BARGAINING: Fourth Session Summary May 23, 2017

 

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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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?!

  4. We asked questions about their counter-proposal on non-economic provisions and requested more information.

  5. 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:

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, Announcements, Events, and Updates May 15, 2017

Table of Contents:

  • ANNOUNCEMENTS
    • Fourth Bargaining Session
      • Ways to be Involved with Bargaining
      • Call for Testimonials
    • Healthcare Update
  • EVENTS
    • Wear It Wednesday
    • Healthcare Town Hall
  • COMMITTEE UPDATES
    • Grievance Committee
    • Stewards’ Council
    • Communications Committee
    • Solidarity Committee
    • Coordinating Committee
    • Health Care Working Group
  • CONNECT WITH GEO!

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ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Fourth Bargaining Session

GEO’s fourth bargaining session with the UIUC administration will be on Tuesday, May 23, 9:00am-12:00pm, at the Illinois Fire Service Institute (11 Gerty Dr, Champaign, IL). All members are welcome! Refreshments will be provided for members in attendance.

The Administration still hasn’t shown us their comprehensive proposal, even though we presented our comprehensive proposal to them at the first bargaining session in March. By bringing members out in force to our next session, we can help put more pressure on them to quit stalling and give us a comprehensive proposal. The few things they have proposed they have given us would harm employees: they have so far ignored our attempts to expand our non-discrimination clause, and gave us a proposal to remove deadlines from appointment letters, because they have difficulty complying with them! On Friday, May 12, we flyered at Swanlund and other central campus buildings to call on the UIUC Admin to “work with us”!

This is why we need you! Come to the bargaining session to see how the Administration responds to us.

Directions and Travel Information to Fire Service Institute (FSI):

  • Carpool: the Bargaining Team has organized a carpool for members. If want to attend and need a ride, please email barg@uigeo.org. Carpools will travel between the GEO Office and FSI. Please let us know a few days in advance if you’d like a ride.
  • Parking: it is free to park in the designated visitor section of the FSI lot.
  • Bike: there are at least two bike racks available in front of the FSI main building.
  • Bus: the bus line is 1 Yellow and drops off in front of the Water Survey building.

Here’s a link to the Facebook event for the fourth bargaining session.

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 are summaries of our third (May 2), second (April 17), and first (March 30) bargaining sessions.

Join the Bargaining Team at their next meeting on Wednesday, May 17, 3:00-5:00pm, at the GEO Office. 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.

Healthcare Update

Beginning May 13th, the University begins its Summer insurance plan which continues healthcare coverage from the Spring. McKinley spring service ends May 27th. Depending on your enrollment and funding status, insurance options may vary. The Summer Health Coverage for Graduate Students page provides a rundown of various graduate statuses and health care options associated with them. If you are a waiver generating employee and you do not register for classes, to continue health insurance you must sign up. The deadline for this extension is June 2, 2017.

If you are taking courses over the summer you must either purchase an extension or opt out with proof of insurance coverage. For more information on the health care requirements review the Graduate College’s FAQ, visit the Office of Student Health Insurance or contact geo@uigeo.org.

If you are worried about the continuing coverage provision of the new AHCA healthcare bill, you may consider another option. If you do not want or cannot afford summer coverage, a local organization called Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) can help you sign up for Medicaid. Medicaid is much cheaper (no monthly premium and reduced out of pocket expenses) and CCHCC actually argues it’s better coverage than what we get through the university!

For more information about the GEO’s Health Care Working Group see below.

 

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EVENTS:

See a full schedule of GEO meetings and events here, and contact geo@uigeo.org with any questions.

Wear your GEO shirt or pin on Wednesday for “Wear it Wednesday”! Take a photo and post it with the tag #WearItWednesday to share with us on Instagram or Twitter.

Healthcare Town Hall

Do you have questions about healthcare? GEO is ready to answer them! Come to our town hall meeting on University health care coverage for graduate students, July 19th, 4-6 pm, at the Asian American Cultural Center Lounge (1210 W Nevada St., Urbana, IL 61801). Free food will be provided! Here is the link to the Facebook event.

 

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COMMITTEE UPDATES:

Grievance Committee:

A contract is only as good as our ability to enforce it. The Grievance Committee is responsible for advocating for fair labor practices at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and protecting graduate employees from abuse… and we need your help! Join the Grievance Committee for an opportunity to have a lasting impact on the lives of your peers all across campus. We meet every Tuesday at 7pm at the GEO Office.

DID YOU KNOW???

Our Collective Bargaining Agreement protects members of the Bargaining Unit from being overworked? You can refer to your appointment letter for information on the maximum number of hours you can be asked to work per week. If you are consistently being asked to work more than your appointment letter specifies, remain calm! Complete the work you were asked to perform, but take detailed notes and contact the Grievance Committee for advice about how to raise the issue to your employment supervisor. See Article VII in the GEO’s Collective Bargaining Agreement for more information.

Don’t forget to check out our new online “Submit a Grievance” web form, which is available at http://www.uigeo.org/grievances/grievance-report/. Please pass this link along to your colleagues if you hear of someone that might need to speak with the Grievance Committee.

 

Stewards’ Council (SC):

The Stewards Council is always looking for new members who want to help organize their departments! We are especially looking for grad workers who would like to be Stewards who are planning to stay in Champaign-Urbana over the summer. Please contact sc@uigeo.org with any questions.

Stewards are a visible representative of the GEO in their departments, and representatives of their department to the GEO. They are the go-to people for fielding questions about the contract, or other issues that GEO members might be facing, and are essential for communicating problems in their department to the GEO. They also help keep membership in their departments informed and up-to-date about GEO activities. The SC plans a variety of events every year, such as happy hours, general membership meetings, and informational sessions for departments. By being a steward for your department, you can work with GEO to make events tailored to your department’s students’ needs and interests.

Our meetings are open to all GEO members. While each department has its own method for appointing stewards, any GEO member may serve as a steward. Some department have co-Stewards. The next meeting is on Tuesday, May 23, 5:00-7:00pm, at the GEO office.


Communications Committee (Comm Comm):

We’re looking for new members to join our committee! Our meetings are open to all GEO members and no prior experience with communications is necessary. Please contact Communications Committee at commcomm@uigeo.org if you have questions about the meeting. All members are welcome! The next meeting is on Wednesday, May 24, 5:00-7:00pm, at the GEO Office.

Solidarity Committee (Sol Comm):

Sol Comm is committed to working on issues of social justice and supporting them through various means such as financial endorsements, statements of support, and collaborations. To that end, the Solidarity Committee allows the creation of research groups to efficiently strategize around issues of social justice. Groups such as the Environmental Justice Research Group, the Gender Justice Research Group, and the Anti‐Police Brutality Research Group work on these issues and report to the Solidarity Committee. Please contact the Solidarity Committee at solcomm@uigeo.org regarding summer meeting times.

Coordinating Committee (CC):

The Coordinating Committee (CC) is made up of elected officers from all committees, though any member may attend meetings. The CC makes decisions about large‐scale projects, some financial decisions, and the GEO’s long‐term vision. Our meetings are open to all GEO members. Please contact the Coordinating Committee at cc@uigeo.org with any questions about the meeting. The next CC meeting is on Thursday, May 25, 5:00-7:00pm, at the GEO office.

Health Care Working Group (HCWG):

The Health Care Working Group works to educate graduate employees on their healthcare rights and benefits, as well as facilitating conversations about healthcare on campus between different stakeholder groups. For more information about meeting times and other information, please contact geo@uigeo.org.

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CONNECT WITH GEO!

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.


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

 

 

 

GEO Calls on the UIUC Administration To “Work With Us”

Work With Us Flyer

 

Despite being in contract bargaining with us for over a month, the Administration STILL has not presented GEO with a comprehensive proposal. They are suggesting doing away with protective policies as a method of “fixing” their failure to comply, and more. We want to make sure that more students, faculty, and employees of the University know about this!

We will be handing out informational flyers in front of Swanlund Administration Building, and potentially other places on campus, from 12:00-1:00pm on Friday, May 12, 2017. Stop by to show your support!

Here is the Facebook event for Flyering at Swanlund!

 

GEO at UIUC Solidarity Statement in Response to UISUF Strike

cropped-banner-for-website.png

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

04 May 2017

GEO at UIUC Solidarity Statement in Response to UISUF Strike

Urbana-Champaign (May 4, 2017): The Graduate Employees’ Organization Local 6300 IFT/AFT at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign stands firmly in solidarity with our comrades in University of Illinois Springfield United Faculty (UISUF) as they go on strike for a fair labor contract that ensures reappointment, tenure, and promotion language. Like many labor organizations over the years, UISUF union members reached their breaking point over their employer’s lack of fairness and integrity throughout the bargaining process. Therefore, UISUF will continue the historical trend of advancing their working conditions outside of the bargaining room by organizing members, withholding their labor, and promoting solidarity across the local, state, and federal sector. GEO UIUC recognizes the special significance of UISUF’s disruption of campus production given the current anti-labor federal and state structure we live in. UISUF members’ brave actions this week mark the third major work stoppage across three University of Illinois campuses in four years, not by coincidence, but by an intentional assault on working people in one of the strongest labor states in the nation. Our solidarity and willingness to engage in militant action not only shifts the balance of power at the bargaining table, but also sends a strong message to all owners, employers, and administrations that workers will not tolerate bad-faith bargaining or negligence towards our material and social conditions. GEO UIUC calls on all labor unions and community organizations to send support and resources to our UISUF comrades as they strike for their fair contract and strengthen worker solidarity! Our liberation is at stake.

We encourage everyone to please take a moment to sign this petition supporting the striking faculty at UISUF: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/fair-contract-for-the-2?source=c.tw&r_by=11048372

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. In November 2009, over 1,000 GEO members successfully went on strike to secure a fair contract and more accessible UIUC. With an active presence in the community, the GEO continues to work for high-quality and accessible public education in Illinois.

For more information, please contact Maria Garth, GEO Communications Officer, at commcomm@uigeo.org.

Long Live the Power to the Worker,

Graduate Employees’ Organization
Local 6300 IFT/AFT, AFL-CIO
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Website: www.uigeo.org
Twitter: @geo_uiuc
Facebook: @uigeo
@geosolcomm
Instagram: @geo_uiuc

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Call and email the following campus and University administrators and tell them:

“I support UIS United Faculty Professors. I want them to have a fair contract. Please return to the bargaining table and bargain in good faith.”

UIS Chancellor, Susan Koch

Phone: (217) 206-6634
Email: Koch@uis.edu
Twitter: @ChancellorKoch

UIS Interim Provost, Jim Ermatinger

Phone: (217) 206-6614

Email: jerma2@uis.edu

U of I President, Timothy Killeen

Phone: (217) 333-3070

Email: PresidentKilleen@uillinois.edu

In addition, you can support by in the following ways:

  • Post messages of support on Facebook and Twitter. Use the hashtag #UISContractNow.
  • If you can join the picket lines, it would be appreciated! UIS is located at One University Plaza, Springfield, IL 62703. (Parking is free on campus lots in visitor spaces.) Picketing will begin each day at 9 a.m. in the center of campus at the Colonnade. A daily rally will be held at the Colonnade at 4:30 p.m.

GEO Election Results and End-of-the-Year Party!

GEO Party Flyer 2017

Table of Contents:

ELECTION RESULTS
EVENTS

 

  1. ELECTION RESULTS

At the General Membership Meeting on April 26th, and for two days thereafter , members voted for the Coordinating Committee that will lead GEO into the next 2017-2018 academic year. In the year ahead, we will continue bargaining a new contract with the UIUC Administration, while also sustaining the grievance, solidarity, and organizing work we currently do.

We are proud to welcome (and welcome back):

Co-President: Marilia Correa (History)

Co-President: Gus Wood (History)

Grievance Officer: Bruce Kovanen (English)

Solidarity Officer: Roshni Bano (Physics)

Communications Officer: Maria Garth (Art History)

Treasurer: Alvaro Cruz (Psychology)

Officer-at-Large: Thomas Day (History)

Officer-at-Large: Zoe MacDowell Kaswan (Neuroscience)

Officer-at-Large: Eva Rogaar (History)

 

Additionally, elected last week through a separate voting process within Stewards’ Council:

Stewards’ Council Chair: Andy Bowman (English)

All officers can be contacted via the “Contact Us” page on the GEO website.

 

  1. EVENTS:

See a full schedule of GEO meetings and events here, and contact geo@uigeo.org with any questions.

Wear your GEO shirt or pin on Wednesday for “Wear it Wednesday”! Take a photo and post it with the tag #WearitWednesday to share with us on Instagram or Twitter.

Coffee Cart

The GEO coffee cart is coming to you! Grab a free cup of coffee, some GEO swag, and chat with GEO members as the cart makes its way around the quad and into nearby buildings on Wednesdays from 11am to 1pm.

 

End-of-the-Year Party!

We’re having a party to celebrate the end of the academic year! Join us on Saturday, May 6, 9:00pm to midnight at Pizza M in Urbana. We’ll have free food and drinks for members, and GEO swag. Here’s a link to the Facebook event.

 

CONNECT WITH GEO!

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.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

 

BARGAINING: Third Session Summary 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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:
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.

 

 

 

May Day Rally A Success!

May Day Rally Flag Photo

 

Thank you to our allies, supporters, and everyone who attended today’s May Day rally for International Workers’ Day and celebrated GEO’s 20th anniversary with us.

May Day Speech 2

GEO member Gus Wood gave a rousing speech about May Day, which you can read here: “Comrade Workers.” The speech from last year’s May Day can be found here.

 

May Day Speech 1

 

As we described in our birthday announcement, we plan to carry this collaborative momentum and solidarity forward, and will continue fighting for rights and social justice!

May Day Speech 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May Day 2017 crowd

UIUC GEO COMMEMORATES 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF FIRST UNION ELECTION WITH NOON MAY DAY RALLY ON CAMPUS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: UIUC GEO COMMEMORATES 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF FIRST UNION ELECTION WITH NOON MAY DAY RALLY ON CAMPUS

Urbana-Champaign (May 1, 2017): The Graduate Employees Organization (GEO) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, AFT/IFT Local 6300, is celebrating 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 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 2009 strike that brought more than 1,000 people to campus picket lines.

“Regardless of our changing membership, intense repression by the Administration, and federal, state, and local policies that curtail union power, the GEO has always and will continue to sustain a powerful rank-and-file membership through a democratic structure with the material and social interests of our membership as our sole organizing force,” said GEO member Gus Wood.

GEO will celebrate its birthday as a part of the May Day (International Workers’ Day) festivities it is planning for Monday in tandem with other campus and national labor unions and organizations. All community members are invited to a rally at Anniversary Plaza on UIUC’s north quad from 12:00 to 2:00pm, to celebrate workers’ contributions to society and reaffirm their commitment to fighting for labor and immigrant rights. There will be speakers from GEO, NTFC, SEIU, AFSCME, IWW, and a number of other organizations.

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. In November 2009, over 1,000 GEO members successfully went on strike to secure a fair contract and more accessible UIUC. With an active presence in the community, the GEO continues to work for high-quality and accessible public education in Illinois.

For more information, please contact Maria Garth, at commcomm@uigeo.org. More information can also be found on GEO’s website at www.uigeo.org.

Twitter: @geo_uiuc
Facebook: @uigeo
@geosolcomm
Instagram: @geo_uiuc

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May Day, GEO 20th Birthday, Bargaining, Announcements, Updates, and Events

Table of Contents:

MAY DAY HISTORY
HAPPY BIRTHDAY GEO
MAY DAY RALLY

ANNOUNCEMENTS
Third Bargaining Session
Call for Testimonials

COMMITTEE UPDATES
Grievance Committee
Steward’s Council
Communications Committee
Solidarity Committee
Coordinating Committee
Healthcare Working Group

EVENTS
Wear It Wednesday
Physics Grads: GEO Bargaining Updates & Work Actions
Coffee Cart

 
 

May Day Email Banner

MAY DAY HISTORY

On May 1, 1886, workers took to the streets in a general strike throughout the entire country to force the ownership class to recognize the eight-hour work day. Over 350,000 workers across the country directly participated in the general strike, with hundreds of thousands of workers joining the marches. On May 3rd in Chicago, the city police opened fire on the unarmed striking workers at the McCormick Reaper Works, killing six workers and wounding countless others in the Haymarket Massacre. On May 4th, workers across the nation quickly rose up, particularly the Chicago anarchists of the IWPA (International Working Peoples’ Association), who organized a rally of several thousand workers at Haymarket Square to protest the continuing police violence against striking workers on the South Side. As the last speaker finished his remarks, 180 armed police marched forward and demanded the workers to disperse. Then, deep within the police ranks, a bomb exploded, killing seven officers. The police opened fire on the unarmed workers. Eight anarchist workers were convicted of murder and inciting a riot. Only one of the eight men accused was present at the protest, and he was attempting to address the crowd when the bomb went off.  No evidence was ever produced to uphold the accusations. Four of the prisoners – Albert Parsons, August Spies, George Engel and Adolph Fisher – were executed while Louis Lingg committed suicide and the three remaining were pardoned due to immense working class uprisings. On May 1, 1890, in accordance with the decision of the Paris Congress (July 1889) of the Second International to commemorate the Haymarket martyrs, workers organized mass demonstrations and strikes across multiple continents. The workers put forward the demands for an 8-hour workday, better health conditions, and further demands set forth by the International Association of Workers. Workers symbolized the red flag as a working-class commemoration for those lost through exploitation and oppression. From that day forward (starting in 1891 in Russia), workers throughout the world began to celebrate the first of May as a day of international worker solidarity, fighting for liberation, celebrating the past, and building our future without the oppression and exploitation of the state.

Today, unions like GEO continue to be on the forefront of fighting for workers’ rights and fair working conditions.

 

GEO Birthday Flyer

HAPPY 20TH BIRTHDAY GEO!

This spring, GEO is celebrating its 20th birthday! UIUC graduate employees voted to establish GEO as their official union representative in the spring of 1997, after several years of organizing. Since then, we’ve bargained four contracts, secured tuition waiver protections, won improved wages and more affordable healthcare, established a grievance procedure to protect our rights, eaten a LOT of pizza, and much more. In our twenty-year history, we have become famous among labor organizations nationwide for our strength and commitment to democratic principles. We hope you’ll come out and celebrate with us at the May Day rally on May 1st (details below). Here’s to many more years and victories!

 

May Day Rally Banner

MAY DAY RALLY

Join us at the May Day rally to celebrate campus labor and social justice, and GEO’s birthday! Workers from several campus labor unions will speak at the rally on Monday, May 1, 12:00pm, at Anniversary Plaza. Here is the Facebook event link for the May Day Rally.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Third Bargaining Session:
GEO’s third bargaining session with the UIUC administration will be on Tuesday, May 2, 9:00am-12:00pm, at the McKinley Foundation (809 S 5th St, Champaign, IL) on campus. All members are welcome to attend this bargaining session. Refreshments will be provided for members in attendance.

The GEO recognized the Fire Services Institute as unsuitable for member attendance and prioritized securing a more accessible space for bargaining. As a result, the GEO successfully moved the third bargaining session to the member-friendly McKinley Foundation. Securing a negotiated, member-friendly campus space for bargaining not only serves to increase member attendance and participation in bargaining, but also significantly shifts the power dynamics (control of our bargaining) in our favor. With this early victory, members can be assured that the Bargaining Team will stand firm on all contract proposals to advance the material and social condition for all workers!

Here’s a link to the Facebook event for the third bargaining session.

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

Join the Bargaining Team at their next meeting on Thursday, May 4, 3:00-5:00pm, at the GEO Office. 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.

 

COMMITTEE UPDATES:

Grievance Committee:
A contract is only as good as our ability to enforce it. The Grievance Committee is responsible for advocating for fair labor practices at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and protecting graduate employees from abuse… and we need your help! Join the Grievance Committee for an opportunity to have a lasting impact on the lives of your peers all across campus. We meet every Tuesday at 7pm at the GEO Office.

DID YOU KNOW???

Our Collective Bargaining Agreement protects members of the Bargaining Unit from being overworked? You can refer to your appointment letter for information on the maximum number of hours you can be asked to work per week. If you are consistently being asked to work more than your appointment letter specifies, remain calm! Complete the work you were asked to perform, but take detailed notes and contact the Grievance Committee for advice about how to raise the issue to your employment supervisor. See Article VII in the GEO’s Collective Bargaining Agreement for more information.

Don’t forget to check out our new online “Submit a Grievance” web form, which is available at http://www.uigeo.org/grievances/grievance-report/. Please pass this link along to your colleagues if you hear of someone that might need to speak with the Grievance Committee.

 

Stewards’ Council (SC):
The Stewards Council is always looking for new members who want to help organize their departments! We are especially looking for grad workers who would like to be Stewards who are planning to stay in Champaign-Urbana over the summer. Please contact sc@uigeo.org with any questions.

Stewards are a visible representative of the GEO in their departments, and representatives of their department to the GEO. They are the go-to people for fielding questions about the contract, or other issues that GEO members might be facing, and are essential for communicating problems in their department to the GEO. They also help keep membership in their departments informed and up-to-date about GEO activities. The SC plans a variety of events every year, such as happy hours, general membership meetings, and informational sessions for departments. By being a steward for your department, you can work with GEO to make events tailored to your department’s students’ needs and interests.

Our meetings are open to all GEO members. While each department has its own method for appointing stewards, any GEO member may serve as a steward. Some department have co-Stewards. The next meeting is on Tuesday, May 9, 5:00-7:00pm, at the GEO office.

 

Communications Committee (Comm Comm):
We’re looking for new members to join our committee! Our meetings are open to all GEO members and no prior experience with communications is necessary. Please contact Communications Committee at commcomm@uigeo.org if you are interested in attending. The next meeting is on Thursday, May 11, 2:00-4:00pm, at the GEO Office.

 

Solidarity Committee (Sol Comm):
Sol Comm is committed to working on issues of social justice and supporting them through various means such as financial endorsements, statements of support, and collaborations. To that end, the Solidarity Committee allows the creation of research groups to efficiently strategize around issues of social justice. Groups such as the Environmental Justice Research Group, the Gender Justice Research Group, and the Anti‐Police Brutality Research Group work on these issues and report to the Solidarity Committee. Please contact the Solidarity Committee at solcomm@uigeo.orgThe next meeting is on May 5, 6:00-8:00pm, at the GEO Office.

Coordinating Committee (CC):

The Coordinating Committee (CC) is made up of elected officers from all committees, though any member may attend meetings. The CC makes decisions about large‐scale projects, some financial decisions, and the GEO’s long‐term vision. Our meetings are open to all GEO members. Please contact the Coordinating Committee at cc@uigeo.org with any questions. Meeting times for the CC can be found on the GEO Calendar.

 

Healthcare Working Group:
The Healthcare Working Group works to educate graduate employees on their healthcare rights and benefits, as well as facilitating conversations about healthcare on campus between different stakeholder groups. For more information contact geo@uigeo.org. The next meeting is on Wednesday, May 10, 3:30-4:30 pm, at the GEO Office.

 

EVENTS:

See a full schedule of GEO meetings and events here, and contact geo@uigeo.org with any questions.

Wear your GEO shirt or pin on Wednesday for “Wear it Wednesday”! Take a photo and post it with the tag #WearitWednesday to share with us on Instagram or Twitter.

Physics Grads: GEO Bargaining Updates & Work Actions
Monday, May 1st, 6:00-7:30pm in Loomis 222. We will start this session with an overview of our contract proposal and updates on bargaining by the Bargaining Team. After this, the Work Action Group will talk about how you can support the GEO during to contract negotiations: one way is taking collective action to get a fair contract.

Food and drinks will be provided. You don’t have to be in the physics department to attend. Facebook event can be found here.

Coffee Cart
The GEO coffee cart is coming to you! Grab a free cup of coffee, some GEO swag, and chat with GEO members as the cart makes its way around the quad and into nearby buildings on Wednesdays from 11am to 1pm.

 

CONNECT WITH GEO!

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.

 

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