Matthew Hannah is a PhD candidate in the English Department and a volunteer with the union negotiating team. The union is asking for a 5.5 percent increase in base pay for Graduate Teaching Fellows. The University is only offering 1.5 percent. Hannah says U of O GTFs come up $264 short each month from what the University defines as the cost of living in Eugene. Hannah says the University has suggested that if G-T-F's need more income, they should get a loan.
Hannah: "And for many GTFs that's not an option. We can't take out any more student loans. We've got too much student loan debt from undergraduate degrees. The pay that they're offering us is quite frankly insulting considering that we teach 1 out of 3 students, on average, at the University of Oregon."
Hannah says the University is also trying to change their health insurance plan. The U of O says it can't afford to pay GTFs more because the legislature has put a freeze on in state-tuition and limit out-of-state tuition boosts to 3 percent.
Bargaining teams meet from 3 to 6 Friday afternoon at the U of O.