***October 24, 2017 — 70 days since our contract expired on August 15!***
Today, the GEO Bargaining Team (BT) and the UIUC Administration held their fifteenth bargaining session / third mediation session, which was the longest session yet. Once again, the Administration refused to make substantial movement toward our proposals. Now it’s time for us to get organized to take serious action to show them we mean business–including gearing up for a strike.
Please read below for more information on what happened today and what comes next.
- We signed a Tentative Agreement (TA) on Grievance Procedure and Health and Safety. Despite promising to provide us a healthcare proposal at the beginning of the session, the Administration changed their tune and decided they wanted to clear non-economic items off the table first. They asked us to drop our Distribution of Information proposal to sign a TA on Grievance Procedure and Health and Safety. After some back and forth, we ended up signing a TA on Grievance Procedure and Health and Safety so that we could move forward to bargain more contentious issues.
- They gave us a disappointing economic proposal. This included everything left on the table, including our biggest priorities such as Tuition Waivers, Wages, and Healthcare. However, their proposal fails to seriously address the working conditions and financial reality that graduate employees face: it does not guarantee tuition waiver protections, offers only a 1% raise in the first year of the five year contract and no guaranteed raises after, and leaves graduate employees paying more for their health care. It offers no stipend for parents, no fee waiver or guarantee that the cost of fees won’t go up, and allows the Administration to get away with not even trying to send us our appointment letters on time. What they are offering is at odds with what we want–not only does it not provide us with any gains, it takes away rights from our current contract. Simply put, it’s unsatisfactory. Now, it’s clear that if we want to keep our protections in place and make contract gains in bargaining, then we need all members to come together and take action, including preparing for a strike.
What Comes Next:
Rally and Mediation Update — and Swanlund Sit-In
We will have a rally with speakers on Thursday, October 26th, 11:30am-12:30pm, at the Swanlund Administration Building (corner of 6th and John) to demand a fair contract, and to provide an update on the mediation session. We’re calling on all members, students, faculty, staff, and supporters to join us at the rally in solidarity. Wear your GEO swag and bring a sign!
Now, because the Administration has refused to make substantial movement, we’ve decided to turn up the heat by also holding a peaceful sit-in in the Swanlund Building from 8am-5pm on Thursday to go along with the rally. This action is designed to demonstrate our resolve to the Admin and raise awareness of our struggle in the public, and we need as many members and supporters as possible to come join us for as long as possible (and please feel free to bring your work!). We will not be blocking any access to the building or asking anyone to engage in civil disobedience. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
General Membership Meeting: Strike Vote
Our General Membership meeting this week is CRUCIAL, as we’ll be providing more information about the Admin’s proposal and beginning our strike vote to see how members feel about going on strike. The meeting will be Thursday, 6:30-7:30pm, at the Channing Murray Foundation (1209 W Oregon Street, Urbana). Food and childcare will be provided. Come and help GEO get the contract you want! Here is a link to the Facebook event for the GMMs.
In addition to kicking off the strike vote, we will also discuss the logistics of preparing for a strike and will have an opportunity to elect a slate of interested members to join the Strike Committee. Any member can indicate their interest in joining the Strike Committee slate to be elected. No experience is necessary–any member who wants to help out is welcome to serve.
We encourage you to make it a priority to attend these weekly GMMs in order for us all to work together to get the contract that we want.
NEXT BARGAINING SESSION: Tuesday, October 31st, 2017, at 9:00am. We have not decided on an end time, but plan to go several hours longer than our usual end time of 1:00pm. The session will be at the Illinois Fire Service Institute (11 Gerty Drive, Champaign). All members are welcome to attend for part or all of the session. You can also find more information about bargaining on our website.
If you have questions about bargaining or the BT’s proposal, attending a meeting is the best way to address them. You can reach us at email@example.com. You can also find more info about bargaining on our website.
Are you a member?
Our members are why we succeed at the bargaining table! If you haven’t signed a membership card yet, don’t delay! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign a membership card. If you’re not sure of your membership status, please ask!
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