***October 31, 2017 — 77 days since our contract expired on August 15!***
Today, the GEO Bargaining Team (BT) and the UIUC Administration held their sixteenth bargaining session / fourth mediation session, which was the longest session yet. Once again, the Administration refused to make substantial movement toward our proposals. Now it’s time 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 stayed to bargain; the Administration left. We are ready to bargain anywhere, anytime, but a little after 5pm, the Administration said they were done for the day rather than responding to the latest proposal we sent them.
We made movement on multiple issues, but the Administration did not respond in any substantive way. Our proposal included health care, child care, appointment terms, and fee waiver. The Administration’s response fails to address the working conditions and financial reality that graduate employees face. Their proposal ended up the same as last week’s except for a tiny $50 increase to already flawed health care language after 8 hours of bargaining. It does not guarantee tuition waivers, offers only a 1% raise in the first year of a five year contract and no guaranteed raises after, and leaves graduate employees paying more for their health insurance in the long term. It offers no stipend for parents, no fee waiver or guarantee that the cost of fees won’t go up, and takes away any deadline for the Administration to send appointment letters. What they are offering not only doesn’t provide us with any gains, it takes away rights from our current contract.
We wanted to talk about appointment letters and how 95% of them are late, but the Administration refused to have meaningful conversation about it. They stuck to their assertion that it was “operationally difficult” for them to fulfill the agreement they made with us. We offered a compromise through a letter that would notify employees if their appointment letter was going to be late, but even that letter was deemed “operationally difficult.” Not only are they unwilling to tell you the specifics of your job 60 days in advance, they’re not willing to tell you if you’ll have a job at all.
What Comes Next:
General Membership Meeting: Strike Vote Results
Our General Membership meeting this week is CRUCIAL, as we’ll be providing information about the Admin’s proposal and presenting the results of our strike vote. 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 discussing the strike vote, we will also discuss the logistics of preparing for a strike and how to talk to your department about a potential strike.
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, November 7, 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 location has yet to be finalized. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com to sign a membership card. If you’re not sure of your membership status, please ask!
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Graduate Employees’ Organization
McKinley Foundation, Geneva Room
Champaign, IL 61820