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U of O Graduate Student Teachers Rally For Increased Compensation

Karen Richards

The graduate teaching fellows union at the University of Oregon is bargaining for a new contract. They want a higher minimum salary and expanded health care coverage.

A group of over 100 graduate student teachers and their supporters gathered in front of Johnson Hall Friday. They spoke about the need to raise compensation packages in order to attract high-quality graduate students.

David Craig is a PHD student in philosophy.

Craig: “In my department, we lose probably four-fifths of our incoming recruitment class, like our first-choice PHD candidates, because of wages.”

U of O spokeswoman Julie Brown agrees.

Brown: “It’s a competitive environment for graduate teaching fellows, certainly. And that’s something that we take a look at across the board.”

The university has offered a one point five percent wage increase for this year, and another two percent in 2015. The union wants six percent for the next two years. The groups hope to resolve their differences by the end of March, when the current contract expires.

Karen Richards joined KLCC as a volunteer reporter in 2012, and became a freelance reporter at the station in 2015. In addition to news reporting, she’s contributed to several feature series for the station, earning multiple awards for her reporting.