Bargaining: 20th Session Summary

***Jan 7, 2017 — 145 days since our contract expired on August 15!***

On January 5th the GEO Bargaining Team (BT) and the UIUC Administration held their twentieth bargaining session / eighth mediation session, which lasted 8 hours. GEO would have stayed longer, but Administration notified us during the session that they were only available until 5 pm.

The Bargaining Team began the session by providing feedback on and raising concerns with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) proposed by the Administration at the very end of the previous session. The MOU is designed to begin to fix the Administration’s difficulty with sending appointment letters on time, and would establish a committee comprised of GEO and Administration members who would work to remedy the issue. Currently, over 95% of appointment letters are sent late in violation of our contract. This causes serious problems for GEO members who require timely notification of employment to secure housing and get visas.

After hearing our concerns, the Admin asked us to craft a counter-proposal, which we sent to them at 1:00. The Admin sent us back a counter at 4:45, meaning that we wouldn’t have time to respond before the session ended at 5:00. Regrettably, the Admin’s counter proposal was actually worse than the previous one they had sent us, despite the fact that we believed we were making progress towards reaching a mutually agreeable memorandum. The fact that the Admin would move further away from our position at this point shows that we need everyone to come together to continue to build on the awesome momentum we generated last semester–it’s going to take mass action outside the room to get a fair contract. We’ve already spent over 18 hours in mediated bargaining sessions working on this MOU, and it doesn’t even cost the Administration any money!!!

What Comes Next:

Join us in fighting for a fair contract!

New TA Orientation

Join GEO as we introduce our union to new graduate teachers at New TA Orientation on January 10th from 7:45am–4:45pm and January 11th from 7:45am–1:00pm at Wohlers Hall. GEO’s strength is its members, and you are all the best people to encourage new TAs to join the fight for a fair contract. If you can help out, please add your name to the sign-up sheet. Don’t feel like you need to be a GEO expert to participate. The Stewards’ Council will be facilitating a training on organizing conversations on January 9th at 4:30pm in the GEO office, and we will also have written talking points prepared. We hope you’ll be able to join us!


The session is tentatively scheduled for Jan 30th, but we’re trying to schedule an additional meeting before then.  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

Follow GEO Online:


Twitter: @geo_uiuc

Facebook: @uigeo @geosolcomm

Instagram: @geo_uiuc

Text the word “GEO” to 69238 to receive periodic messages concerning crucial bargaining updates and other urgent information. Msg & data rates may apply. Text STOP to 69238 to stop receiving messages. Text HELP to 69238 for more information. Terms & Conditions.


In Solidarity,

Graduate Employees’ Organization

809 S. 5th Street

McKinley Foundation, Geneva Room

Champaign, IL 61820



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