December 1st, 2014
About 1,500 graduate students at the University of Oregon are preparing to strike this week.
Negotiations between the University of Oregon and the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation have failed to bring about an agreement.
Grad students say they want two weeks of guaranteed paid medical leave, two weeks of parental leave for having or adopting a child, as well as a raise.
A final round of talks is scheduled for Monday. Students may strike Tuesday.
Jon LaRochelle, a graduate teaching fellow in the philosophy department and part of the bargaining team, said graduate students teach one-third of the classes at the University of Oregon, meaning if they strike the impact could be significant.
“Classes won’t get taught, grades won’t get done, office hours won’t be held,” he said.
He said the two sides are the closest they’ve ever been.
University spokesman Tobin Klinger said they’ve agreed to establish a $150,000-per-year fund.
“It would supply hardship dollars for graduate students that they could apply for, for medical emergencies,” he said.
Klinger said the university is still hoping to avoid a strike, but has contingency plans in place.