The mood was celebratory at this month’s local meeting. Johnny Earl opened the meeting, speaking about the importance of standing up for our rights as workers. As a follow-up, Lois Yoshishige detailed a successful bid by a wrongfully terminated employee to reclaim her job. Although the identity of the employee was not released, it was stated that the employee will be allotted a year of back pay and benefits as well as the ability to move to a new job site in the same capacity.
Joe Henry returned as a special guest, drenched but very excited to address SEIU members in thanks and solidarity for supporting the GTFF strike, which concluded early Wednesday morning. The GTFF strike was the first strike in the 38 year history of the GTFF and the first GTF strike in Oregon in history. The GTFs also received great support from United Academics, the local faculty union. As part of the terms of the agreement, the GTFF will receive a 5% raise to the minimum wage each year for 2 years. GTFs and non-teaching graduate students will also have access to an “emergency fund” to help offset the costs associated with lost work due to parental leave or serious injury or illness. Graduates can claim up to $1500 for the former and up to $1000 for the later. While it isn’t the same as paid leave, the bargaining team believes it is a step in the right direciton.
The strike lasted 8 days and resulted in an outpouring of support from all over campus and Eugene.
“It’s important for you to know as you head into bargaining [next year] that we’ve got your back!”