UO Graduate Employee Union Favors Strike Authorization

Oct 18, 2019

A member of the GTFF gives a speech on the steps of Johnson Hall, the UO's administration building on campus.
Credit Melorie Begay/KLCC News

After 11 months of negotiations, over a thousand members of the University of Oregon’s Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (GTFF) are now in favor of going on strike. The union and the institution still have 2 weeks to reach an agreement.

At a rally in front of Johnson Hall on Friday, UO campus graduate students, faculty, and supporters gave speeches about the long hours graduate employees often face and the lack of recognition they receive for the work they do. They also criticized UO President Michael Schill and Board of Trustee members for not caring about their needs.

Union member and UO doctoral student Rajeev Ravisankar said GTFF and the university are currently negotiating on health benefits and fair wages.

"We've seen different reiterations of them trying to drastically restructure the care in way that would potentially reduce benefits. Things like, dental vision, and mental healthcare would be affected and could raise premiums for members who already don't make much money," he said.

Kay Jarvis with UO public affairs sent KLCC the following statement: "The university values the vital work our graduate employees provide in support of the UO academic and research mission. Graduate employees instruct classes, conduct research and support myriad educational programs. Negotiations continue and we are hopeful an agreement can be reached soon."