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Graduate Teaching Fellows Hold "Work-In"

Karen Richards

Graduate student teachers at the U of O have been in contract negotiations since late 2013. Today (Friday), the group held a "work-in" on campus to bring attention to their still un-met demands.

Fifteen hundred Graduate Teaching Fellows and Research Assistants work at the U of O. After the most recent bargaining session failed, their union, the GTFF, voted to authorize a strike. PhD student John LaRochelle has been on the bargaining team. Today he's studying quietly with 15 or 20 other students in the administration building:

LaRochelle: "Our main concern is with closing the gap between the minimum GTF salary and the university financial aid office's estimate of what it costs to live in Eugene."

The University said in a statement it is disappointed by the strike vote. It believes the two groups can reach an agreement. The University agrees there is a need to raise GTF salaries. It has offered a 3 percent increase each of the next two years. The union says it would take a 5 point 5 percent increase for six years to meet the cost of living. Negotiations may continue into the summer. If the grad students strike, it won't be until fall. 

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.