Thursday, December 4, 2014

Pickets walk the line for labor deal at UO

Register Guard
December 3rd, 2014

Graduate teaching fellows ditched their classrooms full of undergraduate students at the University of Oregon on Tuesday to strike for a better labor contract.
On Day One of the first-ever Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation strike, the graduate students shouldered picket signs and walked circles in front of 10 buildings across campus.
They plan to do the same today and Thursday — though bargaining team members have agreed to leave the picket lines on Thursday for a sit-down with UO bargainers called by state mediator Janet Gillman.
Both sides said they most sincerely wish that something will give, and that everyone can get back to the business of finishing up the waning days of fall term.
“We’re really worried,” interim President Scott Coltrane said Tuesday. “We don’t want students to miss out on getting a graduation in the next term or qualifying for financial aid, so we’re working to make sure there’s (staffing) coverage for all of the classes.”
This is the first labor negotiation to reach an impasse since the UO’s new Board of Trustees took charge of the university from the state in July.
Strikes were rare under the old system. The last on the UO campus was in 1995, when statewide members of the Service Employees International Union, which represents the UO’s classified workers, walked out. It lasted less than a week.
This year, a key question in the failed negotiations between the GTFF and UO is who’s calling the shots for the administration? Who makes the decisions on contract proposals?

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