Bargaining: 17th Session Summary and General Membership Meeting on Thursday

***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.

 

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.

In Solidarity,

Graduate Employees’ Organization

809 S. 5th St.

McKinley Foundation, Geneva Room

Champaign, IL 61820

Phone: 217-344-8283

Email: geo@uigeo.org

What You Need to Know About A Possible Strike, October 31, 2017

***October 31, 2017 — 77 days since our contract expired on August 15th***

Strike Authorization Voting Information

At our last General Membership Meeting (GMM) we began a strike authorization vote. Should this vote pass, that does not mean we have to go on strike–but it empowers our Strike Committee to make that decision if necessary. We need all members to make their voice heard! You can vote in person or online. If you haven’t received an online voting link, please email geo@uigeo.org. If you vote online, do not vote at a polling place, and vice versa. Only vote once! We’ll announce the results at our next GMM, Thursday, from 6:30pm-7:30pm.

Additionally, polling stations will be open from 9:00am-5:00pm on Tuesday and Wednesday at the following locations:

  • GEO Office (809 S 5th St, Geneva Room, Champaign)

  • English Building (608 S Wright St, Urbana, Mary Kay Peer Lounge, in building basement)

  • Loomis Laboratory (1110 W Green, Champaign, front lobby outside Room 141)

  • Education Building (1310 S 6th St, Champaign, 1st floor lobby)

There will be pop-up polling places too:

  • Beckman Institute, Room 1005, Tuesday from 4:00pm-6:00pm

  • Lincoln Hall, Department of Sociology, 702 S Wright St, 3rd floor, Tuesday 3:00 to 5:00pm

If a strike is authorized, will I be compelled to go on strike?

The GEO will not compel anyone to go on strike but we hope that you will join us, since these negotiations affect all of us and it will take all of us to be successful this bargaining cycle.

Link to the Strike Manual

In the event of a strike, the strike manual outlines how the strike will function, what your role would be, and what plans the GEO has in place to help striking workers should their wages or health insurance be impacted. Since retaliation is often a major concern for striking workers, we have outlined below how you can prevent retaliation and what steps to take if it happens to you–all this info and more is in the manual!.

Retaliation

What is retaliation? Any instance where your employment conditions are changed or decisions about your employment are made in retribution for activity with a union is considered retaliation. All forms of retaliation are illegal, with the exception of the withholding of pay for the time in which you withhold your labor.

Will my wages be withheld if I strike? The University Administration has the legal right to withhold wages from employees who are withholding their labor on strike. Many departments do not keep track of who goes on strike and will not reporting striking members to the Administration, though we can’t guarantee that all departments will do so. It’s a good idea to talk to department heads ahead of time to ask for support during the strike–you should reach out to your department steward to see if this has been done.

Who will help me if my wages are withheld? In the event of a strike, GEO members can vote to set aside money from the general budget for a strike fund, part of which would be used to help pay back a percentage of lost wages in the event wages are withheld, in exchange for walking the picket line. GEO would also ask its parent union, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), to subsidize small loans for striking members.

Will I be fired for withholding my labor? Members participating in a legal work action can’t be fired as long as a contract settlement is reached. In the case of a lock out, the Administration is legally required to rehire workers when negotiations are complete. The Administration is allowed to fire the entire bargaining unit and hire new adjunct workers under a new contract, but this is very unlikely given that adjuncts are paid more than grad workers, and it would be difficult to find 2,500 people with our same specializations.

What about international students? International students have the same legal protections as all other members of our bargaining unit. They are protected from illegal acts of retaliation and have the same ability to file grievances as domestic students.

What can be done to prevent retaliation? If retaliation does occur it will likely be at the departmental level. To prevent this, it is important to reach out to faculty and staff prior to a strike. Even the act of threatening to retaliate is illegal, so please document any instances of this thoroughly and report it to the GEO Grievance Committee (grievance@uigeo.org).

What if retaliation occurs? In the event that illegal acts of retaliation occur against striking grad workers the GEO can file an Unfair Labor Practice Charge with the state Labor Board. These procedures can take time, but act as another deterrent against retaliation behavior.

What should I do if I believe that I am being retaliated against? First, document everything as thoroughly as possible: take notes, ask for written statements from the supervisor that is making the decision, including an explanation of why this decision was made; and request a witness, preferable a union representative, for conversations concerning the action. Second, contact the union and discuss this situation with the grievance committee. The sooner this happens, the easier it is to right any wrongs committed against you.

How to talk to Faculty about a Strike

Make sure they know the basics. Make sure faculty know what the GEO is, that we are negotiating our contract, and what our four pillars are (Living Wage, Health Care, Access and Equality, and Protection for Tuition Waivers).

Make sure they know the numbers. Make it clear that the University is NOT broke, and that their misplaced priorities are hurting both students AND faculty. Additionally, point out that we are asking for a small raise to keep up with the rising cost of living in Champaign-Urbana, and explain to them the burden imposed on us by fees, health care costs, and child care costs. If they do not already know, tell them why tuition waivers are important for students and for the prestige of their own departments. Likely, they understand that tuition waivers are used to compete for the best students.

If your faculty members seem supportive, let them know there are ways that they can help. Here is a link to a template letter (which they can modify) you can ask faculty and other supportive parties to sign and send to the Provost expressing their support for the GEO. Faculty can also help by supporting the GEO on the picket line, wearing GEO buttons, and moving their classes out of targeted buildings in the event of a strike. You can also tell them to talk to other faculty and explain why they should support the GEO.

How to Talk to Your Students

Do not tell them about union activity during class time. This could be construed as an ethics violation. You are certainly welcome to make an announcement that for any students who are interested in learning about a possible strike and what’s going on, you would be happy to speak to them after class.

Tell them about our financial situation. Many students simply don’t know what the financial reality of graduate employees is, and are sympathetic when they learn.

Remind them that our working conditions are their learning conditions. We can’t be the best teachers we can be if we are stressing about our ability to make ends meet, or are putting off taking care of our health because we can’t afford to go to the doctor. Besides, a more competitive contract means we can attract the best graduate employees to campus, so they’ll have the best possible teachers.

Remind them that we care about them and have done everything possible to avoid a strike. Our proposals are reasonable and backed up by research and rationale. We’ve shown ourselves to be willing to compromise and work with the Administration. But if a strike is the only way we can be heard by the Administration and protect our membership, we have to be prepared to do so.

How to Get Involved

If you haven’t had much time to get involved with GEO in the last few months, now is the time to join in! In the event of a strike we will need hard commits from people to serve as picket captains and to sign up for shifts on the picket line. If we strike, we need as many people as possible out to show the Administration our strength and that we won’t back down until we get a fair contract.

The Administration’s Spin on Negotiations

On the University’s Human Resources website, the Administration’s bargaining team has been creating little blurbs to document contract negotiations. Their summaries of negotiations are, of course, framed to show the University in the best light. For example, one of their posts celebrates that we were able to reach an agreement on non-discrimination language. What it doesn’t say is that they fought for weeks against expanding our non-discrimination clause, and refused to consider adding certain protected categories to our contract. This website also tries to make it appear that graduate employees are much better off financially than is the case, by, for example, obfuscating the numbers or counting the cost of our waived tuition as part of our wages. The fact remains that the minimum annual salary for a graduate employees at a 50% appointment is $16,360.

These updates are on the website in order to put the University in the best light possible and make us seem unreasonable. When faculty and staff learn of GEO’s efforts, they may be tempted to visit this website and take the Administration at their word. Given this, we must be ready to clarify the reality of the situation when our departments reference these summaries.

CONNECT WITH GEO!

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.

In Solidarity,

Graduate Employees’ Organization

809 S. 5th St., Geneva Room

Champaign, IL 61820

Phone: 217-344-8283

Email: geo@uigeo.org

Strike Authorization Voting Information | October 29, 2017

***October 29, 2017 — 75 days since our contract expired on August 15th***

At our last General Membership Meeting (GMM), in response to the Admin’s proposal on Tuesday which would not provide wages increases that would keep up with inflation; would make our healthcare much more expensive; would make grad employees continue paying around $1,000 a year in fees, with no guarantee they wouldn’t go up; offers no child care resources for parents; and opens the door for the reduction or elimination of tuition waiver programs, we began a strike authorization vote. Should this vote pass, that does not mean we have to go on strike–but it empowers our Strike Committee to make that decision if necessary. We need all members to make their voice heard!

How long is the strike authorization voting?

Strike authorization voting will continue through 5:00pm on Wednesday, November 1, 2017.

Who is eligible to vote?

All GEO members are eligible to vote. If you are not a card-signed member of the GEO, you can sign a membership card at a physical voting location or at the GEO office and immediately become eligible to vote.

How can I vote?

Voting is online and at physical locations around campus and at the GEO office. If you’re a member then you should have received a link to vote, but if you didn’t, please email geo@uigeo.org for a link to the online voting form. If you vote online, do not vote at a polling place, and vice versa. Only vote once!

Polling places will be open from 9:00am-5:00pm Monday through Wednesday at the following locations:

  • GEO Office (809 S 5th St, Geneva Room, Champaign)
  • English Building (608 S Wright St, Urbana, Mary Kay Peer Lounge, in building basement)
  • Loomis Laboratory (1110 W Green, Champaign, front lobby outside Room 141)
  • Education Building (1310 S 6th St, Champaign, 1st floor lobby)

Additionally, there will be pop-up polling places:

  • Beckman Institute, Atrium, Tuesday from 4:00pm-6:00pm
  • Foreign Language Building, Atrium, Monday 9:00am-5:00pm
  • Chemical and Life Sciences Laboratory, Check GEO’s social media for poll time and location or email geo@uigeo.org.

When will the results be announced?

The results of the strike authorization vote will be announced to members at the GMM on Thursday, November 2, 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.

What is involved in striking? Who can strike? I have a lot of questions about striking!

We will send an email to members later this week with more information about what a strike would look like, should we choose to go on strike. We’ll also make our Strike Manual available soon. Check your email and our website in a few days! If we choose to authorize a strike, then we will also discuss the logistics of a strike at the GMM on Thursday, November 2, 6:30-7:30pm, at the Channing Murray Foundation (1209 W Oregon Street, Urbana). Food and childcare will be provided. Here is a link to the Facebook event for the GMMs.

 


 

CONNECT WITH GEO!

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.

 

Graduate Employees’ Organization

809 S. 5th St., Geneva Room

Champaign, IL 61820

Phone: 217-344-8283

Email: geo@uigeo.org

 

GRADUATE EMPLOYEES’ ORGANIZATION (GEO) SIT-IN AND RALLY AT SWANLUND ADMIN BUILDING TO DEMAND FAIR CONTRACT

Urbana-Champaign (October 25, 2017): Members of the Graduate Employees’ Organization (GEO) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are peacefully sitting in at the Swanlund Administration Building on October 26th to protest the Administration’s refusal to provide a fair contract during the bargaining process. The sit-in will be accompanied by a rally and mediation update from 11:30am-12:30pm with speakers from across the campus and community. All supporters and media are invited to attend.

October 26th will mark the 72nd day that Teaching Assistants and Graduate Assistants have worked without a new contract since the old contract expired. The GEO has been negotiating with the Administration since March, coming to the first bargaining session with a full, comprehensive contract proposal, with data and narratives justifying the need for such proposals. In return, the Administration has repeatedly stalled bargaining and put forth regressive proposals which would negatively impact graduate employees, particularly by reducing tuition waiver protections, increasing healthcare costs, and refusing to offer wage increases. Many members’ testimonials and the data the GEO’s bargaining team presented in negotiation sessions have demonstrated repeatedly that these are not only reasonable components for a fair contract, but that they are crucial to the livelihood, health, and productivity of graduate employees on this campus, many of whom make thousands of dollars less than the University’s own published cost of living.

In September, the parties requested a federal mediator to be brought in to help expedite the bargaining process. After two mediation sessions, in which the GEO made substantial movements on its proposals, but saw little movement from the Administration, GEO told the Administration that if they did not come to the session on October 24th ready to work with them and make substantial movement towards their proposals, they would have no choice but to escalate their actions outside the room. At the session, they gave GEO a disappointing economic proposal that 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 appointment letters on time. In response, the GEO will hold a strike vote beginning this week.

GEO invites all supporters to sign its petition to the Board of Trustees and the Administration to sign GEO’s proposals: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/fair-contract-now-for-the-graduate-employees-organization-geo-at-the-university-of-illinois-at-urbana-champaign?source=direct_link&

The Graduate Employees Organization (GEO) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, AFT/IFT Local 6300, celebrated its 20th birthday on May 1, 2017. After several years of collective organizing, UIUC graduate employees voted to establish GEO as their official union representative in the spring of 1997. The University of Illinois refused to recognize the results of the election, but years of organizing and civil disobedience, alongside a legal battle, culminated in an occupation of Swanlund Administration Building in 2002 and subsequent negotiations with University officials. The first contract was signed in 2003.

Since then, GEO has successfully bargained three additional contracts, secured tuition waiver protections, won improved wages and more affordable healthcare, established a grievance procedure to protect graduate employee rights, and much more. In GEO’s official twenty-year history, it has become famous among labor organizations nationwide for its strength and commitment to democratic principles, and a November 2009 strike that brought more than 1,000 people to campus picket lines to secure a fair contract.  

The Graduate Employees’ Organization, AFT/IFT Local 6300, AFL-CIO, The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, represents approximately 2,700 Teaching and Graduate Assistants on the UIUC Campus. With an active presence in the community, the GEO continues to work for high-quality and accessible public education in Illinois.

For more information, please contact GEO’s Communications Officer at commcomm@uigeo.org.

Website: uigeo.org

Twitter: @geo_uiuc

Facebook: @uigeo

@geosolcomm

Instagram: @geo_uiuc

 

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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.

 

Sign Our Petition for a Fair Contract Now and Fill Out the Work Action Survey

***October 23, 2017 — 69 days since our contract expired on August 15th***

Petition

GEO invites all members of the University of Illinois community, including graduate workers, undergrads, staff, faculty, alumni, as well as supporters of union democracy throughout Champaign-Urbana and beyond, to sign this petition to show that you publicly stand with the Graduate Employees’ Organization (GEO) in their struggle to win a fair contract and demand that the University of Illinois Administration expeditiously sign GEO’s contract proposals. Please spread the word and share it with others. Click here to sign the petition: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/fair-contract-now-for-the-graduate-employees-organization-geo-at-the-university-of-illinois-at-urbana-champaign?source=direct_link&.

 

Work Action Survey

If you are a member of the GEO bargaining unit, you should have also received an email with a link to our brief Work Action Survey. Please fill it out to help ensure that we win a contract which reflects our members’ biggest priorities! Email us at geo@uigeo.org if you didn’t get a link.

 

CONNECT WITH GEO!

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.

 

Member Stories: Anonymous GEO Member/Grad Employee and Parent

Here’s another testimonial from a GEO member and parent, who wished to remain anonymous. We can win better working and living conditions, but only if we all come together and fight for them! We hope all members will come by our General Membership Meeting, tonight from 6:30-7:30 at the Channing Murray Foundation!


“I am a PhD candidate and a mother to a 2 year old little girl. I am somewhat of a non-traditional graduate student in that I went from undergraduate to a Master’s program and while finishing my Master’s degree, I started working full-time as a lab instructor at a university. I worked at the university for 4 years before starting at UIUC in a PhD program. I have been in the current program for six years. If you add all those years together, I am not a typical 22/23 year old graduate student who came directly out of undergrad. After 3 years in the program, my husband and I decided to start a family. Yes, this was actively our decision. We wanted a family, and our ages were a deciding factor. At this time in the lab where I work, I was the senior graduate student and the defacto lab manager. Anything that needed done was sent to me and I took care of the problem. My advisor mentioned several times that I was invaluable. Apparently I was invaluable only until I became pregnant. Once my advisor learned that I was pregnant, my 67% assistantship was cut to 56%. An 11% pay cut is a major amount when you’re a student, especially a student who is now expecting a child. My husband and I scrambled to find a reasonably priced caregiver. Many of the best daycares charge upwards of $250/week! That is 49.8% of my monthly income. The in home daycares that are certified by DCFS are $175/week. This is 34.9% of my monthly income which is marginally more affordable, but not much. So, we were left with leaving our baby girl at an in-home daycare that was not certified by DCFS, but is still 26.9% of my monthly income. The same week we started our daughter in this daycare, there was a major national news story about a mom who left her son with a noncertified daycare provider and who paid the ultimate price. I was terrified, as any parent would be. And, because my pay was cut, because I was not protected, because I couldn’t afford a better place, my daughter continued in a noncertified day care. Thankfully, my daycare provider was an excellent person, but it is unfortunate that I was forced into this position. I should have been able to send her to a daycare with proper oversight. This is the position that many graduate employee parents are forced into.

The argument that it is our decision to become parents, while true, is disrespecting us as people and as productive members of the university. Yes, it was our decision to start a family. But, my desire to pursue knowledge and higher education should not come at the cost of my desire to have a family. And my basic right to have a family should be protected within the halls of academia.”