U. of Oregon Grad Students End Strike

December 11, 2014

A strike by graduate teaching assistants at the University of Oregon ended Wednesday, after a 22-hour mediation session produced a tentative agreement between the graduate employees and the administration. Members of the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (GTFF) went on strike Dec. 2 after contract negotiations stalled over the union’s request for paid sick and parental leave.

The new agreement includes an assistance fund that will reimburse graduate students who have to take time off due to illness, injury or childbirth, according to an announcement from the union. The contract includes language controlling the size of the fund and its oversight, points of contention that led to the strike. “The fund is not everything we had hoped to achieve, but this is progress in a national movement to strengthen the rights of workers to protected time off from work,” GTFF President Joe Henry said in a statement.

The agreement also includes a 5 percent minimum wage increase that will be applied retroactively for the current academic year (the union has been without a contract since March) and another five percent increase for next year.

Interim President Scott Coltrane issued a brief statement saying the agreement allows the university to meet the needs of its graduate employees in a fiscally responsible way.

 The contract still has to be ratified by the union.

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