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Graduate Employee Union Reaches Potential Agreement With UO

Melorie Begay/KLCC News

Averting a November 4 strike, the University of Oregon’s graduate employees reached a tentative bargaining agreement with the administration, Tuesday night.

The Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation represents 1,400 UO employees. After 14-hours of negotions, they retained affordable healthcare coverage, 3% raises for minimum salaries, and 1.4% increases for all salaries.

“We see ourselves -graduate employees, students, staff, faculty- as the university and that our contentious relationship is with the administration and they did many things in negotiation which sort of fueled that,” GTFF VP of External Relations Rajeev Ravisankar said.

Ravisankar said the UO didn't provide legitimate offers for negotiations on visa reimbursement fees for international graduate employees with UO employment contracts. The union has 2 weeks to vote on the agreement.

Response about tentative agreement from UO's Website:

“I am incredibly grateful to the members of the university’s and GTFF’s bargaining teams for their many hours of work to reach a tentative agreement,” said Mark Schmelz, chief human resources officer and associate vice president. “We have achieved an agreement that meets the needs of the university and our graduate employees while remaining good stewards of student tuition and taxpayer dollars.”

This story has been updated for clarification and has corrected international graduate students to international graduate employees. 

Melorie Begay is a multimedia journalist for KLCC News. She was the Inaugural KLCC Public Radio Foundation Journalism Fellow. She has a bachelors in Multimedia Journalism from the University of New Mexico. She previously interned at KUNM public radio in Albuquerque, NM and served as a fellow for the online news publication New Mexico In Depth.