Contract Negotiations Headed to Mediation for Graduate Employees at University of Oregon
The Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation held a solidarity rally recently as negotiations concerning their new contracts head to mediation. Negotiations have been ongoing for five months between the organization and their employer, the University of Oregon.
According to Rajeev Ravisankar, VP of the organization, there have been nine bargaining sessions held within that time. Ravisankar elaborated, “The big thing here was to show solidarity and show the university and the administration that we are in this together and to show that they should think about how they bargain with us and see that we do have a unified front.”
The most recent proposal submitted by the University includes a one percent raise for Graduate Employees each year for three years. This would be funded by using money from the Graduate Employees’ health insurance contributions. The proposal called the health insurance benefits provided to the group higher than usual, but pointed out the minimum salary is lower.
The Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation stated that they will not compromise on health insurance benefits. In an effort to demonstrate their unwillingness, they paraded through University of Oregon Johnson Hall with drums, whistles and banners, chanting “Hey hey, ho ho, we will not let our health care go,” and “UO works because we do.”
The mediator will bring both sides together to discuss the various options available and attempt to strike a deal between the two sides. The current agreement expired at the end of March. The university is optimistic the mediator will be able to help the two sides reach a compromise.