GTFF rally for 5PM Monday at Johnson Hall draws politicians like … draws …

Update: Looks rainy, but there’s plenty of room inside the lobby, as the UO Coalition discovered last spring.

Coltrane could have settled this a month ago and saved our department heads a lot of time, and the GTFF a lot of megaphone batteries. But no:

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Thanksgiving Day Update: 62-year-old university president fails at ultimatum bargaining with 25-year-old students. His lawyers cash in again.

The GTFF union’s report on how the marathon mediation session broke down is here:

The GTFF bargaining team spent nearly 24 hours on Tuesday and Wednesday in mediation with the UO Administration. The teams collaborated to develop a new model that could meet the GTF need for medical and parental leave. Our bargaining team convened an emergency executive council meeting Tuesday night. The council empowered the bargaining team to move forward with the idea, even though it was not paid leave. Our bargaining team put together proposed language that took the concerns of the executive council into account, but the Administration refused to agree to make the model legally binding in our contract. …

I’ll post a link to the administration’s version when their well-paid PR flacks get around to putting it on “Around the 0”. As a placeholder, here’s our traditional Thanksgiving Day message:

11/26/2014, 8:42 PM update: Seven-year-olds can figure this out, but apparently not Interim President Scott Coltrane, who failed tonight to negotiate a fair deal with UO’s grad students. Disturbing secret video from tonight’s state mediated bargaining session:

11/26/2014 update: Second day of mediation to bring another $10K for HLGR

Rumor down at the Union Hall sauna is that the GTFF is still holed up with the State Mediator and UO’s lawyers. If Jeff Matthews, Sharon Rudnick, and Kate Grado can drag this out for one more day, they can charge double-time for Thanksgiving. On the other hand there’s the risk our Johnson Hall colleagues might have to miss their PAC-12 bowl game junkets because of the strike, or that the NCAA won’t accept “X” grades, and UO will lose some starters for the January football championship playoffs.

11/13/2014 update: Geller, Matthews, Rudnick and Grado to bill $200K from grad student strike

HLGR made it to $125K in billable hours on the GTF negotiations in September. They’re a little behind schedule if they want to get in $200K by the holidays. But a strike would certainly provide many opportunities for extra billings. Presumably bonuses for HLGR’s lawyers are tied to calendar billable hours, as is common, and Dec 31 is fast approaching.

The word is that noted zoning easements lawyer and chief UO labor negotiator Jeff Matthews did not accept a deal at today’s mediation session. Would you, if you could bill $2400 for each day you dragged it out, and your paycheck ended the day you agreed to a fair deal for UO’s grad students?

This is why UO will soon be replacing HLGR with its own labor lawyers. Unfortunately for our grad students they are still stuck dealing with Bob Berdahl’s leftover nastiness. And now with Randy Geller’s too:

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11/10/2014: UO Matters pays UO $94.58 for detailed HLGR invoices on grad student bargaining

Looks like Interim President Coltrane has been getting his public records advice from Bob Berdahl. The President’s Public Records Office wants $94.58 to hand over the invoices showing what Matthews and Rudnick have been doing to earn their $300 an hour. I’ve sent off a check. If you want to contribute to help rebuild the UO M public records fund, here’s the link. Any amount appreciated, and please let me know what documents you’d like me to buy next:



On Friday Nov 7, 2014, at 10:51 AM, Thornton, Lisa <pubrec@uoregon.edu> wrote:

Dear Mr. Harbaugh:

The University of Oregon has received your public records request for “the six detailed HLGR invoices with transactions dates of 24-Sep-14” on 11/05/2014, attached. The office has at least some documents responsive to your request. By this email, the office is providing you with an estimate to respond to your requests.

The office estimates the actual cost of responding to your request to be $94.58. Upon receipt of a check made payable to the University of Oregon for that amount, the office will proceed to locate, copy, and provide the records you have requested that are not exempt from disclosure. Your check may be sent to the attention of Office of Public Records, 6207 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-6207.

11/6/2014: Crowdsourcing reveals UO has paid $125K for outside attorneys to fight GTF union:

It took a few petitions to the District Attorney, but eventually Dave Hubin’s public records office handed over the accounting records on UO’s legal expenses, and I posted them here. Some anonymous do-gooder put them into excel for me, and it seems that UO has paid $125K to HLGR’s labor lawyers Sharon Rudnick, Jeff Matthews, and Kate Grado, to try and prevent the UO grad students from getting ~$100K in sick leave a year. Expect more big bills in October and November.

Add in whatever raises, stipends, and golden parachutes were promised to the faculty and administrators who agreed to sit at the table with HLGR’s Jeff Matthews on the admin bargaining team (Tim Gleason made out very well for sitting next to Sharon Rudnick last year) and you’re starting to talk real money. And of course there’s the $140K UO’s new internal union negotiator “Big Bill” Brady gets:

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No sign yet that Scott Coltrane has the stones to tell Dave Frohnmayer’s law firm to get lost. What a waste of our students’ tuition:

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10/24/2014:Coltrane sticks with Gottfredson’s final offer, and grad students vote to strike.

Interim President Coltrane’s efforts to keep UO in the AAU by increasing our long neglected research side are not off to a good start. On Wednesday, he presented his plan to the UO Senate.

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That plan, if you can call a few powerpoint slides a plan, did not include substantial pay or benefits for grad students. Top graduate students typically receive offers from many universities, offering them pay and benefits as compensation for the teaching and research effort they provide. It’s a competitive game. UO has fallen far, far behind, as Coltrane’s own presentation showed.

The Senate patiently heard Coltrane out and then voted, unanimously, to ignore his claims that he’d made a fair offer, and to instead support the grad student union’s efforts to get the pay and benefits that are essential to attracting top graduate students to UO:

… 1.3 WHEREAS Interim President Coltrane has articulated the need to strengthen the UO graduate programs; …

2.1 BE IT HEREBY MOVED that the UO Senate urge the President to direct the UO Administration’s bargaining team to reach a quick and equitable settlement with the GTFF.

The administration ignored the Senate resolution, and left their offer unchanged. Apparently Coltrane and Interim Provost Frances Bronet do not have the confidence to reverse even the most obviously stupid of Mike Gottfredson’s many stupid decisions. The grad students have now responded by voting – apparently overwhelmingly – to strike.

Coltrane and Bronet now have 30 days to try and save the situation. Meanwhile they’ve thrown their administration into disarray, trying to devise plans to persuade UO’s faculty to scab against their students. It’s going to suck up huge amounts of time from his administrators, department heads, and faculty, and it’s not going to work. Classes will be canceled, grades will will be issued without homework or exams, research projects will be delayed.

The GTFF’s press announcement is here:

Graduate Teaching Fellows (GTFs) at the University of Oregon have been bargaining for almost a year and have been working under an expired CBA since last March.

Members voted to authorize a strike over two issues in particular: wages and paid leave. GTFs voted to maintain the bottom line they decided upon last spring. That bottom line includes: (1) a 5.5% raise to minimum GTF salaries for each of the next two years to begin to close a gap between wages and the cost of living, and (2) two weeks each of paid medical and parental leave annually for every GTF. …

Graduate students have no form of paid leave from work if they are ill, injured, or have recently had children. If a GTF is in a bicycle accident, needs to have his/her appendix removed, or has just given birth, there is no policy that allows that GTF to miss work. If a GTF chooses to take time off, s/he is at risk for wage reduction and insurance termination at a time when it is most needed. The loss of a tuition waiver during unpaid leave (a benefit afforded to graduate employees at nearly all major universities) poses an additional financial hardship for graduate students.

The Faculty Union’s helpful FAQ on the enormous time suck our overpaid administrators have just handed us is here. Bottom line? If Coltrane and Bronet can find faculty willing to scab, they will have to pay – at about 4x the rate the GTF’s get.

  • Faculty have no professional or moral obligation to volunteer to perform the work of striking GTFs.

If the University of Oregon behaves as other administrations have done in similar situations, the administration will try to pressure faculty to cover for striking GTFFs by calling on our commitment to our mission to provide an excellent education to the undergraduate students. They will appeal to our commitment to our careers in order to prevail over the GTFF.

Whatever your stance on the GTFF negotiations, we believe strongly that we have a duty to support our graduate student scholars-in-training in their fight for basic rights in the workplace. We know our graduate teaching fellows are committed to undergraduate education; we work with them every day and see their dedication. We know that striking is a last resort for our GTFs. Standing with our fellow academic employees and graduate students will help us all build a better university.

  • Faculty need not volunteer to perform the work of striking GTFs.

No faculty member is under any obligation to volunteer for a striking academic employee, no matter how trivial the work. The university administration has stated a preference for having faculty volunteer to perform the work of striking GTFs. You have no contractual obligation to volunteer.

  • Faculty have the right to refuse to be assigned the work of striking GTFs if they believe that the additional workload is unreasonable.

10/18/2014: Grad students declare impasse, will hold vote on strike this week

My understanding is that they can strike 30 days after the vote, so presumably it will be the last week of classes, and finals. GTFs are responsible for much of grading, labs, and teach many courses. The administration is drawing up plans purporting to show that the undergrads can finish courses and issue grades without GTF’s. These will be a sham. Everyone knows the university can’t function without the GTFs, but the administration needs to pretend, to try and fool the parents paying the tuition. Hey, maybe Jim Bean will finally get his chance to return to teaching.

According to GTF website the two sides are not even very far apart. In the past the the UO Graduate School has negotiated directly with the GTFs. This time our passive-aggressive former president Mike Gottfredson decided to hire Rudnick and Frohnmayer’s HLGR firm, for some strange reason. Their negotiator Jeff Matthews, whose previous work mostly involved zoning easements and construction contract disputes, has botched it badly.

Any thoughts on why Coltrane didn’t pull the plug on HLGR before it got to this point?

10/8/2014: Grad student union attacks “Around the 0” spinsters

On the GTFF website, here:

With GTFs returning to campus last week, many GTFF members have reported hearing misinformation about bargaining, in particular from pieces published in “Around the O”. We would like to address some of these issues, in order to clear up misunderstandings about the ongoing negotiations between the GTFF and the Administration. …

10/1/2014: PR flack’s story on grad student bargaining ignores grad students

Strategic Communicator Julie Brown’s “Around the 0” story is here. She can’t be bothered to get quotes from the GTFF union or provide links to their site. On the up side it seems like Andy Berglund has dumped HLGR’s Jeff Matthews – or at least Matthews is lying low. That ought to save enough on billable hours to sweeten the GTF offer.

9/8/2014: HLGR’s $300 an hour zoning lawyer unable to negotiate grad student contract

Word is that the 30 day strike clock has started, though presumably the GTF’s will wait until midterms or finals to walk – assuming Coltrane can’t work out a compromise. Does anyone know how far apart the two sides are?

8/21/2014: President settles contract with grad students, no strike!

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Oh wait, that’s President Ed Ray at OSU. No HLGR lawyers were involved. They have a “family leave” policy of some sort, don’t know the details.

Meanwhile here at UO, the grad students have voted to authorize a strike for fall. Mediation over parental leave is today. HLGR’s Jeff Matthews, an expert on zoning easement law, is negotiating for the university administration. The grad students have done the math, parental leave would cost ~$100K a year, or roughly 11% of “A Gott”, and presumably less than UO has paid Matthews and HLGR at ~$300 an hour.

8/19/2014 update: GTF’s call out Coltrane over parental leave hypocrisy

UO’s grad student union and the administration have worked out all contractual issues except paid parental leave. Mediation starts Thursday. Philosophy grad student John LaRochelle, explains the sticking-point in an RG Op-Ed, here:

Scott Coltrane — interim president following President Michael Gottfredson’s resignation and head of the committee overseeing the administration’s bargaining team — has refused to entertain any form of parental leave for GTFs. Ironically, in a recent visit to the White House as an expert on parental leave, he argued that paternity leave is important for both working parents and their employers. He said in a recent interview that “…businesses that want to be successful will develop the policies needed to allow employees to balance family and work.” In his new position, we hope that he will take his own advice.

6/30/2014 update: Gottfredson resumes paying big bucks to HLGR to bargain with GTF’s

Bargaining continues today at 2:30 in the Walnut Room, check twitter for the latest: https://twitter.com/hashtag/GTFF3544?src=hash and also http://hiredgunsandhiredhelp.blogspot.com/.

The latest on how much Gottfredson is willing to pay Jeff Matthews of HLGR and Melinda Grier to piss off our PhD students is here. As Charles Pinckney said to Talleyrand: “Millions for lawyers, but not one cent for pregnancy leaves.”

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6/20/2014 update: 1 PM today, Walnut room EMU As always, check The Hired Gun for the live-blog: http://hiredgunsandhiredhelp.blogspot.com/ The GTFF facebook page notes: “The GTFF Health and Welfare Trust is very excited to announce that they’ve added major dental, much improved vision, and improved prescription drug out of pocket costs for all GTFs starting in Sept.AND the Trust negotiated with Pacificsource to expand those benefits AND reduce premiums at the same time. So the Administration is going to save a very large amount of money (half million) that we hope to see invested in GTFs compensation. The administration knows what our bottom line is and knows that a strike is possible this fall.

5/23/2014: UO’s grad students, who teach 33% of UO’s undergrad classes, just voted 98% to 2% to authorize a strike

The grad student union post is here. Demonstration at Johnson Hall, 1PM Friday. Perfect timing, just when Gottfredson’s lunch wraps up. My take? Gottfredson knows he should raise grad student pay, but he thinks that a strong stance against those communist PHD chemistry students is his last chance to build a bridge to the hardliners on the UO Board of Trustees. Pathetic to be sure, but that’s where our dear leader’s head is at: destroying UO, to try and save himself.

5/17/2014: Grad student union to vote this week on a strike

Grad student union meets, “overwhelmingly” approves a formal strike vote for this week. The earliest date for a strike would be fall quarter. The administration’s lawyer – a $290 an hour expert on zoning easements – walked out of the bargaining session on Wed, saying he wouldn’t come back until the grad students agreed to take smaller raises or higher health care payments. Apparently Gottfredson had not even told the UO Trustees that bargaining was underway. How far apart are the two sides? The GTFF has an excellent analysis here. It’s about $1.1M a year. That’s about 2/3 the cost of a basketball coach, 1/2 the cost of the Jock Box subsidy, or (at ~$20K tuition) the revenue from about 55 undergraduate students.

5/15/2014 update: Gottfredson wants to add a graduate student strike, to top off all the other disasters he has brought “The University”? From the Hired Gun live-blog, http://hiredgunsandhiredhelp.blogspot.com/:

The admin then further refuses to engage in any further bargaining sessions. This is bad faith bargaining 101. … They are refusing to bargain further on the economic package. 

5/14/2014 update:  Read the Hired Gun for the live-blogging. Twitter reports here, GTFF website here.

GTFF Bargaining in room 202 of the Ford Alumni Center, starts at 2:45 today. While Gottfredson spends his time on the latest sports scandal, his administration stumbles along, letting his $290 an hour HLGR attorney Jeff Matthews – an expert on zoning easements and land condemnation – take charge of the University of Oregon’s graduate education and research efforts.

From the PhD student blog:

We want to know if the feel that the package they have proposed goes towards fulfilling the educational mission of the university and how it reflects the university president’s stated goal of improving compensation for GTFs.

Fancy Lawyer isn’t aware of the President’s statement, because he admits that statement was not included in the preparation for this bargaining cycle. He basically just admitted that the university president played no role in the management meetings that prepped for this bargaining session. Add that to the growing list if things Fancy Lawyer should know, but doesn’t. And add that the the growing list of things the university president should be doing, but doesn’t.

5/7/2014 update: Rumor is that UO’s only overpaid professor is dusting off his Soc 101 transparencies, just in case he gets called in to scab:

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Meanwhile the GTFF has two more bargaining sessions scheduled with President Gottfredson’s hilarious $290 an hour negotiator: Wednesday, May 7th, 12:30-3:30pm, in PAC 16; and Friday, May 9th, 3pm-5pm, in Fenton 110.

5/1/2014 update: UO tuition money is paying $290 an hour for Attorney Jeff Matthews’ sense of humor? The UO Senate will soon debate a resolution calling on President Gottfredson to stop stalling and reach an agreement with the grad student union. They’ve been working for months without a contract, because the administration is hung up over a few 100K in raises. One issue for the Senate will be the cost to UO of the lawyers doing the negotiations. Judging from his resume, the UO administration’s chief negotiator, HLGR’s Jeff Matthews, has little to no experience with higher education or with labor law or labor negotiations:

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So Randy Geller is paying him $290 an hour for on-the-job-training?

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Or maybe that’s the going rate for what the HLGR website says is his sense of humor and quick wit?

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4/25/2014: GTFF bargaining resumes at 3 PM in 112 Lillis. Word is that the admin is still stonewalling on pay and health, saying they need the money to pay the HLGR lawyers and Duck coaches. Gottfredson still hasn’t signed the academic freedom policy, but the GTFF’s are blogging http://hiredgunsandhiredhelp.blogspot.com and tweeting https://twitter.com/GTFF_3544 anyway.

4/18/2014 update from http://hiredgunsandhiredhelp.blogspot.com. Also check https://twitter.com/GTFF_3544

Fancy Lawyer: “The University’s finances are tight.” The room bursts into laughter.

We are discussing the University’s record endowment profits, and the continued inability to present us with evidence that the University is in such dire straits.

5:17 pm: If the University is going to claim that it cannot afford anything, we want evidence of this.

5:19 pm: The room just broke into applause for Amber, who will not put up with the University’s continued inability to craft an argument and provide evidence for their inability to adjust their budget.

4/11/2014: GTFF bargaining restarts today, 3:30 in 112 Lillis. The grad student live-blog is here. The word is that the raise proposals will be on the table. Still no numbers on how much UO money Gottfredson and Geller have paid Frohnmayer’s law firm to negotiate against our grad students. The GTF contract has expired, so they can give notice of a strike soon. Why not – that worked out pretty well for the PSU faculty, and Gottfredson can hardly we don’t have the money for grad students, given his largess with Tim Gleason and Jim Bean’s golden parachute sinecures. Meanwhile still no word on what happened to Mark Yuran, the $180K Chief of Human Resources who was hired in fall to be in charge of these negotiations, but is now suddenly gone from the HR website:

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2/6/2014 update: UO’s graduate student union is asking faculty and others to sign a petition endorsing their efforts to extract a reasonable contract from the UO administration. Sign here. Assuming that The University can clear the sidewalks, bargaining resumes Friday 2/7/2014 at 3PM, in the EMU Ben Linder room. Show up early for a good seat, the administration’s bargaining team tends to mumble. It’s almost as if they’re embarrassed about something. Their current offer is for 1.5% this year, 2% next. I’m no economist, but I’m thinking this is not a rational strategy for recruiting top PhD students and keeping us in the AAU. Maybe Gleason should throw in a goat? 1/24/2014: I haven’t done the math – perhaps Gordon Taylor has – but I’m guessing Coltrane’s $2.2M subsidy for jock box operations would fund a 10% raise for all our GTFs, including those now above the UO minimums.
Update on today’s session: The UO administration’s efforts to destroy any sense of trust with The University are going swimmingly. From the grad-student bargaining blog:

Now were being fed this f**king sophistry about how the tuition waiver is part of our pay, so raises in tuition are de facto raises to us. Remind me never to hire this guy to to be my lawyer. Our organizer points out that we generate revenue in the form of bringing in students by the classes we teach. We ask for the tuition brought in by classes taught by GTFs. Fancy Lawyer doesn’t know. We tell him it’s roughly 1/3 of total tuition revenue THEY ARE CLAIMING NOT TO BE AWARE OF THEIR TOTAL TUITION REVENUE. “THEY” ARE THE HEAVILY COMPENSATED LAWYER AND THE HEAD OF UNIVERSITY FINANCE. This is tantamount to my students showing up to my class and me informing them that I have no idea about what they want me to teach. I’d be fired for that. Summarily, if Fancy Lawyer had his way.

I wonder if Tim Gleason is going to do a fact-check on this one? Maybe he and Geller will post some defamatory comments about the grad students?

1/24/2014 update: GTFF bargaining is Friday, 3PM or 3:30, probably in the Ben Linder room in the EMU. If you know better post a comment.

1/19/2014 update: The administration’s bargaining team for the GTFF negotiations apparently includes:

The next bargaining session is Thursday Friday, 3PM, in the storied Knight Library “Collaboration Room”. The last thing UO needs to do if we want to stay in the AAU is alienate grad students. The stipends are embarrassingly small, the least we can do is show them a little respect. But from the GTFF’s twitter feed and the Hired Gun blog, it appears President Gottfredson is letting Mr. Matthews pull the same stunts on the grad students that Sharon Rudnick used to destroy his relationship with the faculty – down to petty stuff like moving the bargaining sessions to a room too small for the crowd – about 60 at the last session, apparently. How much money is Harrang charging for this? Let’s find out:

The University of Oregon has received your public records request for “invoices for all legal or other consulting services related to UO bargaining with UAUO or the UO GTFF, from 6/10/2013 to the present” on 12/17/2013, attached. The office has at least some documents responsive to your request. By this email, the office is providing you with an estimate to respond to your requests. The office estimates the actual cost of responding to your request to be $261.20.

Update: The Chronicle has a story with a variety of anecdotes about PhD student debt. Does anyone know where to find actual data? Grad students live-blogging their bargaining now here. A snippet:

3:22 p.m. Our bargaining team is here and in place. Guess which bargaining team is nowhere to be found?

3:30 p.m. We’re supposed to be starting. 3/5 of the university team is here. Maybe they need to organize.

3:34 p.m. We’re leading with leave. Parental issues leading the day. Starting with Article 27, governing sick leave. And the $500k/yr lawyer didn’t bring his copy of the CBA to the table.

12/7/2013:UO hires lawyer to negotiate new contract with GTFF union Jennifer Hernandez has the story in the ODE:

The GTFF has advocated on behalf of graduated students since 1976. Contracts are renewed every two years.

For the first time, the UO has hired a lawyer to be the lead negotiator of its five-member bargaining team for this specific contract. In the past, a human resource representative has acted as the lead negotiator.

Surely not Sharon Rudnick and Harrang Long etc. again! We’ll have a live-blog from the Friday bargaining session, Friday, Dec. 13 at 2 p.m. in the EMU Ben Linder Room.

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106 Responses to GTFF rally for 5PM Monday at Johnson Hall draws politicians like … draws …

  1. Anon says:

    Well there goes the hope Gottfredson might at least learn from his mistakes

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  2. OA Anon says:

    I don’t understand why this is a story. The position is vacant for the HR Rep who would normally do the negotiating. I suppose Terry Smith could be the negotiator instead of an outside attorney, but I don’t see advantage there. . . ?

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  3. “I don’t understand why this is a story. The position is vacant for the HR Rep who would normally do the negotiating. I suppose Terry Smith could be the negotiator instead of an outside attorney, but I don’t see advantage there. . . ?”

    I believe the implicit point is that this is an example of more cronyism on behalf of the University: After 30 plus years of negotiating with the GTFF with no outside assistance, it was only after Dave Frohnmayer, the former University of Oregon President, goes to work at the law firm Harang, Long, Gary Rudnick that Frohnmayer’s buddies at the University of Oregon actually *changed the state law* to allow for Frohnmayer’s firm to receive a contract and then have Frohnmayer’s buddies get nice paychecks from the state’s coffers.

    Additionally, even if we were to believe that Harang was offering the University a discounted rate, it is still *way more expensive* to have them involved in negotiations rather than to continue with in-house negotiators.

    There is no savings for the University of Oregon, there is no benefit to the GTFF, faculty, or students. The only result is largesse to Frohnmayer’s law firm.

    That said, I actually do not share the opinion that Frohnmayer is a bad guy. But, I am willing to call out cronyism where it exists.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Scott Coltrane recently wrote an article for the Atlantic arguing for the effectiveness of paid parental leave policies in promoting gender equity in the workplace (http://bit.ly/19yJkIc). It was well-argued and compelling.

    So I wonder if The University(tm) will offer to add parenting leave to the GTFF contract. UO currently has paid parental leave for faculty but not for grad students. Yet research shows that grad school is one of the leakiest parts of the pipeline for women (http://bit.ly/1dfvipB). That is due in large part to work-family conflicts generated by the way that academic careers are currently structured.

    From what I understand, the GTFF has not asked for paid parental leave, but that does not stop The University(tm) from offering it. This is right in Coltrane’s intellectual wheelhouse, and this is a time when he’s supposed to be showing us signs of leadership. Whaddya think, Scott?

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  5. Hilarius Bookbinder says:

    We have asked for paid parental leave in this bargaining cycle. The university’s response yesterday was that we are 3-month employees, so it’s ridiculous to think we rate 6 weeks paid parental leave.

    In reality, we’re 2-7 year employees…unless the university wants to admit–as they have refused to do so thus far in bargaining–that they do not consider GTF contracts to be binding.

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  6. “Scott Coltrane recently wrote an article for the Atlantic arguing for
    the effectiveness of paid parental leave policies in promoting gender
    equity in the workplace (http://bit.ly/19yJkIc). It was well-argued
    and compelling.

    So I wonder if The University(tm) will offer to add parenting leave to
    the GTFF contract. UO currently has paid parental leave for faculty
    but not for grad students. Yet research shows that grad school is one
    of the leakiest parts of the pipeline for women
    (http://bit.ly/1dfvipB). That is due in large part to work-family
    conflicts generated by the way that academic careers are currently
    structured.

    From what I understand, the GTFF has not asked for paid parental
    leave, but that does not stop The University(tm) from offering it.
    This is right in Coltrane’s intellectual wheelhouse, and this is a
    time when he’s supposed to be showing us signs of leadership. Whaddya
    think, Scott?”

    I believe they are finally asking for paid parental leave now.

    Back when I was among the leadership of the GTFF, I pushed for paid
    parental leave for graduate workers, but got shot down by Dave Cecil’s
    bargaining team. I’m glad to see they might finally be making some
    progress.

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  7. Hilarius Bookbinder says:

    Re: Ph.D student debt data, here’s a good start: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/lv?key=0An-UdyZNOVCQdGVJN3hWU0EtbjRwR2t1R1JLR19Hd0E&toomany=true

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  8. Ferris Bueler says:

    Looking at the ph.d. debt, there are a lot of stupid myopic people. Taking out 120,000 in debt to get a Ph.d in American Lit?

    Even over 25 years that’s like 700-800 a month. In my view, the problem isn’t that wages are too low for people taking out 120,000 in debt. They would have needed a stipend of 40k a year while in school to avoid taking on debt if they are taking out 120k in debt over 50 years. They problem is student loans from the fed are not managed like regular loans, so there is no due diligence to see if people have the ability to pay back the 120k they are taking out.

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  9. reasoner says:

    See also http://100rsns.blogspot.com/ (100 reasons not to go to graduate school — mostly humanities-focused)

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  10. not the Chem DH -- and not Mark! says:

    Mark Lonegan [sic] from Chemistry? (It’s Lonergan). The department that pays above-scale? That uses the above-par UO health benefits for GTTF’s as a recruiting tool for grad students? The one with several kids himself? Better look for someone else on the bargaining team to trash.

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  11. uomatters says:

    I’m not trashing any of these people, (except the Harrang dude) just posting a list of the people on the administration bargaining team. I hope the faculty involved have the backbone to stand up to to Harrang and Geller, who seemed to take so much joy in trashing the faculty during our bargaining sessions, and won’t let the same thing happen with our GTF’s.

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  12. Phillip Morris says:

    Who could have guessed that hiring tobacco company litigators to negotiate with your colleagues and students would turn out so badly?

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  13. go GTFF! go Amber!

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  14. oh no snow says:

    2/7 Bargaining has been cancelled:

    Greetings GTFF Members:

    Given that the National Weather Service hours ago issued an updated “Winter Storm Warning” for the Willamette Valley in effect from 10am today til 6pm tomorrow (yesterday this was only a “Winter Storm Watch”), given that residents of this area have been advised to limit or avoid travel if possible, and given that the updated forecast is for additional snow later this morning and likely freezing rain and sleet later in the day, the GTFF has elected to reschedule the bargaining session planned for today at 3:30pm in the EMU Ben Linder Room.

    We feel it would be irresponsible to expect GTFs and other members of the campus community to extend their time on campus to attend the session, and have heard reservations expressed by numerous GTFs about their ability to safely travel to campus this afternoon for the occasion.

    We are currently working on scheduling a make-up session (possibly for sometime next week), and will be in touch with details they are available.

    Note that the University of Oregon has, as of now, only canceled classes and events until 10am this morning.

    Please direct any questions or concerns you may have about this my way, and please be safe if you must leave home today.

    All best,
    David Craig
    President, GTFF

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  15. unionized students blah, blah, blah says:

    I am not a fan of unions in academia; nevertheless, the absolute disinterest and ignorance displayed by the lawyers (hired by UO admin) in the negotiation process with the GTFF union and the Faculty union demonstrate how tone deaf and useless UO admin really are. The refuse to take responsibility for anything but keeping their above comparator paychecks, above comparators.

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    • chuck says:

      What the hell makes you think admins were of any use at any time?

      The ultimate fault lies with the brain dead undergrads and their loan bargaining parents, who simply cannot understand the depth of corruption within university administrations. University of Minnesota stonewalled their state senate, which kept asking why so many admins, what are their roles, their job descriptions, etc. Admins kept saying we can’t get you that info, too much duty overlap, people take on more work than initially tasked, all that crap. It took the Wall Street Journal to uncover that U of M had at least 1/3 more admins than any other comparable Midwest public university. Of course, the tuition had skyrocketed to fund that nonsense. Despite that, the student enrollment has skyrocketed over the last decade, even though university corruption is apparent if anyone would do the most basic cost benefit analysis. Same is true of U of O….

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      • Max Powers says:

        2 things are burying universities and colleges around the country:
        1)Loss of State support. The cost of education, adjusted for inflation, hasn’t increased all that dramatically. It boils down to who is now paying for it. Those “loan borrowing parents” you talk about all want a computer lab in every building, a health center, a rec center, a dining facility, learning centers, disability resources, student services, student activities, campus security, etc. They want all of those things. Someone has to run all of those things.
        2)Retirement and health insurance costs. These both have skyrocketed as contribution rates for pensions have gone through the roof to prop up funding %s.

        I am not going to suggest that every University dos not have too many admins. Some do. There is a lot of complaint about admins and how many there are. One of the issues you have is that students demand more and more services and those services come with admins. Another problem is over-regulation that leads to more admins to comply with regulations. The fear of not complying with this or that often leads to a certain amount of bloat.

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        • chuck says:

          Honestly, I’ve not seen any evidence that incoming students are demanding more and more money be spent on buildouts of recreation centers nor athletic facilities, or any of the services that are claimed they supposedly demand. In fact, the opposite is true, students are asking that money be spent on academics, not on any more buildings or services that are nothing more than marketing ploys. Case in point with U of O, was the continued vote by students against anymore money for the Student Recreation Center. That thing went up for three votes, and the admins did every dirty trick they could, including having a vote during finals week, when students would be the most distracted, in order to get the vote the admins wanted, which they eventually got, though the vote turnout was pitifully low. And there was no student support, nor any real community support, as well, for the fiasco of the Matt Knight Arena.

          If you were to ask students if they would be willing to put up with fewer services in order to keep down tuition, there would be an overwhelming vote for that proposal. Much of what is said that students want or need is urban legend, and it’s beginning to show as the U of O incoming rates are beginning to fall, and quite dramatically. Relying on administration justifications for why more money should go into their pockets is not real good form….

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          • Max Powers says:

            I agree with you to a point. I think the model exists in a University of Phoenix kind of way, but without the “for profit” mentality. I just think public Universities have become something different as schools try to outdo each other on amenities. Students are demanding these things through the recruitment and admissions process.

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          • chuck says:

            @ MaX Powers, Actually, they’re not given a choice, nearly every public uni is participating in the arms race, and there is evidence that students have had enough. For instance, at University of New Mexico, the student body voted down an increase in tuition for athletic related expenses, but the Pres ignored that vote, and went ahead with the tuition increase. Same thing is taking place at Colorado State, where they have Kilkenny doing his magic in attempting to get a $250 million buildout of their football stadium, despite the bulk of the student body saying no, they don’t want it. When students get a chance to vote, increasingly, they’re saying no to ever more tuition hikes to fund anything, including the U of O rec center, which needed to three votes to get past student reticence…

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  16. Max Powers says:

    I do hope you are right. I would like to see things change for my own children’s sake. I think the “arms race” has been furthered as state support eroded and Universities fight over students like commodities.

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    • Observer says:

      My guess is that they are not aiming at current students but at prospective students. Current students naturally don’t want to hand over their money for these things. But prospective students are happier to come to a university where the luxuries are already in place. I’m not saying it’s a good thing — in fact I deplore it.

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      • chuck says:

        @Observer, what prospective students? It’s becoming apparent that nearly all universities are showing a fall in student enrollment, so if TPTB are truly interested in the future, they would be scaling down, not building up….

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  17. WTF? says:

    Easements and condemnations? Construction law?

    It’s all starting to make sense.

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  18. M&A lawyer says:

    $290 x 2,000 billable a year ain’t bad, though still a bit shy of what your Rob Illig could have made.

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  19. So we’re being asked to bargain with a lead negotiator who:

    1.) Has no special expertise in the relevant specializations,

    2.) Has a potential conflict of interest (the longer bargaining goes one, the more hours billed & therefore, etc.),

    3.) Is not a member of the university community and therefore has no interest in maintaining bonds of collegiality, etc.

    In fact, he has no stake at all in these negotiations, beyond the billable hours. He will walk away from the smoldering wreck that is the relationship between the GTFF and the administration with his pockets handsomely lined, just as Rudnick did after UA won their contract.

    It strikes me, then, that HGLR’s presence on this campus is deleterious to the President’s stated goals of inclusiveness and diversity. They are bad for the university community, as a whole.

    With a new board coming in July, I think it’s time UA, SEIU, & GTFF make a concerted effort to remove HGLR from the campus, and that we do so by demanding Gottfredson stick his stated goals, and if he refuses, then we go at it by exposing HGLR publicly for what they are: parasites leeching tuition dollars and leaving a disease of distrust between the administration and the rest of the campus workers in their wake.

    I can also assure UOM that GTFs are very interested to hear more about this Senate resolution…

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  20. *stick to his stated goals…

    (there are typos, and then there are howlers…)

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    • uomatters says:

      You made your point, with the pointy end of the stick ;)

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  21. feloniousducksrule says:

    Jeff Matthews’ claim to fame is that he represented the city of Eugene in Federal court when a dozen victims of EPD officers/convicted felons Roger Magana and Juan Lara sued the city. Jeff filed a “motion for summary judgment” which asks the court to dismiss the case immediately. This gave the opposing lawyer a chance to refute his “argument.” The judge was so disgusted by Jeff that he wrote a scathing order denying the frivolous motion. This forced the city to pay $5 million to settle the suit. You don’t need to just factor in the $290/hour – you need to factor in all of the other costs that will accrue due to his incompetence. Obviously, these non-salary costs won’t equal $5 million but they probably won’t equal zero. The incestuous relationship between UO and Harrang (e.g. hiring Frohnmayer) should be kept behind closed doors

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    • Wait, so Gottfredson claims he wants a safe campus and that he stands with survivors, even as he’s paying $290/hr for a lawyer who defended rapist cops?

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      • anona says:

        See, on the one hand I think the lawyer is a grade-A awful person. But unless he took the case pro bono, lawyers defend awful people, that’s their job.

        It’s better to attack the lawyer on the fact that we shouldn’t be negotiating with a lawyer, that’s what you do after you’re done bargaining. Or (as you so often do) his incompetence, both the real stuff and that which was feigned in order to stall. Or his disrespect turning what should be a well intentioned negotiation into something that has gotten extremely adversarial.

        Love your blog, though

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      • Thanks!

        I get that the lawyer has a job. I’m not passing judgment on him for taking a client. Everyone has a right to a defense. I’m just trying to say that this is just one of many reasons the presence of HGLR lawyers on our campus is anathema to the stated goals of the university.

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  22. village idiot says:

    if there was ever a time to strike…….it is now!

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  23. Opportunity cost says:

    Face facts, students. “The University” had to choose between hiring a public speaking coach for Gottfredson, or paying you a living wage. It’s tough decisions like these that explain why they get the big bucks.

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  24. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    UO is beginning to remind me, of course in a minor minor league sort of way, of the days — late LBJ, Nixon, Carter and all that — when people really began to wonder if the the country had become permanently ungovernable.

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  25. What happened today? says:

    Is there a strike?

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    • There is not a strike. But our bargaining team is now empowered to call a strike, within legally established guidelines.

      The administration’s attorney (emboldened by faceless VPs too craven to show up) wanted this from the start. He did not think we could mobilize.

      He thought wrong.

      We do not want to strike, but we are ready to do so if the administration refuses–as they have thus far–to show respect and fairness at the bargaining table. We’ve been pushed to this point; we did not come here willingly.

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  26. uomatters says:

    See http://gtff3544.net/bargaining-update-may-14th/

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  27. Re: Gottfredson’s Role in this debacle of performance by the administration bargaining team.

    The admin’s attorney told us at the bargaining table, when we invoked Gottfredson’s promise to improve grad student compensation in response to the benchmarking report, that Gott’s statements were not part of the “management meetings” held prior to bargaining. He then further stated that “Personally, I’m suspicious of anything a politician says, even a university president.”

    Gottfredson isn’t running the show. He’s clearly demonstrated he’s incapable of doing so.

    So the real question is: who is in control at UO, and why?

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    • me too says:

      thumbs up!

      I have been wondering this for a while. I thought for a bit that Randy was the conduit but now he is moving on to his next opportunity.

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      • Anonymous says:

        This is an important thread –cord?– to follow. Who, indeed, is in charge and setting the agenda? Keep it in mind as events transpire, which they will shortly.

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        • We asked Jeff directly, at the table, who was making the decisions.

          Answer: the Provost.

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          • Anonymous says:

            So you’re saying Coltrane is showing his true stripes? And who is telling HIM what to do .. the Foundation?

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  28. skepticaldude says:

    I still think the grad student union is incredibly short sighted.

    Focus on time off to write your dissertation and more travel and research support. Wasting time discussing family leave and pith pay you’re losing while you should be focused on preparing yourself to find a job.

    Why? Because the grad union wants more in dues, not to help you get a better job when graduate.

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    • skepticsshouldbeinformed says:

      The administration very clearly delineates between student work and GTF work. Asking for time off to write our dissertations would be an unrelated uphill battle as regards to our 3 month contracts (which are renewed for up to 2-7 years). The university would only tell us that that is what fellowships and grants are for. And your claim about the union’s intentions is woefully and objectionably unsupported.

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  29. Observer says:

    Full support to the graduate union from me.

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  30. Oryx says:

    I still don’t understand this whole processes. On the one hand, the administration is being inept and oafish. On the other hand, I don’t see why the administration matters. Every department is free to set its stipend levels to whatever they want. In mine (in the sciences) its much higher than in the humanities, and students are generally happy with it. What’s stopping a department that pays its GTFs a paltry wage from raising stipends? Why is this an issue of the university, rather than departments?

    Some people might answer that the departments don’t have money to raise stipends. In this case, the obvious solution is to have fewer GTFs, each paid more. Some people might respond to this that there wouldn’t be enough people to teach certain classes. The solution to this is to offer fewer classes. Then, continuing, undergraduates might get upset. But this doesn’t hurt the department, and should have the benefit that angry students paying tuition would, hopefully, cause pressure on the administration to increase funds for the in-demand department. I’m no economist, but it seems like supply and demand should fairly easily lead to a campus with better paid (though fewer) graduate students.

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  31. Not another one says:

    Why on earth would you run a major university by supply and demand? The university is supposed to be the place of intellectual exploration; it isn’t a Fortune 500 trying to please stockholders. And anyway, the college controls the budgets, not the departments. Your salary is paid by grants and undergrads.

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    • Oryx says:

      Sentence 3: At least in departments I’m aware of, it is not true that “the college controls the budgets.” As I wrote, departments are free to set stipends to whatever they decide. Is this not true? I’d be happy to be wrong. If it is true, why don’t various departments set stipends higher? (as I asked)

      Sentence 4: My salary is largely paid by undergrad tuition. It is for that reason that I think it important to note the link between their existence, needs, dreams, etc., and things like salaries.

      Sentence 2: I have no idea where this comes from; see 4.

      Sentence 1: In your mind, “supply and demand” might immediately bring to mind hedge fund managers and rapacious CEOs, I’m using the term to highlight that for every intellectually wonderful thing we as faculty, instructors, GTFs, students, etc., do, we try to rationally think through what resources we have, and how to deploy them. Your comment works well for telling GTFs: you’re here for intellectual exploration, why worry about money? — which I think is awful.

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      • saymway says:

        Your free-market analysis is way off base. Departments can’t/won’t offer fewer courses because they need the undergraduate enrollment to maintain their tuition income. Bigger sections would mean bigger classrooms that we don’t have. Fewer, better-paid GTFs won’t happen if it means that regular faculty either have to teach more or can’t staff labs, etc.

        GTFs in STEM are paid more because of competition with other schools and the much greater availability of grant money. I’m thrilled that you’re happy with your stipend, but the fact that you have (a tiny bit) more leverage means you have a greater obligation to stand up for the interests of those whom the University is shafting even worse. Objecting that you personally won’t get a raise is a shitty, selfish attitude. These bargaining priorities were set by the union as a whole, and our (considerable) power as a union derives entirely from our willingness to stick together.

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        • Oryx says:

          Wow, what a response! Angrily flailing your arms about, calling names. I probably shouldn’t bother responding, but I am honestly trying to get a better understanding of this.

          Paragraph 1. You write, “Departments can’t/won’t offer fewer courses because they need the undergraduate enrollment to maintain their tuition income.” Sort of. When I’ve asked about this, I’ve been told that there isn’t a direct link between course enrollment and income. In other words, if dept X’s enrollment drops by 20%, its budget isn’t cut by 20%. I’m sure that in the long term these things would be tied to each other, but the present budget model doesn’t link them at the level of departments. If this is factually wrong, please correct me.

          Even if what you wrote were true, I still don’t understand it. Suppose I’m faculty in department X, and I could (a) pay 10 GTFs $24k/year and offer 10 good courses, not too large, or (b) pay 20 GTFs $12k/year and offer 20 good courses. Which would I do?

          To me, it seems clear that (b) is the proper choice, and the statement that we “need” to offer 20 courses is irrelevant, if doing so means we treat GTFs badly. Choosing between (a) and (b), it doesn’t help to say, well, other fields have it better (or worse).

          Put yet another way, why aren’t _departments_, rather than GTFs, leading the fight to get appropriate funds to support graduate students?

          Paragraph 2: I don’t know where to begin with this one. Obviously, the STEM situation is different, but the point is that we *want* solidarity and decent support for all. Nowhere did I say, or would I ever say, anything about “objecting” that people in STEM wouldn’t get raises, and I really can’t imagine how you read this into my comment, other than that any question whatsoever triggers a knee-jerk reaction that it violates “solidarity.” If this is your response to the simple question of what is preventing departments from improving graduate stipends, a question that isn’t in any way critical of graduate students in any field, good luck getting support for the strike in Fall.

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          • For my part, I am in a (non-STEM) dept. where every bit of surplus funding is committed to giving raises to the GTFs. We still fall ~$400/month short of the university’s own estimated standard of living. Additionally, we pay about 50% less per year than our closest comparator.

            I know for a fact that on at least 2 separate occasions my department head has gone to the college to ask for additional funds to improve GTF stipends so that we can recruit competitively. On both occasions those funds have been denied by the college.

            So it’s simply wrong to say (1) that departments can raise stipends to whatever level they wish and (2) that departments aren’t fighting this fight along with us. I know my department head is not the only department head who does this. My department head (along with the current DGS and the 2 previous DGS’s) fights tirelessly for this. But the response to those holding the purse strings is the same as we have gotten at the bargaining table. This university is committed to using the surplus labor value provided by grad students (and NTT faculty, FWIW) as a source of profit, and they aren’t going to let department heads significantly alter that structure.

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          • *response from those holding the purse strings

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          • anon says:

            I’ve had similarly bizarre conversations with union members, where a simple statement that contains some buzzword sets off an angry rant completely hostile to some imaginary point I never made.

            That said, I don’t think teaching fewer courses with higher paid GTFs is any more possible than just paying GTFs more with the current course load. Since the revenue is undergrad tuition, fewer courses wouldn’t mean more money is available for the reduced # of GTFs.

            I do think that a union is needed here (this is not in response to Oryx, but to this thread). Salary has little to do with value, but instead with scarcity and difficulty of replacement. GTFs are not scarce, and many are replaced yearly as some finish and new ones enter. So the only real way to change things is to unionize. However, one difficulty is that being a GTF is a transient phase. An autoworker is willing to strike because any benefit will impact a long career. A strike here may only help for a year or two, and could have a large negative impact (e.g. someone competing with other researchers to publish in an area… publishing first means a better post-doc and better future.) So while one can appeal to a person’s sense of obligation, or claim that what was decided “as a whole” should override any personal interests, pushing that too hard will create fissures as the sacrifices mount.

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          • Oryx says:

            Thanks HB (& anon 3:24) for the useful responses. I still don’t understand “So it’s simply wrong to say (1) that departments can raise stipends to whatever level they wish.” Do you mean that they really don’t have the power to raise them, or that they can’t raise stipends without offering fewer classes and making everyone miserable?

            Continuing along these lines, let’s say the GTFs strike, classes can’t be held, the administration realizes that graduate students are necessary for the functioning of the university (true!), and distributes more money for graduate stipends. Alternatively, let’s say departments cut the number of graduate students, paying them more, cutting offered classes drastically, until the administration realizes that graduate students are necessary for the functioning of the university (true!), and distributes more money for graduate stipends. The second case is kind of like a strike, but of departments refusing to play the game of being undersupported by the administration. Is your argument that the second case is worse than the first, or that the second case is just not likely to happen? Of course, the second case will fail if one department, no matter how noble its head, acts alone.

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          • anon says:

            We know departments can raise stipend levels since some departments have raised them. But in the sciences these extra funds were paid for by individual lab grants, funds not available to every department. And I think some science departments are paying the difference as a department.

            To go off topic again, I think one of the fundamental problems is that the GTF position is a half-time job as described (fairly or not). Not many half time jobs produce a living wage, especially for sole earners with families. But if were a full-time job, how would the student make progress with a degree?

            Historically, the GTF stipend was less of an issue because degrees took 3 years. With some foresight this was doable with almost any circumstance.

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    • anon says:

      Just an FYI: undergrad tuition is hardly the UO’s only source of income to pay GTFs decent wages.

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  32. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    UOM makes a kinda lame joke about commie chemist TAs and all that. But really, a 98% vote? This only happened in communist countries (back in the old days) and I guess now in the recent “election” in eastern Ukraine. It’s very hard to believe that this is a genuine expression of graduate student opinion. But if it is, UO is in even more trouble than I suspected.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I think it’s 98% of those that voted.

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      • honest Uncle Bernie says:

        Presumably — but still, maybe especially, a farcical result.

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        • Anonymous says:

          I’m confused by what would make you deem this result “farcical?” It might not be so difficult to believe if you were in the position that most GTFs are in. We’re adults, many with families to whose welfare we contribute, and we do good work. We’re asking for, really, a basic level of respect and fair compensation for the work we do as educators and researchers. And we’ve been repeatedly met with regressive proposals (literally, the admin’s proposals would make our lives worse than they are under the now-expired CBA), insulting attitudes, and bad-faith bargaining efforts. What makes you think that a group composed of some of the smartest, most ambitious, and yet most marginalized people on campus wouldn’t show up in spades to voice their extreme displeasure?

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          • ghost says:

            Hmm … perhaps oldish, but honest, Uncle Bernie was having a memorial moment? And possibly he was referring mostly to primed votes for those like the ludicrous chocolate oligarch? Or maybe not.

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        • Anona says:

          I think it’s because we’re pretty good at politics. We were going to get sixty percent of the voters voting yes, the strike was going to happen. A strike authorized by sixty percent of voters is a lot weaker than a strike authorized by ~100%.

          The only people who would bother showing up to vote no would be those who were pretty pissed off by the idea of a strike, and it’s hard to find too many people so enraged by the idea of organized labor in Eugene.

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        • chuck says:

          You’re an idiot. Not diplomatic, but succinct and accurate….

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  33. If you had read the literature you'd know says:

    confirmed: 98% of those who voted.
    # of votes: double needed for quorum.

    apparently the only way to communicate to people who won’t read is to vote and publish statistics on group opinion, and even then people won’t believe the results. jeez.

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    • nom says:

      I didn’t like the thumbs before, but I realize now they have a certain “je ne sais quoi”. Thumbs up!

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  34. Leporello says:

    He’s not walking like he’s talking. Typical administrator….do as I say, not as I do.

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  35. Sylvester says:

    Plus, they’re taking credit for expanded dental and vision coverage, which was negotiated between the GTFF Health and Welfare Trust and PacificSource. The University administration had nothing to do with that!

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  36. GTFatLarge says:

    Looks like the GTFF’s got a response on their website: http://gtff3544.net/gmm-and-clarifications/

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  37. Elizabeth Henning says:

    The misinformation about the GTFF’s bargaining issues doesn’t originate with the UO Ministry of Propaganda. Disingenuousness about GTF compensation runs deep throughout the UO administration. For example, Hal Sadofsky said in an email that GTFs are paid the “equivalent” of $84,000 a year. I’m sure that comes as a big surprise to those GTFs struggling to pay their rent.

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  38. Anonymous says:

    You’re right that the two sides aren’t that far apart. Jamie Moffitt is trying to act tough and make an example out of the GTFs, because it’s safer than picking a fight with UA or SEIU. If she can show that she means business with the GTFs, she’s hoping it will shut up the other unions.

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  39. thedude says:

    I can think of 2 billion reason the GTFF’s are getting greedy and not trying to compromise.

    Careful or the admins going to make sure that you work for the 20 hours a week you’re contracted to work than the 8-10 hours a week I usually ask.

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    • F@$king Clueless says:

      Pretty hard to argue that someone making less than a living wage is greedy. I hope you also got on here and protested when our failed former president demanded close to $1 million to leave quietly.

      I’m faculty, not GTF. The University needs to settle and start looking at policies that will encourage graduate students to come here. Or, stop talking about academic excellence and AAU status.

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      • anonymous says:

        Exactly. The only message this kind of petty power struggle sends is that UO doesn’t give a crap about its grad students. If what the GTFF wants is reasonable, the University should just give it to them and stop worrying about the “bad precedent” of treating GTFs like human beings.

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    • Thom Aquinas says:

      Maybe you are asking 8-10 hours/week – because deep down you know just too well that your own conscience won’t allow you to ask for more at the current situation of GTFs.
      By the way – the 8-10 hours – does it include their prep work? Or only actual teaching time? If you are any good at teaching you know that giving a decent class takes 1-2 days prep per class hours, when giving a class the FIRST time; and still around 1-2 hours prep, when updating your class form previous year.
      Anyway … just wondering ….

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      • anon says:

        I don’t think the problem is that GTFs make too little per hour. If they were able to work full time they would make $32,000 – $48,000 per year, which while not extravagant is enough to live on. The problem is that they cannot work full-time and yet this is their sole source of allowable income. People do not normally support a family, for instance, on a part-time wage, but GTFs are spending more time as GTFs during their career so the structure of the position no longer aligns with people’s lives.

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      • anonymous says:

        I’m willing to bet Professor (?) thedude wouldn’t want his GTFs to be working more than that, since it would increase time to degree. Maybe his GTFs are using all that extra time he generously allows them to work on their tans instead of their dissertations.

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      • thedude says:

        8-10 total. I only ask 4 hours of office hours, and then have them grade midterms and finals.

        In terms of why? Because I want them to have time to work on their dissertation.

        As far as other stuff. I guess I’m not that sympathtetic because the and I got by on the same salary as our GTFs more or less. I had to take out some student loans but so what. I got a job at a research university and the little I took out in student loans is more than paid for given my salary relative to my friends that took jobs at teaching universities. What I wish I had, and wish they had is better fellowship awards. Competitive central fellowships. Travel support for one or two conferences. A quarter off your 4th year. Graduate study abroad. These are things that will change your career. Not an extra couple bucks a month.

        I wish the grad student union was focused more on the grad students finding better jobs once that graduate. Someone explain how playing hardball and striking does that? A lot of the policies the GTF union is fighting won’t attract students, and certainly minimally helps their careers.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Explain how a wage that doesn’t require GTFs to take out loans or borrow from family to pay rent and buy groceries won’t attract graduate students. Other places don’t require that. OSU doesn’t require that – their grads are paid above the cost of living in Corvallis. Why are grads going to come to Oregon, if they can go elsewhere and not get buried in debt? Just because you got by on shitting pay, doesn’t mean it should, or has to, be that way. Other Universities understand that, so why should new grads come here? Hope they’ll be assigned the lone supervisor who doesn’t overwork their GTFs?

          Tell me how a policy that allows new grads who want to become parents take a minimal amount of time off to heal, take care of their partner, and bond with their new child wouldn’t attract grad students – especially female grad students. Risks of losing pay, tuition and health insurance (at exactly the wrong time) actively drives women out of academia. You want to help their careers, right? Why not institute policies that don’t force them to choose having a family over grad school?

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          • anonymous says:

            I suspect thedude is coming from a blanket assumption that graduate programs have the best interests of the graduate students at heart. This should be the case, but all too often it is not, as this entire bargaining process has demonstrated. If you really are concerned for your grad students, then please support the GTFF. The bargaining team is playing “hardball” because the membership has spoken loud and clear that’s what it wants.

            Furthermore, it’s easy for you to trivialize taking on debt when things worked out pretty well for you. Most students enter grad school with far more undergrad debt than in decades past, job prospects are poor to nonexistent in most fields, and loan terms are increasingly unfavorable. Graduate programs need to recognize this when recruiting.

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        • anon says:

          The union is a labor union. It does not advocate for graduate students as *students* but rather as workers. The GTFF has nothing to do with the academic or scholarly aspects of grad school. It’s the faculty and the admins’ jobs to get those things, by changing their programs and their financial priorities.

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          • anonymous says:

            The GTFF in fact *can’t* advocate for or defend students academically. The university won’t let them.

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          • that effing Dog again says:

            yes and one of the “problems” is that TAs and RAs, in real world
            have different kinds of labor, yet are treated the same by the GTFF, for the most part. In general, its been my experience that the GTFF
            is probably a good thing for TAs but its not clear for RAs – whose funding often comes from fixed income sources. In some cases in my grant experience, I have had to fund RAs 2 months less to cover the increasing insurance costs because the total line time RA stipend was fixed. I think this is a common occurrence for RA support. At one of my former schools, there was an ICC fund available to assist with these kinds of things so that the RA could be paid the full 12 month stipend in the case where the total cost of RA support increased during the grant period. No such thing here …

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          • anonymous says:

            The specifics of how GTFs are funded is an administrative matter that is entirely the responsibility of the university. It makes no sense to tar the GTFF for the university’s failure to pay insurance premiums for RAs. Are you really saying that RAs shouldn’t have the same insurance coverage and the same guarantees under the CBA just because they’re funded from a different source?

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          • that effing Dog again says:

            No I am not even close to saying that

            I am saying that, on my grant line item, total costs of grad student support is fixed. So if Insurance goes up, then monthly stipend goes down and/or number of appointment months goes down. In no way
            did I say this was “right” – but also, in no way in the real world does the University step into to cost-share on my grant support of grad students to make this situation right.

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          • anonymous says:

            Then it sounds to me like we’re in agreement: UO should be required to cover the difference so that RAs get the same insurance coverage, etc., as other GTFs while keeping stipends competitive, regardless of how they are funded. This is exactly the sort of thing the GTFF fights for, so it confuses me why you would want to weaken the union by exempting RAs.

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    • anon says:

      Where is your evidence that GTFs are being “greedy”? Making a hyperbolic statement without explanation is just bad faith engagement. But something tells me you weren’t exactly commenting in good faith anyway, so.

      GTFF wanted to include weekly workload/hours forms in the CBA & the admin refused, claiming that it would cost too much to implement. A sheet of paper that a GTF fills out herself would cost too much. Right. Wonder why else the admin might be against it. Probably because, unlike your (apparently) lucky ones, the majority of GTFs regularly exceed the 20 hour/week maximum. I’ve encouraged GTFs in my department to file grievances in the past, but they’re usually too uncomfortable or worry that making waves will affect how they’re treated in the dept.

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      • grad student says:

        funnily enough, the school of music manages to do workload agreement forms and it isn’t hugely burdensome and nothing has exploded or caught on fire. if the school of music can do it, why can’t the whole campus? it’s really not that hard.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Who are these GTFs who work half of their alloted fraction? Clearly I’m in the wrong department (as is everyone I know, and I have met GTFs from at least 3/4 of the departments, and people form every college) as I work way more than my fraction teaching masters students. We have so many workload grievances active at the moment and so many more who are scared to file for fear of retribution. Seriously, who are these magical departments? It’s only my second year, maybe it’s not too late for me to switch!

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  40. anonymous says:

    Is Coltrane really that stupid and arrogant? Or is everybody else missing something?

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  41. uomatters says:

    Not stupid or arrogant. But gutless?

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    • anonymous says:

      Who’s he got to be afraid of?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Gutless. He’s just a cog, doing what he’s told. He’s not presidential material, but given the situation … who, other than some corporate wunderkind, with a shoe fetish, will be? No wonder Lillis has set the search up to be almost impossible, hunting for some phantom super hero who doesn’t even know he’s looking for a job. And, yes … I said *he*.

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  42. Beancounter says:

    Just $250K in pay and $35K in bennies apart. In Johnson Hall they call that “One Jim Bean”.

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    • anonymous says:

      OK, spell this out for me. He settles with the GTFF, thus avoiding the clusterfuck of a strike while being true to the pledges to prioritize research and graduate education that he’s been spouting since he was made provost, and he’ll gets canned over the comparative chickenfeed the GTFF want to settle? Really? Can’t his PR flacks spin this as a victory?

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    • uomatters says:

      Or “One Tim Gleason”

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  43. Cool down, comrades says:

    There’s a 30 day cooling off period. One more chance for Coltrane to end this gracefully. Too bad he doesn’t really grok the budget.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Pretty sure a candidate is tested to be grok-free before being hired as an admin on any level.

      Coltrane (or ColTRAIN as Ms Ballmer likes to pronounce it) would only have been a hero if he’d forestalled this strike vote. Any work now is appreciated but makes him look weak, owned and not proactive.

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  44. Economist says:

    Fuck. It’s a repeated game Scott. Maybe not for you, but for us and our students.

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    • Anonymous says:

      His legacy, (and it will be short) is that the UO doesn’t need a real President, it needs a Presidential Office Holder. Why? Because there is no actual power in the office. Lillis can scold all he wants but until this situation is fixed, there won’t be any peace.

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  45. Remove heads from asses says:

    Out of one mouth they care about education, inclusive of actually increasing (believe it or not) graduate-student enrollment and quality. Yet, when called to step up, they say “What, you’re actually wanting something from us?”

    Holy shit is this frustrating, made more frustrating by seeing faculty disappear into the administration and quickly adopt the party lines. There is plenty of money around, mostly being absorbed into athletics and administration (and even directly by their families.. nice post the other day UOM). Do we not have a board member anywhere who can work for education? (I suppose not… they’ll just be booted.)

    (No wonder enrollments in the dismal science are at record-high levels. Econ should offer a class in administrative rent extraction.)

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  46. synecdoche says:

    Isn’t offering something but refusing to put it in writing an unfair labor practice under Oregon law?

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  47. GTF what the what says:

    “It is an unfair labor practice for a public employer or its designated representative to do any of the following: ….
    (h) Refuse to reduce an agreement, reached as a result of collective bargaining, to writing and sign the resulting contract.”

    http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/243.672

    BUT … Consequences for committing ULPs, in my bare understanding, is something that can take months. I will bet it’s not something that could be used to end the strike before Tuesday.

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  48. Pingback: GTFF Strike likely: December 2nd (tomorrow) | Lane Community College Education Association

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