or operate critical facilities or operations.”
  • “GEs who observe religious or cultural holidays shall not be unreasonably denied time off in observation of such holidays.”

Article 30 – Grad Student Assistance Fund

Under the new contract, grad students won:

  • New qualifying events for the fund: death of spouse, partner, child, or parent; international GE summer funds; childcare (ages 13 or younger); unexpected loss of housing with less than 60 days notice (unrelated to lease violation).
  • UO will replenish the fund “up to twice per fiscal year” if it drops below $25,000.
  • Improved outreach to GEs with regards to assistance available.

Article 31 – GE Training & Professional Development

Under the new contract, GEs won:

  • GE representation on curriculum committees and decisions.

Salary Wins, Explained

Article 22 – Salary – Overview

Under the new contract:

  • Minimum FTE will be raised from 0.20 to 0.25.
  • Summer FTEs will be raised to correspond to course credit loads (same as academic year).
  • GEs can file a grievance if their pay is late.
  • Raises will be retroactively applied to September 2023.
  • “Across the Board (ATB)” Salary Raises:
    • Rates below $50k for 1.0 FTE 9-mo: Year 1 (10%), Year 2 (4%), Year 3 (4%)
      • Rates above $50K for 1.0 FTE 9-mo: Year 1 (4%), Year 2 (4%), Year 3 (4%)
  • Minimum Salary Raises:
    • GE I: 31.81% (Year 1), 5% (Year 2), 5% (Year 3)
    • GE II: 16.68% (Year 1), 5% (Year 2), 5% (Year 3)
    • GE III: 10.5% (Year 1), 5% (Year 2), 5% (Year 3)

Salary Terminology

  • “Minimum GE Salary” = the minimum rates at which the UO can pay GEs. In our prior contracts, there has been a different minimum rate for GE I, GE II, & GE III levels.
  • Some programs pay GEs above the minimum rates:
    • Before 2019, GTFF only negotiated over minimums.
    • In 2019, we won annual raises of 3% to the min and 1.4% for GEs above the minimum (first ATB raise!)
    • In 2023, we started referring to raises for GEs above the minimum as “across-the-board” (ATB) raises.
  • To check whether you paid are at or above the minimum rates, go to DuckWeb and navigate from the “Student Menu,” to “Notice of GE Appointments,” to “Current Appointment.” Compare the monthly salary listed at the top of your appointment notice to the table on UO’s GE Salary page, as shown in the image below.
  • FTE = “Full Time Equivalent”, or the percent of a 40-hour week for which GEs are paid (0.20-0.49). For decades, the minimum FTE has been 0.20 FTE. In our new contract, the new minimum FTE will be increased to 0.25 by Fall 2024.

2023 Insurance Kickback

  • In 2019, we won contract language (Article 24) that says if our Trust keeps insurance costs low, part of the money we save goes back into minimum GE salary rates.
  • Our Health & Welfare Trust negotiated an excellent insurance renewal package in 2023, creating an “insurance kickback” of 1.475% to the minimum GE rate.
  • This 1.475% raise has already increased min GE rates, retroactive to September 2023. Our new contract raises will be applied on top of the kickback!

The “New Model” for Salary Minimums


Why Restructure GE Pay Levels to a Single Minimum Rate?

  • Under the restructuring, all future GEs will make significantly more money over the length of their entire programs than they would have under the old model.
  • Higher, more consistent salary from the start means more GEs will be able to access graduate degrees from a more diverse range of backgrounds. Restructuring will be especially impactful for GE 1s with dependents and international GE 1s with visas that limit their ability to earn income off campus.
  • If we had continued to increase all GE levels by the same percent, the significant pay gap would have continued to widen between GE 1s & GE 3s (who often do the same work). Closing the pay gap creates greater equity across our unit.
  • It was mutually beneficial. UO’s investment in restructuring helped us get a lot more money into the contract than we think we could have otherwise.
  • Restructuring dramatically raises the floor of our unit.
    • Our goal was to build towards a living wage for all GEs. To do that, we needed to “raise the floor” of our unit (the lowest paid GEs).
    • The GE 1 minimum rate and 0.20 FTE minimum set the current “floor”. To raise those floors, we equalized minimum GE pay across levels (Year 1) + raised the minimum FTE from 0.20 to 0.25 (Year 2).
    • Floor Raise in $: Currently, GE 1s at 0.20 FTE can be paid as little as $789.48/mo. By year 3 of our new contract, the lowest pay for any GE (0.25 FTE) will be raised to $1,434.10/mo.

Minimum Salary Raises and Back Pay

Minimum Salary Cumulative Raises

Minimum Salary Raises in Dollars

Current GE Level
(Raise – Year)
Current Minimum
(0.49 FTE)
Year 1 (2023-2024)

GE 1 – 31.81%
GE 2 – 16.68%
GE 3 – 10.50%
Year 2 (2024-2025)

Year (2025-2026)

GE 131.81% – Year 1
5% – Years 2 & 3
GE 216.68% – Year 1
5% – Years 2 & 3
GE 310.50% – Year 1
5% – Years 2 & 3

Minimum Salary Back Pay in Dollars

Current GE Level
(Year 1 Raises)
Current Minimum Rate
(0.49 FTE)
Fall 2023
Backpay Value
in Dollars
GE 1 31.81%$1934$2152.50 
GE 2 16.68%$2185$1274 
GE 310.5%$2307$847 
**Excludes retroactive 1.45% kickback already applied to Dec paychecks for GEs at the new minimum.

Across-the-Board Salary Raises and Back Pay

Across-the-Board Cumulative Raises


Across-the-Board Raises and Back Pay in Dollars

  • If you’re above the minimum GE salary, enter your pay rate and FTE into our Salary Calculator (created by Bargaining Team member Abhijeet Melkani) to see your monthly raise in dollars!
  • For approximate Fall 2023 backpay, find the difference between your new term salary and your current term salary.