Monday, December 1, 2014

Mediation fails; UO union may walk

Register Guard
December 1st, 2014

The Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation union on the University of Oregon campus says it’s continuing to prepare for a strike on Tuesday after 24 hours of mediation with university bargainers earlier this week failed to produce a tentative settlement.
Union leaders said they plan to stage a rally, at 5 p.m. Monday, outside the Johnson Hall administration building on campus.
The union is demanding a 5.5 percent raise for minimum graduate teaching fellow salaries for each of the next two years, and two weeks of paid medical and parental leave annually for every GTF.
In a statement released Thursday morning, union leaders said 24 hours of mediation over Tuesday and Wednesday failed to head off a potential strike.
Among other issues, the university was unwilling to make paid sick leave a “legally enforceable” part of a new contract, according to the union.
Frances Bronet, the UO’s senior vice president and provost, said in a statement released early Thursday evening that during mediation the university proposed a $150,000-per-year financial hardship fund for which all graduate students, those represented and not represented by the GTFF union, would be eligible.
The fund, Bronet said, would allow graduate students to apply for grants of up to $1,000 for medical emergencies and $1,500 for needed financial support related to the birth or adoption of a child.
The proposed hardship fund, Bronet said, is the latest addition to the university’s offer, which also includes a 9 percent pay increase over two years on minimum graduate student salaries; full tuition waivers; significantly reduced fees ($61 per term for GTF students); and full family health, vision and dental coverage, with the university paying 95 percent of the premium.

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