The Graduate Teaching Fellows at the University of Oregon have issued a strike notice. Both parties must submit their final contract offers to the state mediator Monday. The main sticking point is paid leave.
The strike notice places the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation, or GTFF, and the University at an impasse, a 30-day cooling off period.
If a strike does take place, it would be a huge work stoppage at the University of Oregon. Joe Henry is a Graduate Student in Anthropology and the President of the GTFF, which has 1,500 members.
Henry: "We teach a third of the classes at the University. We run a lot of the research labs. Many GTFs teach their own classes. It's something that we don't want to do, but we feel that we might have to if these very important needs aren’t met."
Henry says the University hasn't been willing to give Grad students any paid leave time. The GTFF wants 2 weeks sick leave and 2 weeks parental leave. The union is also asking for a 5.5 percent pay raise. The University says it is preparing in case a strike occurs. It has offered a 5 % pay increase to GTFs.