GRU Response to OHSU Budget Actions

According to Dr. Danny Jacob’s email from last Thursday, OHSU is making changes in order to address the budget deficit brought on by COVID-19. Dr. Jacobs’s email contained information about how salary cuts will be implemented for research staff and faculty. If anyone attended Peter Barr-Gillespie’s Research Town Hall yesterday, you may have heard that OHSU will likely approach GRU to re-negotiate stipends. Because we are unionized, the university cannot unilaterally decrease our stipends, block yearly stipend increases, or change any other part of the contract---it must be agreed upon and negotiated by both OHSU and GRU. It is the position of our union that we will not agree to bargain over any cuts to stipends or benefits at this time. No other research staff is being forced to take a pay cut if they make less than $50,000 a year. As salaries increase above this amount, the reduction in salary also increases. OHSU’s stated motivation for this tiered pay cut structure was to protect the most vulnerable of its employees. Given that, by OHSU’s own admission, other employees in our same pay range should not take cuts, we do not believe graduate researchers should voluntarily take on a stipend decrease. Of course, this position reflects our current understanding of the financial situation and the pandemic. OHSU is welcome to approach us at any time, just as we are welcome to say no.