Bargaining Session Summaries

List of Bargaining Sessions
March 4th, 2018
February 25th, 2018
February 23rd, 2018
February 15th, 2018
February 7th, 2018
January 30th, 2018
January 18th, 2018
January 5th, 2018
December 13th, 2017
November 29th, 2017
November 7th, 2017
October 31st, 2017
October 10th, 2017
October 3rd, 2017
September 5th, 2017
August 24th, 2017
August 15th, 2017Our Contract Expired!
August 8th, 2017
July 11th, 2017
June 20th, 2017
June 6th, 2017
May 23rd, 2017
May 2nd, 2017
April 17th, 2017
March 30th, 2017


 

***March 4, 2018 — 202 days since our contract expired on August 15th***

Our Strike Continues

The GEO Strike will continue into its eighth day on Monday, March 5 and pickets will resume at 8:00am.

Thank you for making this the strongest strike in GEO history and the longest strike on the UIUC campus! Our picket lines grew each day, and we came together to show our collective strength. We are renewed and ready to picket again on Monday. We need you out there

Bargaining Update

The mediators suggested the parties meet this weekend. The GEO bargaining team is always ready to meet if it will move bargaining forward, however the Administration did not arrive with anything different from previous sessions. No proposals were exchanged today. We made it clear that our strike is strong and we are not backing down from our position: if you are employed doing bargaining unit work, you receive full compensation per our contract, including a full tuition waiver, regardless of what department you are employed by or study in.

The Administration knows that the stakes are high, but our strike is going strong and we will stay out as long as it takes to save our union, protect tuition waivers, and ensure access to education for all!

Our next bargaining session is currently scheduled for Wednesday, March 7th. Our Bargaining Team is ready to meet whenever the Administration would like to.


 

***February 25, 2018 —

195 days since our contract expired on August 15th***

Strike Begins on Monday

Because the Administration has refused to negotiate a contract that secures membership priorities, we will be going on strike, beginning Monday 2/26 at 8:00am. Our picket lines will go from 8:00am-5:00pm every day until we secure a fair contract. We will be meeting at the Eternal Flame Pillar in between the English Building and Lincoln Hall on the Main Quad to assign picketing locations. Everyone, GEO member or not, is welcome to join us on the picket line.

In order to WIN, we need to withhold ALL of our labor and have a mass presence on our picket lines. Now is the time to commit to supporting each other for as long as is needed to win.

Bargaining Update

Thank you everyone for your organizing work! Everyone who committed to our strike, signed up for picket shifts, did office visits, and showed their support and solidarity have put us in a great position to be prepared for a powerful strike and win a great contract for our membership!

At the beginning of the bargaining session today, the GEO presented a new comprehensive proposal to the Administration and gave them two hours to provide a response. The Administration sent over a proposal that made no real changes from their previous proposal, illustrating that they’re not interested in bargaining a fair contract that protects tuition waivers. For a markup of the Administration’s proposal from last Friday, see this link. The GEO gave the Administration until 5:00pm to get serious and make substantial movement, especially on tuition waiver protection.

The Administration told the GEO that they would not move. At 5:00pm, the bargaining team kept its promise, left the bargaining room, and joined the rest of the GEO at the rally outside the Illinois Fire Service Institute.


 

***February 23, 2018 —

193 days since our contract expired on August 15th***

Bargaining Updates

Thank you everyone for your organizing work this week! Everyone who committed to our strike, signed up for picket shifts, did office visits, and continued to show their support and solidarity have put us in a great position to be prepared for a powerful strike and win a great contract for our membership!

The Administration’s proposal given today, while making some movement in wages and healthcare, does not offer us the tuition waiver protections we need, and would fundamentally redefine the meaning of graduate labor on this campus. The Administration is attempting to limit access to education by restricting who is able to obtain tuition waivers as part of their compensation for graduate work.

The Administration continues to attempt to use the Campus Wage Program to determine graduate employee salaries. The GEO asked for an explanation of the program and documentation on how the Administration puts together its budget. The Administration would not provide any documentation for how its budget is constructed and told the GEO that, under the Campus Wage Program, the President and three Chancellors (one for each campus) have unilateral power to decide the pay rates for employees across the UI system. The Campus Wage Program lacks any transparency and constitutes an illegal failure to bargain wages, a mandatory subject of bargaining, and we filed an unfair labor practice about this over a month ago. Today, we filed a Freedom of Information Act request for all emails and meeting notes between the President and Chancellors related to the Campus Wage Program.


***February 19, 2018 —  189 days since our contract expired on August 15th***

Bargaining Update

At our last session, on Thursday, Feb. 15, over the course of 12 hours, GEO and the Administration sent several proposals back and forth. Because the Administration insists on continuing to threaten tuition waivers and is unwilling to provide a meaningful increase in their financial package, little movement was made toward reaching a compromise. The Administration has never argued that they can’t afford our proposals, but it is clear they simply do not value our labor enough to provide us with fair compensation and financial stability. We will continue to meet to try to avoid a strike, but more than ever we need to make sure we’re continuing to put in the organizing effort to make sure we’re ready to walk off the job on February 26th.

We’ll be back in the bargaining room Friday, Feb. 23rd, hoping to reach a settlement before our strike Monday. All members are invited.


***February 7, 2018 —  176 days since our contract expired on August 15th***

Table of Contents:

23rd Bargaining Session Recap

Thank you to the members who turned out this morning AND this evening to demonstrate our power! The morning’s rally was fantastic, and everyone who turned out on short notice to rally again at 7:00pm was inspiring. It truly paints a picture of what we can accomplish when we come together.

At this session, the administration revealed their plans to terminate full tuition waiver protections and bust our Union. The administration argues that our tuition waivers are a permissive subject of bargaining, meaning that we legally cannot strike over it. Our position is that, as compensation, tuition waivers are a mandatory subject of bargaining and legal to strike over, a position also upheld by two legally-binding arbitration decisions.

The administration wants to make it so that they can redesignate any program to be self-supporting, which means that both current and incoming graduate students could lose access to tuition waiver generating appointments, even if they do the work of a TA or GA. If members don’t have tuition waivers, they won’t be able to attend school here.

As tuition waiver generating appointments disappear from many departments, we will be forced to compete over the limited number of waiver-generating positions in the small number of departments that offer them. Not only will this make graduate education unaffordable, but it means that fewer graduate employees will be legally protected by GEO’s contract. This will decimate individual graduate programs. Departments will only be able to recruit those who can afford to pay tuition rather than seeking out the best students. With fewer graduate students on campus and fewer positions covered by the contract, GEO will go extinct.

The administration is claiming that the GEO is attempting to prevent them from creating new programs. We recognize that the administration has the right to create new programs. However, as long as a graduate employee performs bargaining unit work, then that graduate employee MUST be paid their full compensation under the terms of our contract, including a tuition waiver.

We’re no longer just fighting for fair compensation and working conditions: we’re fighting for the life of our Union, the ability to attend graduate school, the strength of our departments, and the future of higher education.

Here is a link to the university administration’s proposal from the bargaining session today. We are seeking the same tuition waiver side letter language as our last contract, which can be found at uigeo.org.

——-
GEO Announces Strike Date to the University Administration

In response to these threats, we are announcing our strike date of Monday, February 26, 2018. If they have not made significant movement to protect our tuition waivers, ensure economic stability, and preserve our Union by 8:00 am on that day, picketing will begin.

Our team stayed and bargained with the administration for 15 hours. We will do everything in our power to avoid a strike, but as the administration saw today, we are prepared to strike if we have to.

On our website, we have resources to help inform and answer questions about a strike. Our FAQ includes information on how to talk to faculty and students about the strike, information about retaliation (which is illegal), and a link to our detailed Strike Manual. If you have other questions, talk to your steward or email us at geo@uigeo.org!
——-
What Comes Next:
Join us in fighting for a fair contract!
General Membership Meeting

Our next GMM will be Thursday, February 8, at 6:30pm in the Channing Murray Foundation (1209 W Oregon St, Urbana). With our Union under threat, it’s important to come together and prepare for a strike that wins us a contract! Food and childcare provided.
Commitment and Accountability is how we win!


***Jan 30th, 2018 — 169 days since our contract expired on August 15!***

Thank you to all the GEO members and supporters who arrived early this morning to line the halls of the Fire Services Institute before the bargaining session began. Over 100 people showed up, including people who brought their children, to look the Administration in the eye before administration sent their comprehensive proposal response. Chanting from GEO members and supporters echoed in the halls for a few minutes. The Administration’s bargaining team called the police to report us as a noise nuisance, stating they could not focus on their discussion. Apparently the Administration did not do their homework in preparing a proposal for us to start today’s session, so they needed almost 45 minutes to give us a response to our proposal from the last session.

The Administration’s initial proposal included:

  • a wage increase that does not keep up with the cost of living or provide our members with the economic stability they need (1.5%-2% for the first year, 1% for the second, and 1.5% for the third, nothing for the final two contract years).
  • an article on appointment terms which provided no remedy for late appointment letters while shortening the definition of ‘late.’
  • no fee waivers
  • a cap on their own expenses for healthcare while leaving us on the hook for the rest, even as our healthcare costs continue to increase.
  • the same child care informational link that they have proposed before
  • a horrendous Tuition Waiver Side Letter that undermines our access to tuition waivers

Together this proposal makes education unaffordable and inaccessible for graduate employees!!

We waited for weeks for the administration to respond to our information request about fee waivers, and today the administration finally gave us information about where our fee money goes. With this information, we were able to start discussions through the mediator about moving toward a new agreement. In a substantial show of movement on our part, we even signaled a willingness to pay certain fees that cover services that directly benefit graduate employees: the transportation fee and the student initiated fees. The Administration did not respond.

We also discussed appointment terms today, specifically, what remedy we could agree on for the many graduate employees whose appointment letters are late. Almost a year ago, we proposed financial compensation for the stress caused by late appointment letters. The Administration claimed that would be too burdensome for them, but consistently refused to suggest any ideas of their own. We maintained that we needed a financial remedy. Finally, today the Administration returned with a compromise we think benefits our members: the timeline for receiving appointment letters will be shorter, but employees who receive their appointment letters late can be awarded financial compensation. GEO agrees to this in principle and we are looking forward to including this in our future economic proposals.

We were only able to get this movement from the Administration because of our member actions. After essentially ending our session early last time, they stayed for almost twelve hours today–a direct testament to our member mobilization. By filing our Intent to Strike paperwork and then having so many members show up for the bargaining session, we showed the Administration that we are serious about winning a better contract for GEO, and are prepared to do whatever it takes.

What Comes Next:

Join us in fighting for a fair contract!

Strike Committee Meeting

The Strike Committee will be meeting on Saturday, 2/3, at 2pm in the GEO office to prepare for a possible strike. All members are welcome and encouraged to attend.

General Membership Meeting

Our next GMM will be Thursday, February 1, at 6:30pm in the Channing Murray Foundation (1209 W Oregon St, Urbana)

NEXT BARGAINING SESSION:

The date of the next session has not yet been announced, but we will publish that information once a date has been set. 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 barg@uigeo.org.


***Jan 18th, 2017 — 156 days since our contract expired on August 15!***

On January 18th the GEO Bargaining Team (BT) and the UIUC Administration held their twenty-first bargaining session.

We started by talking to the mediator about what happened over the past two sessions regarding a memorandum of understanding (MOU) about the timeliness of appointment letters. At the end of the last session on January 5th, the Administration gave us a proposal that was a stark shift in their former position, ignoring all we accomplished together in a collaborative brainstorming session on December 12th. Today, we pushed the mediator to get a reason from the administration for their sudden change of heart. The mediator returned more confused than he left, suggesting that we could try to meet face to face with the admin team yet again about this topic. Given the number of things still on the table, we decided another discussion about the MOU would be a waste of time today, which is a huge disappointment given that we had previously reached an agreement in principle with the Administration. We realized we needed to do something to push them and reveal their true intentions.

At 11:22 a.m., the GEO bargaining team gave the Administration a comprehensive package proposal that contained all of the items still being negotiated. This package contained movement from the GEO’s initial positions on our wages, healthcare, appointment terms, duration, and childcare proposals. The GEO bargaining team has taken this definitive strategic position in order to demonstrate that we are interested in doing everything we can to resolve negotiations at the table and avoid a strike.

The Administration, however, does not seem to share this desire. At 2:30 p.m., the mediator let us know that the Administration would not be replying to our package today–despite the fact that we were scheduled to bargain until 4:00 p.m. They also did not respond to an information request sent over the weekend asking how the fee money we pay is spent by the University. It’s become abundantly clear that bargaining isn’t working. We believe that the Administration is bargaining in this way in order to force the GEO out onto picket lines.

These next few weeks will be crucial for us, as we prepare for a possible strike. If we all come together, we will win. We need everyone to be talking with and educating their colleagues, faculty, prospective students to your program, and your own students to inform them of our struggle and let them know what’s at stake.

What Comes Next:

Join us in fighting for a fair contract!

Call/Email the Provost

The GEO bargaining team would like EVERYONE to help us send a message to the administration today: please call (217.333.6677) or email (cangella@illinois.edu) our provost Andreas Cangellaris and demand that this institution treat graduate employees with the respect they deserve and bargain with the GEO in good faith. Demand he hear us and help the GEO bargaining team force this administrative team to stop stalling and start bargaining. Here’s a template you can use:

Provost Cangellaris,

I am a (GEO member/alumni/undergraduate student/etc). I am disgusted by the lack of good faith effort demonstrated by this administration during this bargaining cycle. You should be embarrassed that a group of administrators representing the U of I system as an employer continuously make excuses for their lack of movement from their ridiculous positions by claiming things are too operationally difficult to implement, or that they don’t have the information they need to make decisions. This is an appalling way to run a university that supposedly prides itself on providing a world-class education to its students.

Your graduate employees perform crucial labor that make this university world-class, and yet you dare them to walk off the job in order to secure such bare necessities as modest wage increases and better healthcare coverage. A graduate employee making a minimum wage on this campus is making 29% less than what is published as a living wage for this community. In this communication I will ask you nicely: please do your job in a way that actually reflects the values the U of I system claims publicly. Force the administration’s bargaining team to bargain in good faith and stop making pathetic attempts to expand management rights and nullify the effects of our collective bargaining agreement. We love our students and don’t want to do anything that detracts from the quality of their education. However, we will if we have to.

How dare you let these administrators sit around in a room all day and dare us to put this campus through a strike.

Sincerely,

Strike Committee Meeting

The Strike Committee will be meeting on Saturday, 1/20, at 4:00pm in the GEO office to prepare for a possible strike. All members are welcome and encouraged to attend.

General Membership Meeting

Our next GMM will be Thursday, January 25, at 6:30pm in the Channing Murray Foundation (1209 W Oregon St, Urbana), and it will be a crucial one. We will be discussing and answering questions about a possible strike. Please make it a priority to attend this meeting and let your colleagues and friends know they should attend as well. Food and childcare will be provided. Here’s a link to the Facebook event.

NEXT BARGAINING SESSION:

The session is tentatively scheduled for Jan 30th. 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 barg@uigeo.org.


***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!

NEXT BARGAINING SESSION:

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 barg@uigeo.org.


***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!

NEXT BARGAINING SESSION:

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.


***November 30, 2017 — 107 days since our contract expired on August 15!***

Yesterday, the GEO Bargaining Team (BT) and the UIUC Administration held their eighteenth bargaining session / sixth mediation session.

Please read below for more information on what happened yesterday and what comes next.

After an 11-hour bargaining session, we signed a memorandum of understanding forcing the Administration to comply with an arbitration decision from 2016 by reimbursing former graduate employees who were wrongly denied TA positions in 2014 and 2015 and thus forced to pay tuition.These students have graduated, but GEO still fought for their reimbursement–and we won over $100,000 these students were owed. The Administration had fought long and hard to not pay this money back, even refusing to respond to our Grievance Committee’s phone calls and emails, so the fact that we were able to achieve this victory today shows that our organizing efforts have paid off. Let’s keep the momentum going and win our best contract ever!

For more information about the MCS Arbitration, you can read this article in the Public i.

What Comes Next:

Join us in fighting for a fair contract!

General Membership Meeting: Work Actions and Organizing

The meeting will be today, November 30, 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.

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:

The session is tentatively scheduled for  Dec. 12th. 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 barg@uigeo.org.



***November 7, 2017 — 83 days since our contract expired on August 15!***

Today, the GEO Bargaining Team (BT) and the UIUC Administration held their seventeenth bargaining session / fifth mediation session. Once again, the Administration refused to make substantial movement toward our proposals.

Please read below for more information on what happened today and what comes next.

  • The Administration still wants us to reduce our financial proposals, especially wages, but we refused. They want us to reduce our own proposals rather than giving us meaningful proposals of their own. We’ve provided extensive rationale and data for our proposals justifying our proposals, but they haven’t done the same for us.
  • The Administration finally indicated some willingness to honor an arbitration decision from January 2016 and pay back some MCS graduates who were denied access to tuition waivers. They are still not willing to pay back all affected graduates, but this is a positive step. We are working to resolve this for as many graduate employees as possible to make sure they get the money they are owed. If you’re interested in learning more about the MCS arbitration, check out this article published in the Public i.
  • After initially proposing deep cuts to our current language on appointment terms, the Administration has begun to move back towards status quo. However, a lot of work still needs to be done to reach an agreement. The Administration is still pushing us to abandon our ability to grieve late appointment letters.
  • The Administration is still refusing to acknowledge the importance of our tuition waivers. They have again proposed their earlier side letter that would allow them to reduce tuition waiver protections and undercut our bargaining unit.

What Comes Next: Join us in fighting for a fair contract!

General Membership Meeting: Strike Planning and Mediation Update

The meeting will be on Thursday, November 9, 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.

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:

The session is tentatively scheduled for November 16th. 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 barg@uigeo.org.

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 geo@uigeo.org 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 geo@uigeo.org.

Follow GEO Online:

Website: www.uigeo.org

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.


Bargaining: 16th Session Summary, Rally, and Strike Vote at General Membership Meeting on Thursday

***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 barg@uigeo.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 geo@uigeo.org 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 geo@uigeo.org.

Follow GEO Online:

Website: www.uigeo.org

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.


Bargaining: 15th Session Summary, Rally, and Strike Vote at General Membership Meeting on Thursday

***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 geo@uigeo.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 barg@uigeo.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 geo@uigeo.org 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 geo@uigeo.org.

Follow GEO Online:

Website: www.uigeo.org

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.


Fourteenth Bargaining Session/Second Mediation Session

***October 10, 2017 — 56 days since our contract expired on August 15!***

Today, the GEO Bargaining Team (BT) and the UIUC Administration held their fourteenth bargaining session / second mediation session.

Please read below for more information on what happened today and what comes next.

  • The Administration finally gave us a counter proposal package on Appointment Terms, Grievance, and Health and Safety. Once again, the Admin indicated that they don’t care about our members’ issues and do not care to fix their systemic problem with sending appointment letters late. They want to take away our current 60 day deadline for receiving appointment letters before the start of the appointment and our ability to grieve late appointment letters. We refused to sign their language.
  • We gave the Admin proposals on Healthcare and Childcare. Again, we proved our willingness to come to the table and bargain in good faith to seek a contract that works for both parties. They gave us a response to our childcare proposal indicating that they are willing to provide childcare resources via a website link. When we pushed for a response to our health care proposal, they were unwilling to give us a counter at the session today.
  • We told the Admin that if they don’t make substantial movement at our next mediation session on the 24th, then we will be forced to respond with escalating actions outside of the bargaining room. Our March on Swanlund last week demonstrated our resolve, and we made it very clear that if the Admin do not make substantial movement in the next mediation session, then our members are prepared to continue to take the necessary actions to win a fair contract. Both parties agreed to have a longer session on the 24th.

What Comes Next:

General Membership Meeting: Electing The Strike Committee

To keep all our members updated regularly about bargaining and our organizing action plan, we have scheduled weekly General Membership Meetings (GMMs) every Thursday. These will help our Bargaining Team know what members want and allow us to coordinate actions to get the contract that we deserve! The next GMM is this 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.

At this GMM, we will discuss the logistics of preparing for a strike and will elect a slate of interested members to serve on 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 24th, 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. 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 barg@uigeo.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 geo@uigeo.org 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 geo@uigeo.org.

Follow GEO Online:

Website: www.uigeo.org

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.


Thirteenth Bargaining Session/First Mediation Session

***October 3, 2017 — 49 days since our contract expired on August 15!***

Today, the GEO Bargaining Team (BT) and the UIUC Administration held their thirteenth bargaining session (first mediation session).

Please read below for more information on what happened today and what comes next.

  • We met with the mediator, updated him on the status of bargaining, and explained the rationale for our proposals.
  • We presented the Admin with a new package proposal. The proposal, which addressed, among other things, appointment letters and grievance procedure, was a good-faith effort on our part to work with the Admin to compromise and move some non-economic items off the table so we can focus on the tougher conversations like wages and healthcare. Still, the Admin refused to even negotiate it.
  • The Admin refused our proposal, and did not offer a counter. They then stalled for the remainder of the session. It’s clear that the Admin has no intention of bargaining in good faith with us, and think that if they can continue to stall we’ll eventually give up and be forced to accept a regressive contract with reduced tuition waivers, more expensive healthcare, and worse wages. Only our collective actions outside the bargaining room can force them to agree to a fair contract. Therefore, we’ve got two important events lined up this week–our March on Swanlund on Wednesday at noon, and our GMM on Thursday at 6:30pm. More info on both below–your attendance and participation is crucial for us all getting a fair contract!

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 barg@uigeo.org. You can also find more info about bargaining on our website.

What Comes Next:

March on Swanlund, October 4th at Noon

To protest the Administration’s continued stalling in the bargaining room, we will be marching on the Swanlund Administration building on October 4th at noon, come rain or shine. October 4th marks 50 days GEO members have worked without a contract. Our march will begin at Anniversary Plaza. We’ll then march around the quad before holding a brief rally outside of the Swanlund Administration Building. The Administration will only take us seriously at the bargaining table if we can show them our collective power. We need every GEO member and ally to join the march and fight for a fair contract. Here is a link to the Facebook event for the march.

General Membership Meeting: Strike Education

We have weekly General Membership Meetings (GMMs) every Thursday. We have been bargaining for a new contract since March and succeeded in expanding our Non-Discrimination statement, making Parental Leave more flexible, and adding a new Visa and Immigration Leave article. However, we still have most of the contract left to negotiate — including all economic issues. To keep all our members updated regularly, we have scheduled weekly GMMs. These will help our Bargaining Team know what members want and allow us to coordinate actions to get the contract that we deserve! GMMs are every 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.

Members, we need all of your participation for this struggle! We encourage you to make it a priority to attend these weekly events in order for us all to get the contract we want.

NEXT BARGAINING SESSION: Tuesday, October 10th, 2017, 9:00am-1:00pm, Illinois Fire Service Institute (11 Gerty Drive, Champaign). All members are welcome to attend. You can also find more information 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 geo@uigeo.org 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 geo@uigeo.org.

Follow GEO Online:

Website: www.uigeo.org

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.


Twelfth Bargaining Session

***September 5, 2017 — 21 days since our contract expired on August 15!***

Today, the GEO Bargaining Team (BT) and the UIUC Administration held their twelfth bargaining session. Thank you to all members who attended!

Please read below for more information on what happened today and what comes next.

NEXT BARGAINING SESSION: Wednesday, September 20, 2017, 9:00am-12:00pm, Illinois Fire Service Institute (11 Gerty Drive, Champaign). We need as many members in attendance as possible if we want to make gains! You can also find more information about bargaining on our website.

  • We signed a Tentative Agreement (TA) that grants us more flexible parental accommodation and states that supervisors and HR must strive to accommodate grad employees who have to miss work due to visa issues. This TA ensures two weeks of paid parental accommodation, and an additional four week flexible leave to be taken at the employee’s discretion. We have also secured a new visa/immigration leave article that states that the Administration will strive to accommodate absences due to visa/immigration procedures and will strive to provide tuition waiver generating appointments to affected employees when they return to campus. This was a long, difficult fight, and is indicative of even more contentious battles to come.
  • The Admin gave us an egregious counter-proposal on Appointment Terms and Grievance, which does nothing to fix their chronic problem of delivering appointment letters late–even though we have a legally binding arbitration that says they are in the wrong. Currently, over 90% of grad employees receive their appointment letters late, but the Admin doesn’t want to do anything to remedy the issue. They don’t seem to realize how difficult it is to plan for our future when we don’t know what sort of appointment we’ll have. This proposal would also weaken our ability to grieve contract violations, and would reduce our current contract in a number of other ways. The Admin also asked us to withdraw our Distribution of Information article, which is important for us as it provides us better ways to contact grad employees to inform them about their rights. We indicated our disappointment that they would even think to propose a package like this.
  • Finally we made the case for a mediator to be brought in. We’ve been bargaining since March, and only have two TAs to show for it. The Admin has been dragging their feet as much as possible, despite their claims back in July that they were “confident” we would have a contract by the time school started. Instead, we’ve been working for over twenty days without a new contract–and we haven’t even discussed some of the more contentious issues, like health care or wages! A mediator will hopefully help speed up the process, but the only real way to make strides is to have as many members as possible at bargaining sessions and work actions to demonstrate our collective power to the Administration and push them to move forward. We need all our members to become empowered to collectively take action to win better working conditions!

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 barg@uigeo.org. You can also find more info about bargaining at our website.

What Comes Next:

We will have a General Membership Meeting on Wednesday, September 13, 6:30-8:30pm (location TBD–check our Facebook page for the info closer to the date). This meeting will be for bargaining-related updates and to get membership input on how to proceed and strategize with our economic and non-economic proposals. WE NEED YOUR INPUT AND SUPPORT to strategize on winning further gains! Please come to the General Membership Meeting (GMM) to let us know about your ideas, questions, and concerns.

Members, we need all of your participation for this struggle! Please attend the next bargaining session: we need you! The Bargaining Team represents members at the table. We look to you, the members, for input when we go to break out sessions. The more members in the room, the better informed our decisions at the table.

Attending bargaining sessions is the best way to actively engage in the negotiation of your wages, healthcare, and other protections. It is perfectly acceptable to come late or leave early from a bargaining session if you can’t stay the entire time. Just being present demonstrates our unity and strength to the Administration. You can even bring your work if you want. Coffee and food will be provided.

If you can’t make it to the bargaining session, you can still keep up with bargaining updates by attending GEO committee meetings and general membership meetings, following GEO on social media, and reading GEO emails.

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

See the GEO event calendar for future Bargaining Team meetings, bargaining sessions, and other events. Add it to your Google calendar by searching for geo@uigeo.org. Bargaining Team meetings and bargaining sessions are open to all members. Please contact the Bargaining Team (barg@uigeo.org) with any questions.

Follow GEO Online:

Website: www.uigeo.org

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.


Eleventh Bargaining Session

***August 24, 2017 — 9 days since our contract expired Aug 15!***

Today, the GEO Bargaining Team (BT) and the UIUC Administration held their eleventh bargaining session. Thank you to all members who attended!

Please read below for more information on what happened today and what comes next.

NEXT BARGAINING SESSION: Tuesday, September 5, 2017, 9:00am-12:00pm, Illinois Fire Service Institute (11 Gerty Drive, Champaign). All members are welcome! You can also find more information about bargaining on our website.

  • We received and asked questions about a new Leaves and Holidays proposal from the Administration that includes more flexible parental accommodation. The proposal, however, is contingent on us dropping our Child Care proposal. We’ve been fighting for more flexible parental accommodation for weeks now, and thanks to our organizing efforts the Admin has proposed a weaker version of our Leaves and Holidays article that includes flexible parental accommodation language as well as Visa and Immigration leave language. It’s a tough decision, and one we will discuss and receive input on at our General Membership Meeting on Tuesday, August 29th. If this issue is important to you, please attend the General Membership Meeting to voice your opinion to our Bargaining Team.
  • We proposed a package focused on Appointment Terms, which is designed to alleviate the Admin’s chronic issue with sending our appointment letters late. Almost every graduate employee (an estimated 95%) on this campus have received their appointment letter late at some point, which keeps us in the dark about our employment and makes it hard to plan our future. We’ve taken the Admin to arbitration over this, and won–but they’ve still not offered any remedies and continue to send late appointment letters. Our proposal would make the Admin provide financial compensation for employees who receive late appointment letters, but the Admin is refusing to accept this.
  • We stood firm on maintaining our current grievance procedure. The Admin proposed requiring all grievance meetings include a representative from Academic Human Resources, even informal meetings. This has been proven to have an intimidating effect on members, and would make it more difficult to resolve grievances in the long term. We indicated to the Admin that we have no interest in changing our current practice.

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 barg@uigeo.org. You can also find more info about bargaining at our website.

What Comes Next:

We will have a General Membership Meeting on Tuesday, August 29th, 6:30-8:30pm at the GEO Office (809 S. 5h St. Champaign, Geneva Room). This meeting will specifically be for bargaining-related updates and to get membership input on how to proceed and strategize with our Immigration and Visa Leave, Parental Leave, and Childcare Subsidy proposals. We have succeeded in expanding our Non-Discrimination article, but are still fighting to win Immigration and Visa Leave for international graduate employees as well as more flexible parental leave and a childcare subsidy for grad employee parents. WE NEED YOUR INPUT AND SUPPORT to strategize on winning these proposals! Please come to our first General Membership Meeting (GMM) to let us know about your ideas, questions, and concerns.

Members, we need all of your participation for this struggle! Please attend the next bargaining session: we need you! The Bargaining Team represents members at the table. We look to you, the members, for input when we go to break out sessions. The more members in the room, the better informed our decisions at the table.

Attending bargaining sessions is the best way to actively engage in the negotiation of your wages, healthcare, and other protections. It is perfectly acceptable to come late or leave early from a bargaining session if you can’t stay the entire time. Just being present demonstrates our unity and strength to the Administration. You can even bring your work if you want. Coffee and food will be provided.

If you can’t make it to the bargaining session, you can still keep up with bargaining updates by attending GEO committee meetings and general membership meetings, following GEO on social media, and reading GEO emails.

Our Contract Expired–What Does That Mean For You?

The GEO has been bargaining with the administration since March, working hard to secure a new, more equitable contract based on the four pillars our membership voted on last spring: Tuition and Fee Waivers, Healthcare, Wages, and Access and Equality.

Because we are still negotiating with the Administration, we are entering the fall semester without a new contract. However, the expired contract includes a clause stating that it will remain in effect during negotiations, so you can go to work as you normally would.

GEO is committed to winning a better contract for all our members, but our power is directly determined by our membership. We won our first major victory a few weeks ago by expanding our non-discrimination clause to include ethnicity, gender expression, visa and immigration status, and arrest record as protected categories. We were only able to achieve this because members organized around this issue, and came to bargaining sessions to show their support –and there’s a lot of work still to be done! If you haven’t been involved with GEO in the past, now is the perfect time to join a committee, become a Steward for your department, or come to a bargaining session. Together, let’s win our best contract yet!

Here’s some information that our Bargaining Team research group compiled on the surprising state of university finances: Setting the Record Straight on University Finances

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

Call for Testimonials

One powerful tool in bargaining is member stories, and we want to hear from you! If you have a story related to our contract, email barg@uigeo.org to share it with the Bargaining Team.


Our pillars of bargaining are protecting tuition waivers, raising wages and eliminating fees, ensuring quality healthcare, and promoting access and equality, which includes creating childcare support, strengthening our nondiscrimination statement, and expanding parental, bereavement, and immigration/visa leave. If you have an experience to share about these (or other!) issues, please consider sharing it with the Bargaining Team. If you do not feel comfortable speaking in the session, that is OK too. With your permission, someone else can read your written statement without mentioning you as the author. You can indicate to the Bargaining Team how you want your story shared. You can find examples of testimonials from bargaining on our website under “Member Stories.”

Note: When choosing to have your testimonial read at a bargaining session, the GEO’s bargaining team wants to ensure you know and understand your rights. Interactions that happen at the bargaining table become part of a record that may be referred to later in legal decisions that determine the intent, meaning, and scope of new contract language. As an official action at the bargaining table, your testimonial will be a part of that record.

To ensure that the Admin does not misrepresent your words, the Bargaining Team requests your permission to deliver printed copies of your testimonial to the Admin’s Bargaining Team. While your testimonial is being read, notetakers on both bargaining teams will be taking notes, but providing a paper copy of your testimonial ensures that the Admin cannot misrepresent, misquote, or twist your words at a later date. Testimonials can still be made and submitted anonymously.

See the GEO event calendar for future Bargaining Team meetings, bargaining sessions, and other events. Add it to your Google calendar by searching for geo@uigeo.org. Bargaining Team meetings and bargaining sessions are open to all members. Please contact the Bargaining Team (barg@uigeo.org) with any questions.

Follow GEO Online:

Website: www.uigeo.org

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.


Tenth Bargaining Session

***August 15, 2017 — our contract expired today!***

Today, the GEO Bargaining Team (BT) and the UIUC Administration held their tenth bargaining session. Thank you to all members who attended!

Please read below for more information on what happened today and what comes next.

NEXT BARGAINING SESSION: Tuesday, August 24, 2017, 9:00am-12:00pm, Illinois Fire Service Institute (11 Gerty Drive, Champaign). All members are welcome! You can also find more information about bargaining on our website.

What we did:

GEO gave the administration a response to their package proposal on Leaves and Holidays, proposing flexible Parental Leave and stronger language to protect international graduate employees for Visa and Immigration Leave. Three members shared testimonials about their experiences with parental leave and childcare.

And a huge THANK YOU to all the members who shared their moving testimonials, demonstrating the necessity for language which guarantees both flexible parental accommodations and a child care subsidy.

What the Administration did:

The Administration rejected our proposal on more flexible parental leave, calling it “operationally challenging”–even though it isn’t a monetary proposal and benefits departments as well as grad employees. They also added a sentence to the Visa and Immigration Leave article stating that supervisors and Human Resources would “strive” to help graduate employees with these issues, but the language does not guarantee protection.

How we responded:

GEO refused to sign the Administration’s package proposal, as we want to try to win even stronger language for our parents, international, and DACA students. We cannot win this fight without member support. The Administration has shown that they are not interested in our rational arguments for why our proposals are necessary, so come to our rally, come to our next bargaining session, and show the Administration how powerful we are. If we want to win anything substantive related to visa and immigration or parents’ rights, we need everyone to step up and help organize. Come to our rally tomorrow, and be sure to come to our next bargaining session on August 24th!

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 barg@uigeo.org. You can also find more info about bargaining at our website.

What Comes Next:

Join the Rally For A Fair Contract, which will take place the day after GEO’s contract expires. The GEO will hold the rally in tandem with other campus labor unions to declare that “The University Only Works Because We Do”! All community members are invited to the rally on the main quad on Wednesday, August 16, from 12:00 to 1:00pm Central Time, to stand up for the rights of graduate workers and to demonstrate unity and power, while sending a message to the Administration to “work with us” at the bargaining table to secure a fair contract for all graduate employees. There will be multiple speakers from GEO, NTFC, and AFSCME. Attendees are invited to wear a GEO shirt and bring a sign. From 11-11:45, GEO members will be in the Courtyard Cafe of the Illini Union with materials to make signs and posters, and the rally will begin at noon.

Members, we need all of your participation for this struggle! Please attend the next bargaining session: we need you! The Bargaining Team represents members at the table. We look to you, the members, for input when we go to break out sessions. The more members in the room, the better informed our decisions at the table.

Attending bargaining sessions is the best way to actively engage in the negotiation of your wages, healthcare, and other protections. It is perfectly acceptable to come late or leave early from a bargaining session if you can’t stay the entire time. Just being present demonstrates our unity and strength to the Administration. You can even bring your work if you want. Coffee and food will be provided.

If you can’t make it to the bargaining session, you can still keep up with bargaining updates by attending GEO committee meetings and general membership meetings, following GEO on social media, and reading GEO emails.

Our Contract Expires Today–What Does That Mean For You?

The GEO has been bargaining with the administration since March, working hard to secure a new, more equitable contract based on the four pillars our membership voted on last spring: Tuition and Fee Waivers, Healthcare, Wages, and Access and Equality.

Because we are still negotiating with the Administration, we are entering the fall semester without a new contract. However, the expired contract includes a clause stating that it will remain in effect during negotiations, so you can go to work as you normally would.

GEO is committed to winning a better contract for all our members, but our power is directly determined by our membership. We won our first major victory a few weeks ago by expanding our non-discrimination clause to include ethnicity, gender expression, visa and immigration status, and arrest record as protected categories. We were only able to achieve this because members organized around this issue, and came to bargaining sessions to show their support –and there’s a lot of work still to be done! If you haven’t been involved with GEO in the past, now is the perfect time to join a committee, become a Steward for your department, or come to a bargaining session. Together, let’s win our best contract yet!

Here’s some information that our Bargaining Team research group compiled on the surprising state of university finances: Setting the Record Straight on University Finances

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

Call for Testimonials

One powerful tool in bargaining is member stories, and we want to hear from you! If you have a story related to our contract, email barg@uigeo.org to share it with the Bargaining Team.


Our pillars of bargaining are protecting tuition waivers, raising wages and eliminating fees, ensuring quality healthcare, and promoting access and equality, which includes creating childcare support, strengthening our nondiscrimination statement, and expanding parental, bereavement, and immigration/visa leave. If you have an experience to share about these (or other!) issues, please consider sharing it with the Bargaining Team. If you do not feel comfortable speaking in the session, that is OK too. With your permission, someone else can read your written statement without mentioning you as the author. You can indicate to the Bargaining Team how you want your story shared. You can find examples of testimonials from bargaining on our website under “Member Stories.”

Note: When choosing to have your testimonial read at a bargaining session, the GEO’s bargaining team wants to ensure you know and understand your rights. Interactions that happen at the bargaining table become part of a record that may be referred to later in legal decisions that determine the intent, meaning, and scope of new contract language. As an official action at the bargaining table, your testimonial will be a part of that record.

To ensure that the Administration does not misrepresent your words, the Bargaining Team requests your permission to deliver printed copies of your testimonial to the Administration’s Bargaining Team. While your testimonial is being read, notetakers on both bargaining teams will be taking notes, but providing a paper copy of your testimonial ensures that the Administration cannot misrepresent, misquote, or twist your words at a later date. Testimonials can still be made and submitted anonymously.

See the GEO event calendar for future Bargaining Team meetings, bargaining sessions, and other events. Add it to your Google calendar by searching for geo@uigeo.org. Bargaining Team meetings and bargaining sessions are open to all members. Please contact the Bargaining Team (barg@uigeo.org) with any questions.

Follow GEO Online:

Website: www.uigeo.org

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.


Ninth Bargaining Session

***August 8, 2017 — 7 days until our contract expires on August 15th***

Today, the GEO Bargaining Team (BT) and the UIUC Administration held their ninth bargaining session. Thank you to all members who attended!

Please read below for more information on what happened today and what comes next.

NEXT BARGAINING SESSION: Tuesday, August 15, 2017, 9:00am-12:00pm, Illinois Fire Service Institute (11 Gerty Drive, Champaign). This is the date that our contract expires. All members are welcome! You can also find more information about bargaining on our website.

Key takeaways from today’s session:

  • We won our first TA!  Today we were able to sign a package proposal centered on non-discrimination that added ethnicity, gender expression, arrest record, and visa and  immigration status as protected categories. We have also stated on the record our understanding that micro-aggressions are considered harassment under our contract. Given the current political climate, and the initial resistance from the Administration, this is a huge win for us in ensuring we can do everything we can to protect our members!
  • We made meaningful movement towards securing our Visa and Immigration Leave language. After initially resisting our efforts to include this language in the contract at all, the Administration gave us a counter-proposal that included brand new Visa and Immigration language. Although we are still working on strengthening this language, this is a good sign that we are going to make strides in this area in our contract. Our members, their testimonials, and their continued presence in the bargaining room made this movement possible. This proves that we can make real gains–IF we are all willing to fight together!
  • Member attendance is outstanding! Thank you to everyone who came today! The GEO looks to member input when crafting our counter proposals and we will continue to do so throughout the bargaining process.  It is incredibly helpful for us to have passionate people in the room–and it makes a powerful statement to the Administration about our unity and resolve. With our contract about to expire, continued member involvement is essential. We hope to see even more new faces at the next bargaining session!

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 barg@uigeo.org. You can also find more info about bargaining at our website.

What Comes Next:

Members, we need all of your participation for this struggle! Please attend the next bargaining session: we need you! The Bargaining Team represents members at the table. We look to you, the members, for input when we go to break out sessions. The more members in the room, the better informed our decisions at the table.

Attending bargaining sessions is the best way to actively engage in the negotiation of your wages, healthcare, and other protections. It is perfectly acceptable to come late or leave early from a bargaining session if you can’t stay the entire time. Just being present demonstrates our unity and strength to the Administration. You can even bring your work if you want. Coffee and food will be provided.

If you can’t make it to the bargaining session, you can still keep up with bargaining updates by attending GEO committee meetings and general membership meetings, following GEO on social media, and reading GEO emails.

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

Call for Testimonials

One powerful tool in bargaining is member stories, and we want to hear from you! If you have a story related to our contract, email barg@uigeo.org to share it with the Bargaining Team.


Our pillars of bargaining are protecting tuition waivers, raising wages and eliminating fees, ensuring quality healthcare, and promoting access and equality, which includes creating childcare support, strengthening our nondiscrimination statement, and expanding parental, bereavement, and immigration/visa leave. If you have an experience to share about these (or other!) issues, please consider sharing it with the Bargaining Team. If you do not feel comfortable speaking in the session, that is OK too. With your permission, someone else can read your written statement without mentioning you as the author. You can indicate to the Bargaining Team how you want your story shared.

Note: When choosing to have your testimonial read at a bargaining session, the GEO’s bargaining team wants to ensure you know and understand your rights. Interactions that happen at the bargaining table become part of a record that may be referred to later in legal decisions that determine the intent, meaning, and scope of new contract language. As an official action at the bargaining table, your testimonial will be a part of that record.

To ensure that the Administration does not misrepresent your words, the Bargaining Team requests your permission to deliver printed copies of your testimonial to the Administration’s Bargaining Team. While your testimonial is being read, notetakers on both bargaining teams will be taking notes, but providing a paper copy of your testimonial ensures that the Administration cannot misrepresent, misquote, or twist your words at a later date. Testimonials can still be made and submitted anonymously.

See the GEO event calendar for future Bargaining Team meetings, bargaining sessions, and other events. Add it to your Google calendar by searching for geo@uigeo.org. Bargaining Team meetings and bargaining sessions are open to all members. Please contact the Bargaining Team (barg@uigeo.org) with any questions.

Follow GEO Online:

Website: www.uigeo.org

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.


Eighth Bargaining Session

***July 25, 2017 — 21 days until our contract expires on August 15th***

Today, the GEO Bargaining Team (BT) and the UIUC Administration held their eighth bargaining session. Thank you to all members who attended!

Please read below for more information on what happened today and what comes next.

NEXT BARGAINING SESSION: Tuesday, August 8, 2017, 9:00am-12:00pm, Illinois Fire Service Institute (11 Gerty Drive, Champaign). All members are welcome! You can also find more information about bargaining on our website.

Key takeaways from today’s session:

  • We once again had substantial turnout from membership. Even after the Administration brought extra chairs into the room, the session was still standing-room only. Let’s keep packing the room–demonstrating our power in this way is CRUCIAL to making progress at the table.  
  • We rejected the Administration’s package proposal centered around non-discrimination. They responded to our last proposal with one that, as we proposed, added citizenship and immigration status, ethnicity, gender expression, and arrest record as protected categories, but did not include parental status or medical condition as we had proposed. Additionally, the Administration attempted to add language that imposes limitations on the grievance procedure related to discrimination, which led to our rejection of the proposal.
  • We presented a proposal on Immigration and Visa Leave. Even though our lead negotiator shared the statistic that roughly 44% of graduate employees at the University of Illinois are international students, the Administration still claims that immigration-related leave issues were an uncommon problem.
  • We gave the Administration an additional package proposal designed to make the Bereavement Leave article less discriminatory. Our proposal expands the definition of “immediate family” and strikes the “same-sex” qualification from domestic partnership language. It also removes language from an earlier, offensive proposal given to us by the Administration which essentially stipulated that domestic partnerships must be able to prove they have “emotional interdependence consistent with a married couple.” Since we’ve gotten their comprehensive proposal, we’ve provided substantial package proposals at every single session. And yet…
  • The Administration is continuing to stall.  The Administration has still not replied to an information request we submitted a week ago asking for a copy of their healthcare contract with United Healthcare, despite their repeated insistence that they are responsive and want to finish negotiations quickly. Furthermore, after we submitted a counter to their non-discrimination package that removed the language imposing limitations on a grievance procedure, it took them over an hour to consider our changes and offer a counter–even though all they did was move that language elsewhere in the document!

After the last bargaining session, members called the Administration’s lead negotiator as part of our Call Your Heather! event to tell her about our issues, since in a former bargaining session Heather dismissed the need for collective bargaining by stating that she would address issues on an individualized basis. Members called and emailed Heather about issues such as the vital need for tuition waivers, inadequate and unaffordable healthcare, and many more. In response, Heather sent those who contacted her a copy-and-pasted template response which, ironically, referred to “addressing work-related concerns” on an “individualized basis.” Instances like this demonstrate why we need to organize as graduate employees and fight for a fair collective bargaining agreement!

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 barg@uigeo.org. You can also find more info about bargaining at our website.

What Comes Next:

Members, we need all of your participation for this struggle! Please attend the next bargaining session: we need you! The Bargaining Team represents members at the table. We look to you, the members, for input when we go to break out sessions. The more members in the room, the better informed our decisions at the table.

Attending bargaining sessions is the best way to actively engage in the negotiation of your wages, healthcare, and other protections. It is perfectly acceptable to come late or leave early from a bargaining session if you can’t stay the entire time. Just being present demonstrates our unity and strength to the Administration. You can even bring your work if you want. Coffee and food will be provided.

If you can’t make it to the bargaining session, you can still keep up with bargaining updates by attending GEO committee meetings and general membership meetings, following GEO on social media, and reading GEO emails.

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

Call for Testimonials

One powerful tool in bargaining is member stories, and we want to hear from you! If you have a story related to our contract, email barg@uigeo.org to share it with the Bargaining Team.


Our pillars of bargaining are protecting tuition waivers, raising wages and eliminating fees, ensuring quality healthcare, and promoting access and equality, which includes creating childcare support, strengthening our nondiscrimination statement, and expanding parental, bereavement, and immigration/visa leave. If you have an experience to share about these (or other!) issues, please consider sharing it with the Bargaining Team. If you do not feel comfortable speaking in the session, that is OK too. With your permission, someone else can read your written statement without mentioning you as the author. You can indicate to the Bargaining Team how you want your story shared.

Note: When choosing to have your testimonial read at a bargaining session, the GEO’s bargaining team wants to ensure you know and understand your rights. Interactions that happen at the bargaining table become part of a record that may be referred to later in legal decisions that determine the intent, meaning, and scope of new contract language. As an official action at the bargaining table, your testimonial will be a part of that record.

To ensure that the Administration does not misrepresent your words, the Bargaining Team requests your permission to deliver printed copies of your testimonial to the Administration’s Bargaining Team. While your testimonial is being read, notetakers on both bargaining teams will be taking notes, but providing a paper copy of your testimonial ensures that the Administration cannot misrepresent, misquote, or twist your words at a later date. Testimonials can still be made and submitted anonymously.

See the GEO event calendar for future Bargaining Team meetings, bargaining sessions, and other events. Add it to your Google calendar by searching for geo@uigeo.org. Bargaining Team meetings and bargaining sessions are open to all members. Please contact the Bargaining Team (barg@uigeo.org) with any questions.

Follow GEO Online:

Website: www.uigeo.org

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.


Seventh Bargaining Session

***July 11, 2017 — 35 days until our contract expires***

Today, the GEO Bargaining Team (BT) and the UIUC Administration held their seventh bargaining session. Thank you to all members who attended!

Please read below for more information on what happened today and what comes next.

NEXT BARGAINING SESSION: Tuesday, July 25, 2017, 9:00am-12:00pm, Illinois Fire Service Institute (11 Gerty Drive, Champaign). All members are welcome! You can also find more information about bargaining on our website.

Key takeaways from today’s session:

  • We presented the Administration with a package counter-proposal on several items, focusing on nondiscrimination. They refused to sign it. The Administration always says that “Illinois cares,” so why are they so resistant to protecting our membership from discrimination and harassment? They said that they’ll come back with a counter at our next session.
  • Three members presented testimonials related to our proposal on Immigration and Visa Leave. The Administration continues to say that they (and their “experts”) don’t know anything about immigration issues that could impact graduate employees’ work. They continue to ignore our lived experiences.
  • The Administration claims that the state budget is to blame for why they cannot give us any sort of financial increase in our proposals relating to wages and healthcare or accept our childcare and fee waiver proposals. This is despite the fact that only a small percentage (~12%) of their overall budget comes from the state budget. The fact is, according to the most recent publicly available budget info, the university has more money than ever before.
  • The Administration still has not responded to a healthcare information request we submitted to them at the third bargaining session on May 2nd. They keep coming up with excuses for why they cannot provide us with this information, but after three months, it’s clear they are stalling the bargaining process. We need this information to bargain!  

Our contract expires on August 15, 2017, and we still haven’t gotten to the more contentious items like wages, tuition waivers, and healthcare. How long are they going to keep stalling?

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 barg@uigeo.org. You can also find more info about bargaining our website.

What Comes Next:

Members, we need all of your participation for this struggle!

Our next big event is the “Call Your Heather” event, Thursday July 13, 1:00-4:00pm at our new office in the Geneva Room. See the Facebook event here, and don’t forget it’s easy to participate remotely via phone or email.

Members, please attend the next bargaining session: we need you! The Bargaining Team represents members at the table. We look to you, the members, for input when we go to break out sessions. The more members in the room, the better informed our decisions at the table.

Attending bargaining sessions is the best way to actively engage in the negotiation of your wages, healthcare, and other protections. It is perfectly acceptable to come late or leave early from a bargaining session if you can’t stay the entire time. Just being present demonstrates our unity and strength to the Administration. You can even bring your work if you want. Coffee and food will be provided.

If you can’t make it to the bargaining session, you can still keep up with bargaining updates by attending GEO committee meetings and general membership meetings, following GEO on social media, and reading GEO emails.

Call for Testimonials

One powerful tool in bargaining is member stories, and we want to hear from you! If you have a story related to our contract, email barg@uigeo.org to share it with the Bargaining Team.


Our pillars of bargaining are protecting tuition waivers, raising wages and eliminating fees, ensuring quality healthcare, and promoting access and equality, which includes creating childcare support, strengthening our nondiscrimination statement, and expanding parental, bereavement, and visa/immigration leave. If you have an experience to share about these (or other!) issues, please consider coming to the bargaining sessions and voicing it. If you do not feel comfortable speaking in the session, that is OK too. With your permission, someone else can read your written statement without mentioning you as the author. You can indicate to the Bargaining Team how you want your story shared.

More Ways to be Involved with Bargaining:

  • Talk to your GEO department Steward
  • Attend a Bargaining Team meeting
  • Attend bargaining sessions
  • Talk to your GEO colleagues

See the GEO event calendar for future Bargaining Team meetings, bargaining sessions, and other events. Add it to your Google calendar by searching for geo@uigeo.org. Bargaining Team meetings and bargaining sessions are open to all members. Please contact the Bargaining Team (barg@uigeo.org) with any questions.

Follow GEO Online:

Website: www.uigeo.org

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.


Sixth Bargaining Session

June 20, 2017

Today, the GEO Bargaining Team (BT) and the UIUC Administration held their sixth bargaining session. Thank you to all members who attended!

Please read below for more information on what happened today and what comes next.

NEXT BARGAINING SESSION: Tuesday, July 11, 2017, 9:00am-12:00pm, Illinois Fire Service Institute (11 Gerty Drive, Champaign). All members are welcome! You can also find more information about bargaining on our website.

Key takeaways from today’s session:

  1. The Administration gave us their full comprehensive counter-proposal, including economic items. Our increased member presence and participation clearly worked to pressure them–getting a comprehensive proposal from the Administration is a MAJOR development! After three months, we can finally start bargaining our contract with all items on the table. Now the real struggle begins to secure a fair graduate employee contract.
  2. We rejected the Administration’s tuition waiver side letter proposal from June 6, 2017, with a statement that put their proposal in the context of past arbitration decisions. The Admin wants to have the right to change any of the terms and conditions associated with any tuition waiver. We think this is unacceptable because we view tuition waivers as the due compensation for our labor. You can find the statement about tuition waivers that our lead negotiators presented today here.
  3. Two of our members shared their experiences regarding the connection between tuition waivers and access and equality at this university. Hearing their personal stories and presenting these to the Administration was a powerful moment in the negotiation room. These narratives also showed how our bargaining pillars work together and cannot be considered in isolation.
  4. We had great member turnout and productive conversation among membership about what we observed in the negotiation room. Member turnout is our strongest tool to fight for our contract priorities and we encourage all members to attend a session. Thank you to all who attended–please spread the word and bring another member with you next time!

What Comes Next:

Members, please attend the next bargaining session: we need you! The Bargaining Team represents members at the table. We look to you, the members, for input when we go to break out sessions. The more members in the room, the better informed our decisions at the table.

Attending bargaining sessions is the best way to actively engage in the negotiation of your wages, healthcare, and other protections. It is perfectly acceptable to come late or leave early from a bargaining session if you can’t stay the entire time. Just being present demonstrates our unity and strength to the Administration. You can even bring your work if you want. Coffee and food will be provided.

If you can’t make it to the bargaining session, you can still keep up with bargaining updates by attending GEO committee meetings and general membership meetings, following GEO on social media, and reading GEO emails.

Call for Testimonials

One powerful tool in bargaining is member stories, and we want to hear from you! If you have a story related to our contract, email barg@uigeo.org to share it with the Bargaining Team.


Our pillars of bargaining are protecting tuition waivers, raising wages and eliminating fees, ensuring quality healthcare, and promoting access and equality, which includes creating childcare support, strengthening our nondiscrimination statement, and expanding parental, bereavement, and visa/immigration leave. If you have an experience to share about these (or other!) issues, please consider coming to the bargaining sessions and voicing it. If you do not feel comfortable speaking in the session, that is OK too. With your permission, someone else can read your written statement without mentioning you as the author. You can indicate to the Bargaining Team how you want your story shared.

More Ways to be Involved with Bargaining:

  • Talk to your GEO department Steward
  • Attend a Bargaining Team meeting
  • Attend bargaining sessions
  • Talk to your GEO colleagues

The next BT meeting is on Wednesday, June 21, 7:00-9:00pm, at the GEO Office. Contact barg@uigeo.org with any questions. All members are welcome!

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 barg@uigeo.org. You can also find more info about bargaining our website.

See the GEO event calendar for future Bargaining Team meetings, bargaining sessions, and other events. Add it to your Google calendar by searching for geo@uigeo.org. Bargaining Team meetings and bargaining sessions are open to all members. Please contact the Bargaining Team (barg@uigeo.org) with any questions.

Follow GEO Online:

Website: www.uigeo.org

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.


Fifth Bargaining Session

June 6, 2017

Today, the GEO Bargaining Team (BT) and the UIUC Administration held their fifth bargaining session. Thank you to all members who attended! We filled the room–making a strong statement to the Administration about our commitment. There was even a baby present!

Please read below for more information on what happened today and what comes next.

NEXT BARGAINING SESSION: Tuesday, June 20, 2017, 9:00am-12:00pm, Illinois Fire Service Institute (11 Gerty Drive, Champaign). All members are welcome!

Key takeaways from today’s session:

  1. GEO Co-President Augustus Wood presented a powerful statement about the importance of tuition waivers to GEO members.
  • At the last session, the Administration told us that they intended to “clarify” the side letter but didn’t state when they would do so or why, so we prepared a statement about why tuition waivers are important to us, the members. We presented the statement (attached) and asked the Administration for a response today.
  • The Administration was initially unwilling to respond to our statement, acknowledging only that it had taken place. When pressed by the lead negotiators, they agreed to caucus and returned with a proposal for a new side letter on tuition waivers.
  1. The Administration presented us with a new side letter on tuition waivers that showed their intent to change our tuition waiver protections!

.

  • For the first time in this bargaining cycle, we received an economic proposal from the Administration. We have been asking to see their economic proposal(s) since the first day of bargaining on March 30th. This is a big development, and it only happened because we demanded it. Now we know how they intend to reduce tuition waivers. Now we know what we’re fighting against.
  • This new side letter includes language which limits tuition waivers at the Administration’s discretion and introduces a NEW “base-rate” for tuition waivers. They did not clarify what this means, despite being asked to do so repeatedly. We will not know for sure until the Administration defines exactly what they mean–something we will continue to push them on.
  • They suggested that current members would not be affected, only incoming students–and only in select programs. This would drive a wedge into our potential membership. They seem to assume that we don’t care about future members. They’re wrong! Furthermore, their proposal contains vague language that may, despite the Administration’s claims, also leave current graduate employees at risk for having their waiver reduced or removed, in certain situations.
  1. STILL no comprehensive proposal.
  • Why is this important?
  • We can’t bargain until we know what their full economic comprehensive proposal contains. Without seeing their full comprehensive proposal, we don’t know what’s on the table or what the Administration’s priorities are.
  • They are asking us to sign partial agreements on non-economic proposals without showing us their full proposal, and this is unacceptable–would you agree to buy a house without knowing how much it costs?!
  • GEO’s Response
  • We’ve continued to reject their piecemeal proposals on individual non-economic articles. As a part of these rejections, we’ve explained how these proposals don’t meet our needs and why we can’t fully consider them until we see their full comprehensive proposal.
  • We need the Administration to WORK WITH US and show us their full comprehensive proposal, which includes economic components!

What Comes Next:

Members, please attend the next bargaining session: we need you!

The Bargaining Team represents members at the table. We look to you, the members, for input when we go to break out sessions. The more members in the room, the better informed our decisions at the table.

Attending bargaining sessions is the best way to actively engage in the negotiation of your wages, healthcare, and other protections. It is perfectly acceptable to come late or leave early from a bargaining session if you can’t stay the entire time. Just being present demonstrates our unity and strength to the Administration. You can even bring your work if you want. Coffee and food will be provided.

The BT and the Administration agreed to meet for our next bargaining session on Tuesday, June 20, 2017, from 9:00am to 12:00pm at the Illinois Fire Service Institute (11 Gerty Drive, Champaign). All members are welcome! Fill out the carpool signup form if you need a ride.

The next BT meeting is on Friday, June 9, 1:00-3:00pm, at the GEO Office. Contact barg@uigeo.org with any questions. All members are welcome!

If you can’t make it to the bargaining session, you can still keep up with bargaining updates by attending GEO committee meetings and general membership meetings, following GEO on social media, and reading GEO emails.

More Ways to be Involved with Bargaining:

  • Talk to your GEO department Steward
  • Attend a Bargaining Team meeting
  • Attend bargaining sessions
  • Talk to your GEO colleagues

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 barg@uigeo.org. You can also find more info about bargaining our website.

See the GEO event calendar for future Bargaining Team meetings, bargaining sessions, and other events. Add it to your Google calendar by searching for geo@uigeo.org. Bargaining Team meetings and bargaining sessions are open to all members. Please contact the Bargaining Team (barg@uigeo.org) with any questions.

Call for Testimonials

One powerful tool in bargaining is member stories, and we want to hear from you! If you have a story related to our contract, email barg@uigeo.org to share it with the Bargaining Team.


Our pillars of bargaining are protecting tuition waivers, raising wages and eliminating fees, ensuring quality healthcare, and promoting access and equality, which includes creating childcare support, strengthening our nondiscrimination statement, and expanding parental, bereavement, and visa/immigration leave. If you have an experience to share about these (or other!) issues, please consider coming to the bargaining sessions and voicing it. If you do not feel comfortable speaking in the session, that is OK too. With your permission, someone else can read your written statement without mentioning you as the author. You can indicate to the Bargaining Team how you want your story shared.

Follow GEO Online:

Website: www.uigeo.org

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.


Fourth Bargaining Session

May 23, 2017

Today, the GEO Bargaining Team (BT) and the UIUC Administration held their fourth bargaining session. Thank you to all members who attended! It was standing room only–making a strong statement to the Administration about your commitment. Please read below for more information on what happened today and what comes next.

NEXT BARGAINING SESSION: Tuesday, June 6, 2017, 9:00am-12:00pm, Illinois Fire Service Institute (11 Gerty Drive, Champaign).

Key takeaways from today’s session:

  1. The Administration stated an intent to change our tuition waiver protections, but will not say what kind of change they want to make or when they want to make it. We asked them several times to elaborate or explain, and they refused. We told them how alarming this was to us, and they still declined to explain further.
  1. The Administration presented a counter-proposal on non-economic provisions. They are calling this “comprehensive,” but it isn’t. We reiterated the need to see their truly comprehensive proposal, including all economic provisions.
  1. We formally rejected their previous piecemeal proposals for individual articles. These proposals did not meet our needs, nor are we willing to sign them without seeing their full proposal. How could we agree to anything not knowing what’s out there–especially if tuition waivers are under threat?!
  2. We asked questions about their counter-proposal on non-economic provisions and requested more information.
  1. We elaborated on our rationale for our expanded non-discrimination language proposal.  They think the minimum protections under state and federal law are enough. We don’t. We think our members deserve better.


What Comes Next:

Please attend the next bargaining session: we need you!

The Bargaining Team represents you at the table. We look to you for input when we go to break out sessions. The more people in the room, the better informed our decisions at the table.

Attending bargaining sessions is the best way to actively engage in the negotiation of your wages, healthcare, and other protections. It is perfectly acceptable to come late or leave early from a bargaining session if you can’t stay the entire time. Just being present demonstrates our unity and strength to the Administration. You can even bring your work if you want. Coffee and food will be provided.

The BT and the Administration agreed to meet for our next bargaining session on Tuesday, June 6, 2017, from 9:00am to 12:00pm at the Illinois Fire Service Institute (11 Gerty Drive, Champaign). We will have a carpool to make sure all members who want to attend can do so. Email barg@uigeo.org if you need a ride.

If you can’t make it to the bargaining session, you can still keep up with bargaining updates by attending GEO committee meetings and general membership meetings, following GEO on social media, and reading GEO emails.

More Ways to be Involved with Bargaining:

  • Talk to your GEO department Steward
  • Attend a Bargaining Team meeting
  • Attend bargaining sessions
  • Talk to your GEO colleagues

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 barg@uigeo.org. All members are welcome!

See the GEO event calendar for future Bargaining Team meetings, bargaining sessions, and other events. Add it to your Google calendar by searching for geo@uigeo.org. Bargaining Team meetings and bargaining sessions are open to all members. Please contact the Bargaining Team (barg@uigeo.org) with any questions.

Call for Testimonials

One powerful tool in bargaining is member stories, and we want to hear from you! If you have a story related to our contract, email barg@uigeo.org to share it with the Bargaining Team.


Our pillars of bargaining are protecting tuition waivers, raising wages and eliminating fees, ensuring quality healthcare, and promoting access and equality, which includes creating childcare support, strengthening our nondiscrimination statement, and expanding parental, bereavement, and visa/immigration leave. If you have an experience to share about these (or other!) issues, please consider coming to the bargaining sessions and voicing it. If you do not feel comfortable speaking in the session, that is OK too. With your permission, someone else can read your written statement without mentioning you as the author. You can indicate to the Bargaining Team how you want your story shared.

Follow GEO Online:

Website: www.uigeo.org

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.


Third Bargaining Session

May 2, 2017

Today, the GEO Bargaining Team (BT) and the UIUC Administration held their third bargaining session. Thank you to all members who attended! Please read below for more information on what happened today and what comes next.

NEXT BARGAINING SESSION: May 23, 2017, 9:00am-12:00pm, location TBD (see below!).

What GEO Did

Despite the repeated insistence by the Administration to hold bargaining sessions at the Fire Service Institute (FSI), away from central campus where we teach, research, and work, GEO successfully negotiated McKinley Foundation as a more member-friendly location for our third meeting, and came prepared to reiterate why FSI is an unsuitable location going forward.

Prior to this session, we reiterated the need for a comprehensive counter-proposal from the Administration to help move forward with bargaining. We must know everything that’s on the table before agreeing to anything. After presenting our original proposal on March 30th, the administration has now had over a month to respond. We came prepared to begin moving forward on the four pillars decided by the membership.

Key Takeaways of the Session

  1. The Administration won’t agree to bargain in a central campus location. Despite today’s success in having the meeting at the McKinley Foundation, the Administration is still pushing to meet at the FSI going forward. In fact, they’ve indicated that they’re only willing to meet somewhere else if FSI is booked!
  1. The Administration’s response was unprepared and inadequate. GEO presented the Administration with a full and comprehensive proposal at our first bargaining session. The Administration has not done the same. They still have not provided us with their full and comprehensive proposal, and they even claim that they do not need to (despite it being standard practice in bargaining and established precedent at this University). We need to see their full proposal in order to bargain fairly. As our lead negotiator pointed out, they are behaving like a student unprepared for class. In fact, one of the “new” articles they proposed was already included in the current contract–something the Administration apparently didn’t realize.
  1. The few things that the Administration proposed would harm GEO employees. The Administration gave us several proposed changes to articles today.

In our comprehensive proposal, GEO proposed expanding our contractual non-discrimination clause to protect members on the basis of parental status, medical status, ethnicity, gender expression, or union membership, and to explicitly define and protect against discrimination, harassment, and micro-aggressions. Despite claiming a strong desire to protect graduate employees, they’ve refused to go beyond anything than the bare minimum of “what is covered under the law.” When reminded that they could choose to go above and beyond the bare minimum, they reiterated their intent to merely comply.

The Administration said that getting appointment letters out within at least 60 days of the start of the appointment is “not practicable,” and proposed eliminating the deadlines on appointment letters altogether! GEO recently won an arbitration based on the fact that 95% of appointment letters are late. Rather than addressing the problem, they want to eliminate the deadline.

Overall, the Administration refuses to give us what we need for bargaining–a comprehensive proposal. We’re ready to bargain whenever they are.

What Comes Next

Please attend the next bargaining session: we need you!

The Bargaining Team represents you at the table. We look to you for input when we go to break out sessions. The more people in the room, the better informed our decisions at the table.

Attending bargaining sessions is the best way to actively engage in the negotiation of your wages, healthcare, and other protections. It is perfectly acceptable to come late or leave early from a bargaining session if you can’t stay the entire time. Just being present demonstrates our unity and strength to the Administration. You can even bring your work if you want. Coffee and food will be provided.

The BT and the Administration agreed to meet for our next bargaining session on Tuesday, May 23, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. to 12 p.m. The Administration proposed to meet at the FSI. GEO will respond soon. If we do meet at FSI, we’ll have a carpool to make sure all members who want to attend can do so.

If you can’t make it to the bargaining session, you can still keep up with bargaining updates by attending GEO committee meetings and general membership meetings, following GEO on social media, and reading GEO emails.

Here is a summary of the second bargaining session (April 17), and a summary of the first bargaining session (March 30).

More Ways to be Involved with Bargaining:

  • Talk to your GEO department Steward
  • Attend a Bargaining Team meeting
  • Attend bargaining sessions
  • Talk to your GEO colleagues

The next GEO Bargaining Team meeting is on Thursday, May 4, 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., at the GEO office in the McKinley Foundation Sun Room (809 S. Fifth St., Champaign). All members are welcome to the meeting. If you have questions about bargaining or the BT’s proposal, attending this meeting is the best way to address them. You can also reach us at barg@uigeo.org. All members are welcome!

See the GEO event calendar for future Bargaining Team meetings, bargaining sessions, and other events. Add it to your Google calendar by searching for geo@uigeo.org. Bargaining Team meetings and bargaining sessions are open to all members. Please contact the Bargaining Team (barg@uigeo.org) with any questions.

Call for Testimonials

One powerful tool in bargaining is member stories, and we want to hear from you! If you have a story related to our contract, email barg@uigeo.org to share it with the Bargaining Team.


Our pillars of bargaining are protecting tuition waivers, raising wages and eliminating fees, ensuring quality healthcare, and promoting access and equality, which includes creating childcare support, strengthening our nondiscrimination statement, and expanding parental, bereavement, and visa/immigration leave. If you have an experience to share about these (or other!) issues, please consider coming to the bargaining sessions and voicing it. If you do not feel comfortable speaking in the session, that is OK too. With your permission, someone else can read your written statement without mentioning you as the author. You can indicate to the Bargaining Team how you want your story shared.

Follow GEO Online:

Website: www.uigeo.org

Twitter: @geo_uiuc

Facebook: @uigeo @geosolcomm

Instagram: @geo_uiuc

Text Updates: 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.


Second Bargaining Session

April 17, 2017

Today, the GEO Bargaining Team (BT) and the UIUC Administration held their second bargaining session. Thank you to all members who attended! Please read below for more information on what happened today and what comes next.

Goals for the meeting

The purpose of today’s bargaining session was to hear the Administration’s response to our comprehensive proposal (presented to them at the first meeting) and, hopefully, to see a full counter-proposal from the Administration. We also sought to have the location changed for future bargaining sessions to a building on campus, as the Fire Service Institute is difficult for many members to get to.

What GEO did

We heard the Administration’s response to our proposal, including some new information requests.

For the location of future bargaining sessions, we proposed the McKinley Foundation, located near central campus. They had concerns about meeting anywhere else other than the Fire Service Institute, and we addressed all of their concerns in our proposal of the McKinley Foundation, which we have already booked and have offered to pay for. Despite this, they still would not commit to giving their final answer during the session, instead offering to get back to us about the location “soon.”

What the Administration did

The Administration did not present a full proposal, but instead presented three short counter-proposals where the only change they made was to pronouns. They were not willing to commit to showing us a full comprehensive counter-proposal. This appears to be a stalling tactic because they want to “chip away” at our contract priorities without giving us a comprehensive counter-proposal. Additionally, the Administration has not agreed to providing us with a wage proposal at this time, despite this being one of our key Bargaining Pillars.

At the first session, both parties exchanged information requests. While we responded with their requested information in a timely manner, they have still not answered ours.

This is unacceptable.

To bargain in good faith, we need to see their full counter-proposal.

How GEO responded

Consistent with GEO’s past negotiations, we stated that we cannot address individual counter-proposals until we have seen their comprehensive counter-proposal. We provided answers to questions they had about our proposal.

What comes next

Please attend the next bargaining session: we need you!

The Bargaining Team represents you at the table. We look to you for input when we go to break out sessions. The more people in the room, the better informed our decisions at the table.

Attending bargaining sessions is the best way to actively engage in the negotiation of your wages, healthcare, and other protections. It is perfectly acceptable to come late or leave early from a bargaining session if you can’t stay the entire time. Just being present demonstrates our unity and strength to the Administration. You can even bring your work if you want. Coffee and food will be provided.  

The BT and the Administration agreed to meet for our next bargaining session on Tuesday, May 2, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. to 12 p.m. We are waiting on the Administration to get back to us regarding a meeting location; be on the look-out for a follow-up email about this.

The next GEO Bargaining Team meeting is on Wednesday, April 19, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., at the GEO office in the McKinley Foundation Sun Room (809 S. Fifth St., Champaign–enter through the Presby Hall doors on Fifth St.). All members are welcome to the meeting. If you have questions about bargaining or the BT’s proposal, attending this meeting is the best way to address them. You can also reach us at geo@uigeo.org.

More ways to be involved with bargaining:

  • Talk to your GEO department Steward
  • Attend a BT meeting
  • Attend bargaining sessions
  • Talk to your GEO colleagues

Here’s a link to the recap of the first bargaining session.

Follow GEO online:

Website: www.uigeo.org

Twitter: @geo_uiuc

Facebook: @uigeo  @geosolcomm

Instagram: @geo_uiuc

Text Updates: 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.

See the GEO event calendar for future BT committee meetings, bargaining sessions, and other events. Add it to your Google calendar by searching for geo@uigeo.org. Bargaining Team meetings and bargaining sessions are open to all members. Please contact the Bargaining Team (barg@uigeo.org) with any questions.


First Bargaining Session

March 30, 2017

This morning, the GEO Bargaining Team (BT) and the UIUC Administration held their first bargaining session. Thank you to all members who attended! Please read below for more information on what happened today and what comes next.

Purpose of the meeting

The purpose of this meeting was for GEO to present the UIUC Administration with our comprehensive contract proposal. This contract proposal was drafted by the BT based on survey results and the research conducted by the Bargaining Research Team over the past year.  Members approved the resulting bargaining pillars at the January General Membership Meeting (GMM).

What GEO did

We presented a comprehensive proposal that covered our four bargaining pillars: Tuition Waivers and Fees, Wages, Healthcare, and Access and Equality (Child Care, Bereavement Leave, Non-Discrimination, Visa and Immigration Leave). We read our entire proposal to the administration, and provided them with paper copies for review.

How the Administration responded

The Administration thanked us for presenting a full comprehensive proposal and, after briefly meeting together, asked for additional information from our fall survey of membership.

The Administration would like to meet every other week to continue the bargaining process and have set a tentative date for the next meeting.

What comes next

Please attend the next bargaining session because we will be discussing the Administration’s response to our comprehensive proposal and negotiating future meeting locations. Attending bargaining sessions is the best way to actively engage in the negotiation of your wages, healthcare, and other protections. It is perfectly acceptable to come late or leave early from a bargaining session if you can’t stay the entire time. Just being present demonstrates our unity and strength to the Administration. You can even bring your work if you want. Coffee and food will be provided.  

The BT and the Administration agreed to meet for our next bargaining session on Monday, April 17th at the Fire Services Institute (11 Gerty Drive, Champaign). We are waiting on the administration to confirm the exact time. Please watch for a future email update regarding the time of the bargaining session. For information on carpooling or bus routes please email barg@uigeo.org.

We asked the Administration to present a comprehensive response next time, but they did not confirm whether or not they will have one.

The next BT meeting is on Saturday, April 1st, 5:00-7:00pm, at the GEO office in the McKinley Foundation Sun Room (809 S. Fifth St., Champaign–enter through the Presby Hall doors on Fifth St.). All members are welcome to the meeting. If you have questions about bargaining or the BT’s proposal, attending this meeting is the best way to address them.

More ways to be involved with bargaining:

  • Talk to your GEO department Steward
  • Attend a BT meeting
  • Attend bargaining sessions
  • Talk to your GEO colleagues

Follow GEO online:

Website: www.uigeo.org

Twitter: @geo_uiuc

Facebook: @uigeo  @geosolcomm

Instagram: @geo_uiuc

Text Updates: 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.

See the GEO event calendar for future BT committee meetings, bargaining sessions, and other events. Add it to your Google calendar by searching for geo@uigeo.org. Bargaining Team meetings and bargaining sessions are open to all members. Please contact the Bargaining Team (barg@uigeo.org) with any questions.