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“university again mediated with the Graduate Teaching Fellow Federation”

No they didn’t. The Administration *bargains* with the GTFF. The Mediator *mediates* between the Administration and the GTFF. That’s pretty much the whole point of mediation.

And while I’m on it, why is the Administration still claiming they are “the university?”.  I thought Frank Stahl won that one. And while it’s nice to hear that the Administration has finally abandoned its painfully quixotic plan to rationalize the GTFF’s health insurance, why are they still proposing just 5% in pay increases spread over 3 years, when the western U.S. CPI increased 3.1% last year, and the Fed’s target rate of inflation is 2% per year?

That works out to a 4% decrease. Didn’t the BOT just give Pres Schill a 17% raise?

In any case here’s the latest email from Provost Phillips:

Dear Faculty Colleagues,
Just a note to share with you the latest economic offers exchanged at the most recent mediation session with the GTFF bargaining team. I’m forwarding a copy of an email update from the ELR bargaining team that was sent today to academic leadership. I wanted to make sure all faculty members have the most current information. An overview of the package is available on the GTFF bargaining webpage. If you have questions, contact Peter Fehrs, lead negotiator, by submitting an email to [email protected].
Thanks and I hope the summer is treating you well. Take care.
**Sent on Behalf of Missy Matella**
Dear Colleagues,
On August 1, the university again mediated with the Graduate Teaching Fellow Federation (GTFF). While both parties passed important economic offers that are detailed below, I want to start by explaining a significant change in the university’s latest offer. AAU peer analysis has shown that the University of Oregon spends nearly twice the average of public AAU institutions on health insurance coverage, but slightly less, on average, on graduate employee stipends. The UO had been looking to rebalance the GE compensation package by shifting some of the investment in health insurance into student stipends. This would give GEs more salary and help the university be more competitive in attracting graduate students. However, as it has become clear through negotiations that this concept is not one that the two parties can agree upon, the UO is no longer seeking to shift compensation from health insurance to increase take home pay.
The university’s current offer retains the existing health insurance structure—with the university paying 95 percent of health insurance premiums at the existing academic year 2018-19 rates. We remain dedicated to ensuring that GE health insurance includes reasonable cost containment measures to create opportunities to increase GE stipends in the future, which is critical to GE recruitment and retention.
Here is a comparison of the latest salary and health insurance offers:

GTFF offer:

Increases GE salary minimums by 5.75% each year of the contract.
The previous proposal was 6%.
UO offer:
Increase salaries of GEs each year of the contract:
  • Year one: 1.65% (up from 1.45%)
  • Year two: 1.65% (up from 1.55%)
  • Year three: 1.75% (up from 1.65%)
Other employee group salary increases
  • Service Employee International Union (SEIU): 1%
  • Faculty—TTF: 1.25% across-the-board + .75% equity pool
  • Faculty—NTTF: 2% across-the-board
  • Officers of Administration: 2% merit pool
Health insurance
GTFF offer:
University pays 100% of health care premiums for the academic year and the summer to the extent health care premiums increase between 0 and 9.9% (increases for next academic year are currently projected at 7%).
Currently 95% for the academic year and 80% over the summer.
The proposal also includes a tiered cost sharing model based on the size of premium increases.
UO offer:
The university is no longer pursuing a reduction in its contribution to health insurance in order to increase salaries.
The latest offer provides the same level of contribution under the current contract, which is 95% of the 2018-19 academic year insurance premiums.
The university and GTFF bargaining teams exchanged proposals on other key issues including summer support and family and childcare support. A detailed chart comparing current proposals is available on the HR website.
We will continue to bargain in good faith to reach a resolution that meets the needs of our entire university community. Keeping academic and administrative leadership informed during on-going negotiations with the GTFF remains a priority. Our next mediation session will be on August 21. Additional updates will be provided as information becomes available.
Shortly, this update will be shared with department heads, and the provost will email this update to faculty members to keep them informed, as well.
Should you have any questions or concerns, please visit the GTFF bargaining webpage or contact Peter Fehrs, lead negotiator, by submitting an email to [email protected].
Best regards,
Missy Matella
Senior Director, Employee and Labor Relations
University Human Resources


  1. Cliff Odetts 08/13/2019

    UO continues to use of smoke and mirrors.
    The Admin’s generous health insurance offer to GEs is for 95% coverage for the next three years based on the 2018-19 costs. In other words, the same dollar figure for the next three years that they contributed this past year. Luckily health insurance rates only go down, so GEs don’t have to worry that they’ll have increasingly shitty insurance over the next three years. Nope, nothing to worry about. Now THAT’S a recruitment plan. Thanks UO!

  2. New Year Cat 08/13/2019

    “Other employee group salary increases: Service Employee International Union (SEIU): 1%”.

    Um, no…SEIU is also in bargaining, with the 7 higher ed campuses. They have been offered three raises of .5% and a number of takebacks, and are now in strike prep mode, the last I heard.

    • Fishwrapper 08/14/2019

      We will continue to bargain in good faith…

      If that update is an indicator of “good faith,” and given that the university is at the table with more than one CBA on the line, I would paraphrase Bette Davis as Margo Channing and suggest you fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy fall.

    • It's classified. 08/15/2019

      I believe the 1% mentioned is the Cost of Living Adjustment from 2017 and 2018. New Year Cat is correct that SEIU are being offered 0.5% increases, which over the course of 2017-2021, adjusted for inflation (2.9%), would represent a 10% CUT.

  3. WE are the University 08/14/2019

    Since the administration is moving toward a private business model, why do they not understand that this is a TIGHT labor and graduate program market? People can and will go elsewhere and it’s likely to be the BEST employees and prospective/current professional grad students who are most mobile.
    Is this the same economics modeling (hopes and wishes then cut) that got us into the problem in the first place (head in the sand-o-nomics)?
    No way to run a business – or a university

    • FGI 08/14/2019

      Hanlon’s Razor: Never assume malice where incompetence is a sufficient explanation

      Poe’s Corollary to Hanlon’s Razor: From the perspective of outcomes, there is no interesting distinction between malice and incompetence

  4. My Cool Screen Name 08/15/2019

    So in addition to Missy claiming that UO is “mediating”, Provost Phillips provides a link to what looks like the GTFF’s page about bargaining. In fact, it leads to HR’s bargaining page. Misleading or honest mistake. I refer to Poe’s Corollary…

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