UO graduate teachers picket, hope for agreement on new contract

Graduate teachers from the University of Oregon picketed on what they say could be the last day of contract negotiations.

Posted: Oct 29, 2019 6:41 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Graduate teachers from the University of Oregon picketed on campus on Tuesday, which they said could be the last day of contract negotiations. 

The Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation has been negotitating with UO administrators for the past year to get a new contract that includes a 3% minimum salary increase, financial support for international graduate employees and consistent health care.

"We're hoping that this show of force today really pushes them and motivates them to finish this contract so we can get a deal today," said Ellen Gillooly-Kress, president of the GTFF.

The request for financial support for international graduate employees asks that the university pay for visa fees, housing costs and flights, all additional expenses that U.S. citizens don't need help with. 

"They have visa fees, they have the housing costs that they have to deal with, and what we're trying to say is the university is bringing them here, they've recruited them here, and they're gonna be working here, that to try to at least defray some of those costs especially in terms of the visa fees that they have to pay to come to the university," said Rajeev Ravisankar, vice president of the GTFF.

Union officials said if they don't finalize an agreement with UO administrators by tonight, they will be holding another negotiation session in a couple of days.

On Oct. 18, union members voted to strike if a deal couldn't be reached.

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