Summer Financial Assistance

Table of Contents:

  • ANNOUNCEMENTS & EVENTS

    • Subsidy Application Event

    • Summer Financial Resources

  • JOIN A GEO COMMITTEE!

  • CONNECT WITH GEO!

 


ANNOUNCEMENTS & EVENTS

Summer Subsidy Application Event

The GEO represents around 2,700 graduate employees, but in the Summer many of those will be without an appointment. It is not unheard of for GEO members to experience food or housing insecurity. As such, we will be helping members to apply for what subsidies they qualify for, such as the following, which are determined based on your monthly pre-tax income. This event will take place in the GEO office. See the Facebook event here. The subsidies include programs like:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (“food stamps”)
  • General Assistance (GA)
  • Housing Assistance (HA)
  • Childcare Subsidy

Summer Financial Resources

We have compiled two guides to answer frequently asked questions members have related to financial security over the summer. You can find information regarding how the university handles graduate summer assistantships and health insurance, as well as external financial aid and resources.

 


JOIN A GEO COMMITTEE!

 

We are a member-run union; we depend on the commitment of our members to stay as strong as possible. You can find details about what each committee does and how to contact them on our website. No special knowledge is required. You can also follow the calendar of events on our website for the date and time of upcoming meetings: http://uiucgeo.org/events/. Meetings are open to membership, and coming to a meeting does not commit you to joining a committee.

Upcoming meetings:

Constitutional Committee (cc@uigeo.org) – Contact email for more

Healthcare Working Group (health@uigeo.org) – Contact email for more

Stewards’ Council (sc@uigeo.org) – Tuesday, May 14, 5:30-7:00 pm

Finance Committee (treasurer@uigeo.org) – Contact email for more

Solidarity Committee (solcomm@uigeo.org) – Contact email for more

Grievance Committee (grievance@uigeo.org) – Wednesday May 15, 4:00-5:00 pm

Communications Committee (commcomm@uigeo.org) – Monday May 26, 5:00-6:30 pm

Coordinating Committee (cc@uigeo.org) – Contact email for more

RA/PGA Working Group (geo@uigeo.org) – Contact email for more

 


CONNECT WITH GEO!

Have comments about the GMM? Other kinds of feedback for us? We want to hear it! Reply to this email or use our anonymous google form. You can also get in touch through our website and social media:

Website: www.uiucgeo.org

Twitter: @geo_uiuc

Facebook: @uigeo  @geosolcomm

Instagram: @geo_uiuc

 

In Solidarity,

Graduate Employees’ Organization

809 S. 5th St., Geneva Room

Champaign, IL 61820

Email: geo@uigeo.org

GEO Election Results + May Day

Table of Contents:

  • ANNOUNCEMENTS & EVENTS

    • GEO Election Results

      • Officer Candidates

      • Constitutional Amendments

      • RA/PGA Dues Proposal

    • May Day Happy Hour

    • Annual GEO Staff Evaluations

    • Coffee with Co-Presidents

  • JOIN A GEO COMMITTEE!

  • CONNECT WITH GEO!

 


ANNOUNCEMENTS & EVENTS

GEO Election Results

After polling closed on Monday evening, ballots have been counted and new officers have been elected! The list of new officers is provided below:

  • Co-Presidents:

    • Chibundo Egwuatu

    • Lila Ann Dodge

  • Co-Treasurers:

    • Karmela Padavić

    • Ryan Levy

  • Grievance Chair:

    • Kai Shinbrough

  • Communication Co-Chairs:

    • Akil Guruparan

    • Cassidy Wagner

  • Solidarity Chair:

    • Austin Hoffman

  • Officers at Large:

    • Bruce Kovanen

    • Hadrian Quan

    • Hilary Pacheco

There were two YES or NO items voted upon by members:

  • RA/PGA Dues Increase from $3 to $8: APPROVED

  • Amendments to the Constitution: APPROVED

As the newly elected Coordinating Committee transitions into their roles, additional updates on the process of implementing the RA/PGA dues change will be provided.

May Day Happy Hour

Celebrate May Day with at the GEO Happy Hour at 7:30 pm at the Bling Pig Brewery (“the Piglet”), 120 N Neil St, Champaign, IL 61820 — all are welcome, however, the GEO does not have a budget for this event, and therefore is unable to pay for drinks for May Day, so keep that in mind! Here is the Facebook event.

Annual GEO Staff Evaluations

GEO needs your input! Your feedback helps elected GEO Officers (members like you!) make informed decisions about personnel matters, and also helps GEO staff understand the needs and interests of our membership. Please help us by sharing your opinions and feedback in this form!

Coffee with Co-Presidents

As a member-run, member-centric union, GEO leadership want to be as available to you as possible. Current Co-presidents Bruce K and Hilary G will be in the office on Monday at 1pm; come by and grab a cup of coffee or tea, ask questions, or just have a chat! See the Facebook event for Coffee with Co-Presidents here.

 


JOIN A GEO COMMITTEE!

 

We are a member-run union; we depend on the commitment of our members to stay as strong as possible. You can find details about what each committee does and how to contact them on our website. No special knowledge is required. You can also follow the calendar of events on our website for the date and time of upcoming meetings: http://uiucgeo.org/events/. Meetings are open to membership, and coming to a meeting does not commit you to joining a committee.

Upcoming meetings:

Solidarity Committee (solcomm@uigeo.org) – See website

Grievance Committee (grievance@uigeo.org) – See website

Coordinating Committee (cc@uigeo.org) – See website

Communications Committee (commcomm@uigeo.org) – See website

Stewards’ Council (sc@uigeo.org) – See website

Finance Committee (treasurer@uigeo.org) – See website

Healthcare Working Group (health@uigeo.org) – Contact email for more

 


CONNECT WITH GEO!

Have comments about the GMM? Other kinds of feedback for us? We want to hear it! Reply to this email or use our anonymous google form. You can also get in touch through our website and social media:

Website: www.uiucgeo.org

Twitter: @geo_uiuc

Facebook: @uigeo  @geosolcomm

Instagram: @geo_uiuc

In Solidarity,

Graduate Employees’ Organization

809 S. 5th St., Geneva Room

Champaign, IL 61820

Email: geo@uigeo.org

 

GEO Statement of Solidarity with Marquette University Graduate Students and Non-Tenure-Track Faculty

GEO Statement of Solidarity with Marquette University Graduate Students and Non-Tenure-Track Faculty

April 25, 2019

The Graduate Employees’ Organization at UIUC (IFT/AFT Local 6300) strongly expresses our support for Marquette University’s graduate students and non-tenure-track faculty (NTTF) in their efforts to form a union.

We stand in solidarity with graduate students and NTTF at Marquette while they face similar struggles to those at institutions of higher education across the country. The shift seen in recent years from tenured to non-tenured and graduate instructors has created increasingly contingent and precarious working conditions while negatively impacting the quality of education for undergraduate students. We support graduate students and NTTF at Marquette as they seek improved job stability, increased wages, and health insurance.

Graduate workers and NTTF should not have to live with the constant anxiety of not knowing whether they will be able to continue work due to economic hardships and uncertainties in appointments and employment. We ask that the Marquette University administration to remain neutral during the union drive and allow the workers to have a fair process, without management interference including: religious exemption, procedural delays, and use of tuition dollars to oppose unionization.

A graduate education and postgraduate job stability should be accessible to low income and underrepresented groups, not just the wealthy. We believe that labor needs to be recognized, valued, and fairly compensated. The fight for better working conditions makes this possible.

 

The Graduate Employees’ Organization, AFT/IFT Local 6300, AFL-CIO, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, represents approximately 2,700 Teaching and Graduate Assistants on the UIUC Campus. In November 2009 and in February 2018, over 1,000 GEO members and allies participated in a strike to secure a fair contract and more accessible UIUC campus. With an active presence in the community, the GEO continues to work for high-quality and accessible public education in Illinois.

For more information, please contact geo@uigeo.org. More information can also be found on GEO’s website at www.uiucgeo.org.

Twitter: @geo_uiuc

Facebook: @uigeo @geosolcomm

Instagram: @geo_uiuc

GEO Statement of Solidarity with Loyola Workers’ Coalition

GEO Statement of Solidarity with Loyola Workers’ Coalition

April 23, 2019

We, the Graduate Employees Organization at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign IFT/AFT Local 6300 AFL-CIO express our solidarity with our fellow graduate workers of the Loyola Workers’ Coalition and demand that the Loyola University Chicago administration meet them at the bargaining table to negotiate a fair contract.

Despite the fact that Loyola graduate workers voted overwhelmingly to unionize in 2017 and are recognized by the National Labor Relations Board, the Loyola administration has not only refused to bargain with them, but refuses to even acknowledge that grad workers are, in fact, workers. Graduate workers teach classes, do research, grade papers, and perform other invaluable labor necessary to keep a university like Loyola running. To say that they are not employees is both inaccurate and insulting. As a prominent Jesuit university, Loyola should follow the Catholic Social Teaching it claims to uphold by recognizing the right of all workers to organize and unionize for fair and just working conditions.

This, unfortunately, is part of a larger pattern of the Loyola administration failing its workers. On April 4th, 2018, non-tenure track faculty at Loyola were forced out on strike after the administration refused to agree to a fair contract after nearly two years of bargaining.

On April 15th, 2019, seven Loyola Workers’ Coalition members and supporters were arrested while peacefully demonstrating in front of Loyola President Rooney’s office. The Loyola Workers’ Coalition has now called for a walkout of graduate and undergraduate students on April 24th if the Loyola administration does not agree to bargain.

We applaud Loyola Workers’ Coalition for their solidarity and bravery in standing together to demand a fair contract. It’s time for the Loyola administration to do the right thing. #BargainLUC #WeAreWorkers

 

The Graduate Employees’ Organization, AFT/IFT Local 6300, AFL-CIO, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, represents approximately 2,700 Teaching and Graduate Assistants on the UIUC Campus. In November 2009 and in February 2018, over 1,000 GEO members and allies participated in a strike to secure a fair contract and more accessible UIUC campus. With an active presence in the community, the GEO continues to work for high-quality and accessible public education in Illinois.

For more information, please contact geo@uigeo.org. More information can also be found on GEO’s website at www.uiucgeo.org.

Twitter: @geo_uiuc

Facebook: @uigeo @geosolcomm

Instagram: @geo_uiuc

GEO Statement of Solidarity with UW-Madison TAA Sit-In

GEO Statement of Solidarity with UW-Madison TAA Sit-In

April 10, 2019

We, the Graduate Employees Organization at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign IFT/AFT Local 6300 AFL-CIO stand in solidarity with our fellow graduate workers of the UW-Madison Teaching Assistant Association (TAA), who staged a sit-in of the university’s Bascom Hall building on Friday, April 5th, to protest the UW-Madison administration’s unfair fee policies. The sit-in is part of the TAA’s Campaign for Fair Pay, Full Fee Coverage, and Quality Policies, which is a larger campaign aimed at improving working conditions and securing a living wage for graduate workers at UW-Madison.

Fees levied on grad workers do not only place an undue burden on grad workers who often do not even make a living wage to begin with, they constitute a form of wage theft, and erode collective bargaining rights by allowing university administrators to levy student fees that would effectively nullify wage increases won by unions. The UW-Madison administration could easily afford to waive these fees–the fees collected from their grad workers only amount to .21% of their budget.

TAA’s struggle is part of a larger nationwide struggle of graduate employee unions and organizations fighting back against this unfair wage theft. On the same day as the TAA sit in, the University of Illinois at Chicago Graduate Employees’ Organization (GEO) reached a tentative contract agreement after a weeks-long strike in which fees were one of the main issues.

We applaud the TAA’s brave action and stand in solidarity with them and all workers fighting to improve their lives and their communities.

 

The Graduate Employees’ Organization, AFT/IFT Local 6300, AFL-CIO, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, represents approximately 2,700 Teaching and Graduate Assistants on the UIUC Campus. In November 2009 and in February 2018, over 1,000 GEO members and allies participated in a strike to secure a fair contract and more accessible UIUC campus. With an active presence in the community, the GEO continues to work for high-quality and accessible public education in Illinois.

For more information, please contact geo@uigeo.org. More information can also be found on GEO’s website at www.uiucgeo.org.

Twitter: @geo_uiuc

Facebook: @uigeo @geosolcomm

Instagram: @geo_uiuc

Response to UI Executive Vice President’s Statement Regarding Graduate Employee Healthcare

Response to UI Executive Vice President’s Statement Regarding Graduate Employee Healthcare

April 4, 2019

Healthcare is a subject of contract negotiations between the Graduate Employees’ Organization (GEO) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) administration. During last year’s bargaining, GEO proposed minimum standards of the Affordable Care Act to be written into the contract, but the university rejected this proposal due to their pre-existing contract with United Healthcare. As of now, GEO has no input into or control over this healthcare contract, which is offered based on student rather than employee status. Both historically and in the latest negotiations, GEO is able only to negotiate the portion of the premium which UIUC pays. Therefore, when the Executive Vice President of the UI System Barbara Wilson claims that “The graduate rate is higher because the Graduate Employees’ Organization negotiated a top-tier health plan in their contract,” as she did in the recent News Gazette article “On UI Trustees’ Agenda: Student Health-Insurance Rate Increase, Mascot Ideas,” she is misinformed at best, and lying at worst. Here are the facts.

GEO members, like all graduate students, receive healthcare through a contract which is signed on behalf of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees by the Contracts Purchasing division. The latest contract was signed in May 2015, and renewable for up to 8 years at the request of the university administration. The content of the plan, the cost of premiums, and the request for renewal are currently all determined by this Contracts Purchasing division — squarely outside the purview of the GEO. During last year’s negotiations with GEO, the university rejected GEO’s proposals for much-needed improvements such as increased mental healthcare access, reproductive care, and summer insurance coverage, but was willing to increase the portion of our premium which they pay by 7%. Less than a week after our contract was signed, those same insurance premiums increased from $508 to $582 per semester, or 15% — thus undercutting GEO members’ hard-won financial gain. This year, they will rise even more dramatically, to $696 per semester (an increase of 20%).

Graduate employees cannot afford higher healthcare premiums. The minimum wage for graduate employees, $17,439, is below the MIT-published living wage for a single adult in Champaign County, which is $24,544, and healthcare represents a significant additional financial burden for many. In fact, financial insecurity is experienced by so many of our members that one Urbana city council member recently pointed to our population as a contributing factor to the fact that Urbana has a higher poverty rate than Champaign, in the News-Gazette article “Cunningham Township Supervisor Breaks Down Poverty Stats for Board.” The university’s power to change our healthcare quality and price at will is exactly why we keep asking for a seat at the table, and this was a major subject of bargaining for over a year during our latest negotiations.

The University of Illinois at Chicago GEO is currently on strike, facing many of the same battles that led UIUC GEO to strike last year — including back-door pay cuts of this nature. The University of Illinois Board of Trustees needs to own up to its own actions, and the actions of its constituent universities, instead of blaming the labor unions which represent its workers.

The Graduate Employees’ Organization, AFT/IFT Local 6300, AFL-CIO, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, represents approximately 2,700 Teaching and Graduate Assistants on the UIUC Campus. In November 2009 and in February 2018, over 1,000 GEO members and allies participated in a strike to secure a fair contract and more accessible UIUC campus. With an active presence in the community, the GEO continues to work for high-quality and accessible public education in Illinois.

For more information, please contact geo@uigeo.org. More information can also be found on GEO’s website at www.uiucgeo.org.

Twitter: @geo_uiuc

Facebook: @uigeo @geosolcomm

Instagram: @geo_uiuc

GMM on Thursday!

Subject: GMM on Thursday!

***March 25th, 2019***

Table of Contents:

  • ANNOUNCEMENTS & EVENTS

    • Next GMM(s) on March 28th

    • Volunteer Hours + Coffee with Co-Presidents

  • JOIN A GEO COMMITTEE!

  • CONNECT WITH GEO!

ANNOUNCEMENTS & EVENTS

Next General Membership Meeting on March 28th at 12:00 pm and 6:30 pm

Join us for our next General Membership Meeting of the Spring 2019 semester on Thursday, March 28th! This GMM, we have urgent organizing updates and a mid-year review of our finances in our first academic year post-Janus. We will also be presenting proposed changes to our constitution and providing information regarding voting for these changes, which will occur at a later date yet to be decided. It is vital that our membership be aware of all of these updates and processes, so please come to this meeting! Here is the Facebook event for more information.

We will be having two GMMs during the day:

  1. 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

    • Serving: Bagels and Coffee

    • Childcare: provided

    • Doors open: 11:45 AM

  2. 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM

    • Serving: Little Caesars Pizza

    • Childcare: provided

    • Doors open: 6:15 PM.

Both GMMs will be at the Channing Murray Foundation (1209 W Oregon St, Urbana).

 

Volunteer Hours + Coffee with Co-Presidents

Want to help your union but not sure how? We have plenty of things around the office that we could use your help with! Come in any Monday between 11am and 1pm. This is a great low-stakes way to lend a hand. See our Facebook event for Volunteer Hours here.

As a member-run, member-centric union, GEO leadership want to be as available to you as possible. Co-presidents Bruce and Hilary will be in the office every Monday at 1pm; come by and grab a cup of coffee or tea, ask questions, or just have a chat! See the Facebook event for Coffee with Co-Presidents here.

 

—————–

 

JOIN A GEO COMMITTEE!

 

We are a member-run union; we depend on the commitment of our members to stay as strong as possible. You can find details about what each committee does and how to contact them on our website. No special knowledge is required. You can also follow the calendar of events on our website for the date and time of upcoming meetings: http://uiucgeo.org/events/. Meetings are open to membership, and coming to a meeting does not commit you to joining a committee.

 

Upcoming meetings:

Constitutional Committee (cc@uigeo.org) – Contact email for more

Healthcare Working Group (health@uigeo.org) – Contact email for more

Stewards’ Council (sc@uigeo.org) – See website next week

Finance Committee (treasurer@uigeo.org) – See website 1-2 weeks after GMM

Solidarity Committee (solcomm@uigeo.org) – Wednesday April 3, 5:30-7:00 pm

Grievance Committee (grievance@uigeo.org) – Wednesday April 3, 4:00-5:00 pm

Communications Committee (commcomm@uigeo.org) – Monday April 8, 5:00-6:30 pm

Coordinating Committee (cc@uigeo.org) – Friday April 5th, 4pm

 

—————–

 

CONNECT WITH GEO!

 

Have comments about the GMM? Other kinds of feedback for us? We want to hear it! Reply to this email or use our anonymous google form. You can also get in touch through our website and social media:

Website: www.uiucgeo.org

Twitter: @geo_uiuc

Facebook: @uigeo  @geosolcomm

Instagram: @geo_uiuc

In Solidarity,

Graduate Employees’ Organization

809 S. 5th St., Geneva Room

Champaign, IL 61820

Email: geo@uigeo.org

Statement of Solidarity with UIC GEO

GEO Statement of Solidarity with UIC GEO

March 20, 2019

The Graduate Employees’ Organization at UIUC (IFT/AFT Local 6300) strongly expresses our support for the Graduate Employees Organization (GEO) at the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC). Graduate workers at UIC went on strike on Tuesday, March 19, 2019. They are fighting for living wages, an end to excessive academic fees, and a transparent appointment process. After over a year of negotiations, they still have not reached an agreement for a fair contract with the university.

We stand in solidarity with UIC GEO while they face similar struggles to those we experienced one year ago. We went on strike for twelve days to protect tuition waivers, improve wages, require timely notification of reappointments, better healthcare, and transparency with student fees. The struggles of graduate workers at UIC are the same struggles graduate workers are facing all across the country. Graduate workers should not have to live with the constant anxiety of not knowing whether we will be able to continue our graduate work due to economic hardships and uncertainties in our appointments. A graduate education should be accessible to low income and underrepresented groups, not just the wealthy. The fight for better working conditions makes this possible.

We demand that the administrators at the University of Illinois-Chicago bargain in good faith to reach an agreement with UIC GEO. The University of Illinois System continues to profit from the work of its graduate employees, which is why graduate student labor needs to be recognized, valued, and fairly compensated.

The Graduate Employees’ Organization (GEO), IFT/AFT local 6300, AFL-CIO, is a member-run labor union and represents Teaching and Graduate Assistants (TAs and GAs) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In November 2009, and more recently, in February 2018, GEO members and allies participated in a strike to secure a fair contract and more accessible UIUC. With an active presence in the community, the GEO continues to work for high-quality and accessible public education in Illinois.

For more information, please contact us geo@uigeo.org.

More information can also be found on our website at www.uigeo.org

Twitter: @geo_uiuc    Facebook: @uigeo @geosolcomm        Instagram: @geo_uiuc

Statement Against the Proposed ICE Detention Center in Dwight, Illinois

GEO Statement Against the Proposed ICE Detention Center in Dwight, Illinois

February 28, 2019

We, the Graduate Employees Organization at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign IFT/AFT Local 6300 AFL-CIO, strongly condemn the proposed construction of a private prison in Dwight, Illinois. The Dwight Planning Commission met on Tuesday, February 19, 2019 to discuss the annexing of private land for a privately-run, federal immigration detention center. The detention center would serve to detain up to 1,200 undocumented immigrants. The Dwight Planning Commission voted in favor of annexing the private land for an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center. The Dwight village board will be meeting on Monday, March 11, 2019 to have a final vote on whether to approve the contract with the Immigration Centers of America. More than 100 protestors, including Dwight residents and activists from across the state of Illinois, attended the February 19 meeting to voice their opposition to the proposed plans.

The GEO is a sanctuary union that stands with all workers, regardless of citizenship or immigration status. We oppose ICE and their policies of deportation and family separation, which tear our families, communities, and workplaces apart. ICE detention centers are inhumane and cruel and they should be abolished. We call upon the Dwight Village Board to vote no on establishing this detention center, which will benefit no one but the corporate interests that profit off of the prison-industrial complex.

The Graduate Employees’ Organization, AFT/IFT Local 6300, AFL-CIO, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, represents approximately 2,700 Teaching and Graduate Assistants on the UIUC Campus. In November 2009 and in February 2018, over 1,000 GEO members and allies participated in a strike to secure a fair contract and more accessible UIUC campus. With an active presence in the community, the GEO continues to work for high-quality and accessible public education in Illinois.

For more information, please contact geo@uigeo.org. More information can also be found on GEO’s website at www.uiucgeo.org.

Twitter: @geo_uiuc

Facebook: @uigeo @geosolcomm

Instagram: @geo_uiuc

Statement of Solidarity with UNC-Chapel Hill TA Strike

GEO Statement of Solidarity with UNC-Chapel Hill TA Strike

The Graduate Employees’ Organization, IFT/AFT Local 6300, stands in solidarity with teaching assistants and anti-racist activists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who have called for teaching assistants and faculty members to go on strike and withhold final grades in response to the UNC Board of Trustees’ plan to reinstate the campus’ racist Silent Sam statue. Silent Sam was initially erected in 1913–a full 50 years after enslaved people forced the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation–by a white supremacist group called the United Daughters of the Confederacy. From its inception, Silent Sam was meant to be a monument to white supremacy, as evidenced by Julian Carr’s dedication speech, in which he declared that confederate soldiers had “saved the very life of the Anglo-Saxon race” and referred to whipping a “negro wench” in front of federal soldiers for insulting a “Southern lady.”

Not only have UNC’s Board and Chancellor decided to reinstate this monument, they have planned to do so at an immense cost: $5.3 million dollars, at a time when the university is raising student fees to make up a facilities maintenance budget.

No person should be expected to work or study in a racially hostile environment. We call on the UNC administration to do the right thing and accede to the protesters’ demands. We know first hand that the call to strike is not one to be made lightly, and we applaud TAs and faculty at UNC who are taking this step in the name of justice.