December 11th, 2014
Graduate teaching fellows at the University of Oregon returned to work on Wednesday following an announcement that the two sides reached a tentative labor agreement to end an eight-day strike — the first in the local union’s 38-year history.
The Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation’s bargaining team and the UO administration reached a compromise after a 22-hour mediation session over the sole major sticking point: paid sick leave for GTFs.
The tentative contract agreement would create a $150,000 fund that all GTFs could dip into to cover lost wages in the event of medical or parental leave. Every graduate student, regardless of union membership, would be able to receive up to $1,000 for medical leave, and up to $1,500 for a new child’s birth, adoption or foster placement.
The tentative deal also gives GTFs a 5 percent pay raise for minimum wages retroactive to Sept. 15, and another 5 percent pay increase next year. Depending on seniority, GTFs currently receive at least $553 per month.
Calling it a “qualified victory,” Steve McAllister, a bargaining team member and a biology GTF, said the union is pleased with the overall tentative contact.