Bargaining: 19th Session Summary and Tutor-In Action

***Dec 13th, 2017 — 120 days since our contract expired on August 15!***

Today, the GEO Bargaining Team (BT) and the UIUC Administration held their nineteenth bargaining session / seventh mediation session, which lasted 10 hours.

The Bargaining Team met with Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost Wilkins at the start of the session, and worked with Federal Mediators to move forward with the Administration on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) about getting appointment letters out in a more timely fashion. The Admin has made it clear getting out appointment letters on time simply isn’t a priority for them. In fact, the Provost even said, “We know it’s a problem, but I don’t know why we agreed to that in the first place.” Nevertheless, we made some progress in our conversations about the issue and hope to resolve it in our next session.  

Here are some other outlandish quotes from Provost Wilkins:

In regards to the tuition waiver tax designation, Wilkins stated, “Our intent is to mitigate the impact of the bill.” This may sound good, but he wouldn’t provide any specifics as to what they had in mind.

In regards to graduate employees, Wilkins stated that “graduate students are a priority, but there are other priorities, such as building restoration” and “faculty salaries” that are making us less competitive with institutions.

He went on to give us reasons why the University of Illinois had budgetary issues with our economic proposals, claiming that money is “earmarked for certain things.” This is false, and the revenue generated by tuition, fees, and other sources can be allocated to wherever the University administration wants it to go. Our proposals are an incredibly small fraction of the University budget and cost a lot less than unnecessary vanity projects like the renovations to the Illini Union and the new Campus Master Plan.

Let’s show the Administration that we’re not going to accept their regressive proposals and demand better working conditions by showing up in force for the Reading Day Overnight Tutor-In! More info below.


What Comes Next:

Join us in fighting for a fair contract!

All Day All Night Tutor-In on Reading Day

On Reading Day (tomorrow, Dec 14th), GEO is holding an all day all night tutor-in action to show our organizing power and our dedication to our undergraduate students. Join us as we work together in solidarity all day and all night to protest for a fair contract, and offer free tutoring to our students!

  • Here is a sign up for this action – please sign up, and get as many of your grad employee friends to sign up as possible! A flyer for this event is attached.  
  • Please invite your students for tutoring! Here is a sample email and here is a flyer to advertise this event to your students. 

We will start our full day tutor-in at 12 pm on Reading Day, Thursday, December 14 in the North Lounge of the Illini Union along with our allies in the NTFC who will be hosting their end-of-semester work-in. Come work in solidarity with your fellow graduate employees, hold office hours, offer tutoring, whatever you’d like! Please come whenever you’re able to between 12 pm and 11 pm, but we ask that you prioritise the hours around 12 pm and 5 pm for the daytime tutoring. Coffee and snacks will be provided throughout the day and dinner will be at 8 pm. Childcare will be provided.

More importantly, at 11 pm, we will begin our overnight tutor-in! Whatever your availability during the day, we want as many graduate employees as possible to come at 11 pm and stay until after the Illini Union closes at midnight. We will stay in the Illini Union until 8 am the next morning and be available for free tutoring to our students all night. We did this in 2012 and the administration allowed us to stay overnight, so we expect this to go the same way. If we are asked to leave, we will leave and ask our students to leave as well.

This action is going to be crucial for showing our power to the Admin and moving the needle during bargaining–and the tutor-in allows us to do so in a way that helps our students! We hope to see many of you there tomorrow. Don’t forget to invite your students too!


The session is tentatively scheduled for Jan 5th. 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

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 to sign a membership card. If you’re not sure of your membership status, please ask!

See the GEO event calendar for future BT meetings, bargaining sessions, and other events. Add it to your Google calendar by searching for

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Twitter: @geo_uiuc

Facebook: @uigeo @geosolcomm

Instagram: @geo_uiuc

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In Solidarity,

Graduate Employees’ Organization

809 S. 5th Street

McKinley Foundation, Geneva Room

Champaign, IL 61820