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UO administration proposes cutting Grad Employee pay by 5%

Last updated on 07/30/2019

You wouldn’t know it from today’s Around the O post on the administration’s bargaining proposals, but the US Western Region CPI-U has been increasing at about 3% for the past few years:

Assuming that continues, the “salary increases” the UO administration is offering the GTFF union will amount to about a 5% real pay cut over the 3 years of the contract:

  • Proposed salary increases for all graduate employees in each year of the contract. Year one: 1.45 percent, up from 1.25 percent; year two: 1.55 percent, up from 1.25 percent; year three: 1.65 percent, up from 1.25 percent.


  1. Dog 07/29/2019

    and once again I point out that the union raises during this time period work out to be less than or equal to the west coast inflation rate – none of us are technically getting ahead in that regard

  2. It's classified 07/29/2019

    With no exceptions, anyone making under median income (currently ~60,212/yr) should be getting COLA equal to the cost of inflation.

  3. True story 07/29/2019

    (Slightly resentful, sure) over a 3 year period, I (classified staff) took on the majority of my supervisor’s work while they had more and more coffee meetings to attend. I got a couple step increases and cola equaling about $3,000 more per year. They got a raise every year equaling $38,000 (OA) over 3 years. Yeah. It all makes a whole lot of sense.

  4. True story 07/29/2019

    I say, “sure, you are the boss, get a raise twice as high as mine. But 4 times(!!!). No.”

  5. thedude 07/30/2019

    WEst coast inflation, is higher than the rest of the country. We also have the highest minimum wages. Living wage ordinances get paid by everyone, and don’t really improve poverty if you move up the poverty line like you should.

  6. charlie 07/30/2019

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but over 30% of classes are taught by grad students. So, how will cutting their pay induce anyone to do grad work at the flagship??

    • Fishwrapper 07/30/2019

      Charlie, I don’t see the connection – plenty of folks will continue doing grad work at OSU regardless of what happens upriver at UO. Of course, the way things are going, maybe even more will be interested.

      (I couldn’t resist…)

      • uomatters Post author | 07/30/2019

        OK, I approved this comment – subject to the requirement that you report back on a comparison of UO and OSU grad employee compensation, including insurance, and recent raises…

        • Fishwrapper 07/30/2019

          You sir, are a gentleman. Yes, yes, and a scholar. I hereby attempt to hold up my end of the bargain. Here’s the agreement (in PDF form) that expires in 2020 between the Coalition of Graduate Employees (AFT Local 6069, AFL-CIO) and the state’s ensign vessel: OSU-GCE-CBA.

          According to Article 11, the minimum monthly salary for a .49FTE is 1847.79, based on a minimum full-time equivalent monthly salary of 3771. The contract specifies that beginning in 2017 the minimum appointment is .3FTE for 1131.30 /mo.

          The (expired) contract (click here to find words) between the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (AFT Local 3544, AFL/CIO) is less clear to me at this hour. For salary, it looks as though UO pays its GTTFs more; a GE1 at .5FTE sees a minimum of 4,736/mo. Now, I’m not an economist – for real! – nor have I read the document thoroughly, but even if I did I would still not be, as I am not anyway, the expert. That may be the full-time equivalent salary, against which you multiply based on percent FTE for the appointment; still, that’s a higher starting point than at the pennant craft.

          The benefits outlined in each CBA are not quickly clear, to me, at least. There is a contribution by the the respective employers for health care, but I don’t know what the employee share is. I’m having difficulty figuring minimum hours expected at each school, too. OSU require a minimum .3FTE appointment for teaching a single section of class, and that’s supposed to be 156 hours for the term, or about 12 hours a week. UO, by comparison (if I read it right) asks a .3FTE for 131 hours for a quarter.

          So my quick look at both CBA’s – and the UO agreement with its GTTF’s was up on March 31, while OSU is still in a working agreement that expires in 2020, so the UO agreement will likely be different this fall (one hopes…) – suggests to me that UO graduate employees get more salary for fewer hours. I can’t compare health care plans, because it’s not clear what the cost to the employee is, but leave seems to be similar.

          My conclusion is that one could argue with all the extra research bucks coming to the banner boat, they sure are squeezing the graduate students a bit harder than the school upriver. That’s not to say that UO graduate students are sitting pretty. Then again, if the UO administration caves to the demands of the GTTF negotiators, then they will have, by comparison to the graduate employees at the bunting barque, a much nicer deal.

    • Dog 07/30/2019

      in my dept, 0% of the GEs teach classes and we have about
      80 GEs

      It’s probably impossibly hidden to find the actual number of classes where a GE is the instructor of record; but for this University, unlike many others, I think 30% is way too high

      I am aware of two cases

      1) a lot of math classes are taught by GEs
      2) a lot of english composition classes, etc are taught by GEs

      • just different 07/31/2019

        I’m willing to bet that at least 30% of all undergraduate students enrolled in Mathematics courses are taught by GEs.

        • At least mathematicians can count 08/03/2019

          That percentage is much too high. There are many classes with enrollments over 100 (sometimes as high as 500), and these are all taught by professors and Career Instructors. Graduate students rarely have more than 30 students in a class. It may be that around 30% of all mathematics courses are taught by GEs, but certainly not 30% of all mathematics students.

          • just different 08/04/2019

            Did you actually count registrations or are you just guessing? It might not be 30%, but it seems unlikely that it’s a whole lot lower than that if we estimate that there are 4000 registrations each year in non-GE-taught undergrad math courses.

            That said, starting in Spring 2019 it looks like grad students are no longer instructors of record for Math 111, which would definitely lower the number of undergrads taught. So I’ll add the qualifier “historically” to mean prior to 2018-2019.

  7. Enough 07/30/2019

    When bargaining began a few months ago, I was already on the fence about continuing with my degree. An unsupportive advisor and being treated like the token minority had pushed me to start thinking about leaving. Then the university started threatening to cut our pay and healthcare. The instability was enough to push me over the edge. I exited with a master’s degree and just got hired for my dream job.
    UO needs to get it’s act together. No matter the final outcome, their treatment of grad students during this bargain cycle won’t soon be forgotten. You can bet that potential students are going to see this fiasco and think twice before coming here.

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