- Associated Press - Monday, October 27, 2014

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - The union for graduate students who help teach undergraduate courses at the University of Oregon is threatening to strike in a dispute with the administration over pay and leave.

A 30-day cooling-off period began Monday in the negotiations over a proposed two-year contract, KVAL-TV (https://bit.ly/1xvIWAX) reported.

If no agreement is reached within 30 days, the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation said it would walk out, taking at least 1,100 employees away from their jobs.

Teaching fellows are paid $25,000 to $30,000 a year.

The union wants a 5.5 percent raise. Federation President Joe Henry said the administration’s most recent offer doesn’t cover what it costs to live in Eugene.

Another important issue is paid leave, both medical and parental, he said.

“If you become seriously ill, there’s no security of protection to help GTFs get through those hard times,” he said.

The administration says that no part-time employees on campus receive paid leave, but their jobs remain safe.

“The university has updated and expanded its offer throughout the bargaining process to address most of the GTFF’s concerns,” said a statement from Frances Bronet, the university’s acting senior vice president and provost. “At the same time, we must treat other employee groups at UO fairly and equitably.”

It’s the second time this year members of the union have authorized a strike, the Eugene Register-Guard (https://bit.ly/1FQw521) reported. The previous occasion was in the spring, when negotiations stalled. At that time, the members did not call a strike.

The graduate students’ last contract expired March 31, but its terms remain in place until a new one is reached.

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Information from: KVAL-TV, https://www.kval.com/


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