University of Oregon Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation

Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation
Full name University of Oregon Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation
Founded 1976
Head union American Federation of Teachers
Affiliation AFL-CIO, Coalition of Graduate Employee Unions[1]
Office location Eugene, Oregon
Country United States

The Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (GTFF) is a graduate student union at the University of Oregon (UO) established in 1976[2] to represent graduate student workers (Graduate Teaching Fellows or GTFs), and it is one of the oldest graduate student unions in the United States. Developed out of the earlier Graduate Student Employees Association,[3] the UO administration objected to the establishment of the union, citing that graduate workers were "not public employees", but were rather "primarily students receiving a form of financial aid similar to stipends or scholarships."[4] The Oregon Employment Relations Board (ERB) ruled in favor of the graduate students and supported their right to organize.[5] The GTFF began organizing its first contract in April 1977 with the University of Oregon administration.[6] The negotiations reached an impasse in 1978, and it was not until after two strike votes that an agreement was reached.[7] In 1989, the GTFF secured subsidies for health insurance,[8][9] which was expanded in 1993 to be fully employer-paid, one of the first such programs offered to graduate teachers in the United States.[10][11]

2013 bargaining cycle

Contract bargaining takes place every two years. On November 2013, contract bargaining began. In 2014, after more than a year of bargaining on behalf of the 1500 GTF workers on campus, contract negotiations came to another impasse. On December 2, 2014, University of Oregon GTFs went on strike right before finals week. The GTFF was bargaining for increased wages and paid parental/medical leave.[12][13][14] GTFs teach 1/3 of all undergraduate classes, 18% of all lectures, 82% of all labs, and 95% of all discussion sections.[15] The strike has resulted in disruption of undergraduate classes and finals schedules.[16][17][18] The strike was resolved after eight days following 22 hours of continuous mediation.[19]


  1. "US Student Employee Member Unions". Coalition of Graduate Employee Unions.
  2. "Hearing testimony over in teaching-fellow dispute". Eugene Register-Guard. March 4, 1976.
  3. "Grievance Procedures Set at U of O". Eugene Register-Guard. August 29, 1969.
  4. "Graduate Fellow Union Issue Being Studied by Employment Relations Board". Eugene Register-Guard. January 19, 1977.
  5. "University Fellows to Unionize". Eugene Register-Guard. February 7, 1977. Retrieved December 6, 2014.
  6. "UO students seek role in bargaining sessions". The Oregonian. November 24, 1977.
  7. "A Union Matures". Eugene Register-Guard. October 25, 1983.
  8. "Teaching Fellows Get Tentative Pact". Eugene Register-Guard. October 31, 1989.
  9. "Teaching Fellows OK Pact". Eugene Register-Guard. November 4, 1989.
  10. "Grads' Contract Has Medical Plan". Eugene Register-Guard. November 6, 1993.
  11. "History of GTFF". Retrieved December 7, 2014.
  12. "Trust breaks down, Coltrane says no hardship fund language in the CBA, GTFF strikes". UO Matters.
  13. "University of Oregon Graduate Teaching Fellows on Strike". Oregon Public Broadcasting.
  14. "GTFs authorize strike vote; university preps for possibility" (Press release). University of Oregon Around the O.
  15. "UO Facts". Retrieved December 7, 2014.
  16. "No Settlement Yet; Graduate Student Strike Continues into Finals Week". Eugene Register-Guard. December 6, 2014.
  17. "University of Oregon Grad Students Strike for Better Benefits". Inside Higher Ed.
  18. "Academic Continuity During the GTFF Strike". University of Oregon Academic Affairs.
  19. "University of Oregon strike ends after 22-hour mediation session". The Oregonian.

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