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.

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