GEO Statement on Leaked Health and Human Services Anti-Trans Memo

The Graduate Employees’ Organization, IFT/AFT Local 6300, condemns in the strongest terms the leaked Department of Health and Human Services memo that seeks to redefine sex in federal law as “a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth.” This definition would deny transgender people protection under federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. The proposal would limit equal access to health care, housing, education, and fair treatment under the law.  It would functionally deny many trans people documentation of their identity, citizenship and immigration status, and the ability to travel freely. For others, it would force them to choose between the life-threatening dangers of the closet and living in a state of constant exposure and vulnerability. It sends a chilling message that the existence and identity of transgender people is not recognized by the government, and deepens ongoing attacks on civil rights. It compounds the threats already facing unions and union members in the form expansion of Right to Work laws and the recent Janus vs AFSCME Supreme Court ruling.

The GEO is a democratic union made up of a diverse population of rank and file members, including graduate workers of diverse gender identities. In our last contract, we fought for and won an expansion of our non-discrimination policy, including protection from discrimination and harassment on the basis of gender identity and gender expression. We also reached a memorandum of understanding with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Administration that microaggressions constitute discrimination and harassment, and are thus violations of our contract subject to our grievance procedure. We will continue to fight for the safety, well-being, and dignity of all of our members.

The Department of Health and Human Services proposal represents a challenge to the central principle of the labor movement, that unions stand for dignity, rights and equality for all workers. It is a threat to worker solidarity across job categories, between unions and for all genders, ethnicities, races and abilities. We oppose the DHHS memo on the grounds that it promotes a broader context of transphobia and a climate of fear that makes it even more difficult for members to empower each other through organizing. As union members who fight to protect our coworkers, our families and our communities, we oppose the threats to transgender people expressed in the leaked memo. We stand in solidarity with all LGBTQ people who may be experiencing heightened stress, fear or harassment and discrimination at this time.

Tutor-In on Reading Day, Dec 13! — GEO-L

***December 4th, 2018***

Table of Contents:

 

  • ANNOUNCEMENTS & EVENTS

 

      • Reading Day Tutor In on December 13th!
      • AFT Visas Lawsuit Call to Action

 

  • GEO COMMITTEES NEED YOUR HELP!

 

      • Constitutional Committee
      • Healthcare Working Group
      • Stewards’ Council
      • Solidarity Committee
      • Finance Committee
      • Grievance Committee
      • Communications Committee

 

  • CONNECT WITH GEO!

 

—————–

ANNOUNCEMENTS & EVENTS

Reading Day Tutor In on December 13th!

As you may remember, we ended the Fall 2017 semester with an exciting event aimed at our undergraduate students, and we’re excited to be doing it again this year. On Reading Day (12/13), we’ll be offering twelve hours of free tutoring for students preparing for their exams and final papers. This is an excellent opportunity for us to make our graduate labor visible and show our students how committed we are to their education. We’ll be in the lobby of the Illini Union from noon until midnight, providing tutoring for a number of large lecture courses and open office hours for others. Coffee and snacks will be provided for the duration of the event, with lunch at 1 pm and dinner at 7 pm. Come work in solidarity with your graduate peers and strengthen the UIUC community! Please keep checking our facebook event for up to date information.

Please sign up early and make sure to tell your students! Here is a template email to advertise this event to your students. Even if you’re not teaching this term, or hold a research appointment this semester, we would love to have you there. Here’s the sign up form!

AFT Visas Lawsuit Call to Action

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT, also our parent union) is participating in an important lawsuit challenging new rules from the Trump administration that threaten to create major problems for international/immigrant students, including our grad members. AFT is looking for members that are on F or J visas that can give them a short statement on how these changes will affect them. The statements can be anonymous! You can read more about the lawsuit here. Please contact us at geo@uigeo.org immediately if you are interested in writing a statement and have an F or J visa.

—————–

GEO COMMITTEES NEED YOUR HELP!

We are a member-run union; we depend on the commitment of our members to stay as strong as possible. Below you’ll find details about what each committee does and how to contact them. No special knowledge is required. You can follow the calendar of events on our website for the date and time of upcoming meetings: http://uiucgeo.org/events/. Meetings are open to membership, and coming to a meeting does not commit you to joining a committee.

NEW! Constitutional Committee
Interested in structure and community values? Like clarifying procedures and logistics? Just want to know more about GEO? Join the newly formed Constitutional Committee to work on updating our Constitution and By-Laws! The Constitutional Committee needs members who are interested in developing a proposal to present to our general membership in the fall for review and ratification. Contact cc@uigeo.org if you’re interested in getting involved.

Questions About Healthcare? Email the Healthcare Working Group!

We know you have questions about what healthcare options are offered by our current contract, and we remain committed to guaranteed accessible and affordable healthcare for all graduate students. Our Healthcare Working Group is a member-led caucus that works towards informing members and organizing around our healthcare. If you have any questions about your healthcare or are interested in working towards improving it, you can contact the Healthcare Working Group at health@uigeo.org!

Stewards’ Council

The Stewards’ Council (SC) is the primary organizing and planning body of GEO. This is where representatives from across campus come together to discuss the needs of our membership. Right now, stewards are doing office visits to sign up new members and organizing events such as department meetings and the upcoming Reading Day Tutor-in. If you are interested in becoming a Steward, email sc@uigeo.org or just come to the next meeting at 5:30 pm on November 27th in the GEO Office!

Solidarity Committee

The Solidarity Committee (SolComm) builds connections between the GEO and other movements and local social justice projects through financial endorsements, statements of support, collaborations, and more. SolComm supports several local organizations and movements that work towards economic, racial, gender, disability, prison, and environmental justice. In addition to graduate employees, we welcome undergraduate students and C-U community members to participate. If you are interested in joining the Solidarity Committee, please email solcomm@uigeo.org or attend our next meeting on December 10th in the GEO Office.

Finance Committee

The newly formed Finance Committee is tasked with accounting, reporting to members on how dues are spent, fundraising, and connecting members to emergency financial support. Email treasurer@uigeo.org if you would like to pitch in!

Grievance Committee

Whether it’s late wages, a missing tuition waiver, or retaliation in the workplace, the Grievance Committee helps GEO members take on the UIUC administration. The months after a new contract is signed are the busiest time for the Grievance Committee. They are working hard defending members who are already experiencing violations of the new contract. As one of our smallest committees, they could use your help doing this essential work! If you are interested in joining the Grievance Committee, email grievance@uigeo.org or attend our next meeting on Thursday, November 22nd at 4:00 PM in the GEO Office.

Communications Committee

The Communications Committee produces GEO-Ls and flyers, manages GEO’s social media, responds to interview requests, designs and orders swag, and more. They need people with a variety of skills, and they’d love to have you. The next Communications Committee meeting is on Monday the 26th of November at 4pm in the GEO Office, but make sure to check the calendar for up to date information. If you are interested in joining the Communications Committee, email commcomm@uigeo.org or just come to a meeting!

—————–

CONNECT WITH GEO!

Have feedback for us? Comments about the GMM? Reply to this email or use our anonymous google form.

Website: www.uiucgeo.org

Twitter: @geo_uiuc

Facebook: @uigeo  @geosolcomm

Instagram: @geo_uiuc

Sign up for text updates! Text updates are the fastest, best way to get crucial GEO information. Text the word “GEO” to 69238 to receive periodic 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

Email: geo@uigeo.org

GMM on Nov 29, Reading Day Tutor-in and More! — GEO-L

***November 15th, 2018***

Table of Contents:

 

  • ANNOUNCEMENTS & EVENTS

 

      • Next GMM(s) on November 29th
      • Reading Day Tutor In on December 13th!
      • Public Charge Comment Workshop
      • Finance Survey Update

 

  • GEO COMMITTEES NEED YOUR HELP!

 

      • Constitutional Committee
      • Healthcare Working Group
      • Stewards’ Council
      • Solidarity Committee
      • Finance Committee
      • Grievance Committee
      • Communications Committee

 

  • CONNECT WITH GEO!

 

—————–

ANNOUNCEMENTS & EVENTS

Next General Membership Meetings on November 29th, 12:00 pm and 6:30 pm

The next General Membership Meetings will be held at 12 PM and 6:30 PM on November 29th @ the Channing-Murray Foundation (1209 W Oregon St). At the GMM you will have a chance to provide feedback to the Solidarity Committee — the committee that connects the GEO to other movements and social justice projects through financial endorsements, statements of support, collaborations, and more — during the SolComm Open House. The Issue Campaigns Working Group will also be introduced at this meeting, along with important announcements about the annual Tutor In.

If you have any feedback about previous GMMs or any suggestions for upcoming GMMs, please take a moment to complete our GMM Survey. Your feedback and suggestions will help us make the General Membership Meetings as effective and beneficial as possible for all of our members.

Reading Day Tutor In on December 13th!

As you may remember, we ended the Fall 2017 semester with an exciting event aimed at our undergraduate students, and we’re excited to be doing it again this year. On Reading Day (12/13), we’ll be offering twelve hours of free tutoring for students preparing for their exams and final papers. This is an excellent opportunity for us to make our graduate labor visible and show our students how committed we are to their education. We’ll be in the lobby of the Illini Union from noon until midnight, providing tutoring for a number of large lecture courses and open office hours for others. Come work in solidarity with your graduate peers and strengthen the UIUC community!

Please sign up early and make sure to tell your students! Even if you’re not teaching this term, or hold a research appointment this semester, we would love to have you there. Here’s the sign up form!

Public Charge Comment Workshop

Stop by the University YMCA (1001 S Wright St, Champaign) on Tuesday, November 27 any time between 5pm-7pm to get step-by-step guidance on how submit a comment through the Federal Register to fight against a harsh new immigration policy proposal from the Department of Homeland Security on the determination of who is a “public charge.” A public charge is someone who is likely to depend or currently depends on the US government for subsistence. If someone is found to be a public charge, their green card/visa application will be denied. This proposal seeks to broaden the categories of aid that determine if someone is a public charge, which will significantly expand their ability to deny applications and refuse entry.

A short presentation on the proposed rule change, along with instructions for submitting comments, will be provided by New American Welcome Center staff every half hour. We will have laptops ready for you to submit your comment online, as well as writing materials if you prefer to mail your comment to the Department of Homeland Security.

Please RSVP to make sure there is enough food for everyone. For more information on the event, please click here. For more information on the public charge rule, click here.

Finance Survey Update

Thank you to everyone who submitted feedback on the Finance Survey! In accordance with your responses, we’ve restricted the scope of the survey to gathering member data for upcoming issues campaigns and contract bargaining. We’ll also be focusing more sharply on time-sensitive information but retaining the original privacy policy and terms of use. Finally, we’ve pushed the survey to Thursday, December 13th, and we’ll be encouraging members to take the survey at our Reading Day Tutor-In.

—————–

GEO COMMITTEES NEED YOUR HELP!

We are a member-run union; we depend on the commitment of our members to stay as strong as possible. Below you’ll find details about what each committee does and how to contact them. No special knowledge is required. You can follow the calendar of events on our website for the date and time of upcoming meetings: http://uiucgeo.org/events/. Meetings are open to membership, and coming to a meeting does not commit you to joining a committee.

NEW! Constitutional Committee
Interested in structure and community values? Like clarifying procedures and logistics? Just want to know more about GEO? Join the newly formed Constitutional Committee to work on updating our Constitution and By-Laws! The Constitutional Committee needs members who are interested in developing a proposal to present to our general membership in the fall for review and ratification. Contact cc@uigeo.org if you’re interested in getting involved.

Questions About Healthcare? Email the Healthcare Working Group!

We know you have questions about what healthcare options are offered by our current contract, and we remain committed to guaranteed accessible and affordable healthcare for all graduate students. Our Healthcare Working Group is a member-led caucus that works towards informing members and organizing around our healthcare. If you have any questions about your healthcare or are interested in working towards improving it, you can contact the Healthcare Working Group at health@uigeo.org!

Stewards’ Council

The Stewards’ Council (SC) is the primary organizing and planning body of GEO. This is where representatives from across campus come together to discuss the needs of our membership. Right now, stewards are doing office visits to sign up new members and organizing events such as department meetings and the upcoming Reading Day Tutor-in. If you are interested in becoming a Steward, email sc@uigeo.org or just come to the next meeting at 5:30 pm on November 27th in the GEO Office!

Solidarity Committee

The Solidarity Committee (SolComm) builds connections between the GEO and other movements and local social justice projects through financial endorsements, statements of support, collaborations, and more. SolComm supports several local organizations and movements that work towards economic, racial, gender, disability, prison, and environmental justice. In addition to graduate employees, we welcome undergraduate students and C-U community members to participate. If you are interested in joining the Solidarity Committee, please email solcomm@uigeo.org or attend our next meeting on December 10th in the GEO Office.

Finance Committee

The newly formed Finance Committee is tasked with accounting, reporting to members on how dues are spent, fundraising, and connecting members to emergency financial support. Email treasurer@uigeo.org if you would like to pitch in!

Grievance Committee

Whether it’s late wages, a missing tuition waiver, or retaliation in the workplace, the Grievance Committee helps GEO members take on the UIUC administration. The months after a new contract is signed are the busiest time for the Grievance Committee. They are working hard defending members who are already experiencing violations of the new contract. As one of our smallest committees, they could use your help doing this essential work! If you are interested in joining the Grievance Committee, email grievance@uigeo.org or attend our next meeting on Thursday, November 22nd at 4:00 PM in the GEO Office.

Communications Committee

The Communications Committee produces GEO-Ls and flyers, manages GEO’s social media, responds to interview requests, designs and orders swag, and more. They need people with a variety of skills, and they’d love to have you. The next Communications Committee meeting is on Monday the 26th of November at 4pm in the GEO Office, but make sure to check the calendar for up to date information. If you are interested in joining the Communications Committee, email commcomm@uigeo.org or just come to a meeting!

—————–

CONNECT WITH GEO!

Have feedback for us? Comments about the GMM? Reply to this email or use our anonymous google form.

Website: www.uiucgeo.org

Twitter: @geo_uiuc

Facebook: @uigeo  @geosolcomm

Instagram: @geo_uiuc

Sign up for text updates! Text updates are the fastest, best way to get crucial GEO information. Text the word “GEO” to 69238 to receive periodic 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

Email: geo@uigeo.org

Next GMM, Issue Campaign Sign Up, CFT Rally Today and More — GEO-L

***November 1st, 2018***

Table of Contents:

 

  • ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

    • Help us plan a campaign around our issues!
    • Finance Survey
    • Early Voting on Campus

 

  • EVENTS AND OPPORTUNITIES

 

    • Next GMM: November 29th @ 12-1 PM and 6:30-7:30 PM
    • Coffee with Co-Presidents
      • Come to the Champaign Federation of Teachers’ Rally at Windsor TODAY
      • Rally to Celebrate Almost 100 Years of Women Voting, Friday, 11/2 @ noon
      • Breaking the Silence: A Collective Art Project, Monday, 11/12 @ 3 – 5:30 PM
      • STEM workers, please support the Marriott Strikers’ Demands on Technology
    • GEO COMMITTEES NEED YOUR HELP!

 

  • GET IN TOUCH WITH GEO!

 

—————–

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Help us plan a campaign around our issues!

At the last GMM, we heard testimonials about ongoing workplace issues, such as the taxation of Graduate Assistant tuition waivers, lack of guaranteed summer health care, lack of access to affordable childcare, and excessive fees. We discussed how we could organize outside of contract negotiations and effect changes in university policy to address these issues, but we need your help to take the next step! Sign up here to join the Issue Campaigns Working Group, and help us plan a successful campaign.

First, we need to understand and investigate the issues and potential solutions so we can come together to decide how best to fight for change. Then, we’ll plan forums and actions that show our collective power. Experienced members from the current and past GEO leadership will be available for support throughout this process. Any time you can commit is valuable.  


Early Voting Available on Campus
Early voting is now happening in Room 404 of the Illini Union. It is available to any voter registered in Champaign County through November 5th. If you are eligible to vote but not yet registered, you can register and vote at the same time at any early voting location through November 5th or at your precinct voting location on Election Day, November 6th. To register and vote you need a photo ID (an I-Card will work) and something recent (a lease, a bill, a piece of mail) with your current address. If you are already registered to vote you do not need a photo ID nor any proof of address.

Voting hours at the Illini Union are 10a-6p Monday through Friday (including Monday, 11/5), Saturday, November 3rd from 10a-1p, and Sunday, November 4th from 10a-4p. Other early voting locations and hours are posted here. You can view your ballot here (you can print this and take it with you to vote) and you can find your election day polling place here.

Finance Survey
At the last GMM, our Treasurer Allan Axelrod proposed a finance survey to gather member data to aid in the upcoming issues campaigns and contract bargaining, as well as to shape future GEO finance committee events. The GMM attendees voted that the proposed survey would better serve us all with the following modifications:

  1. Terms of use for the survey data must be explicitly given.
    1. Terms of use: The identifying information in the survey responses will only be accessible to members of the GEO finance committee. The only details that members of the GEO finance committee may communicate are aggregate survey data such as count and statistical data. Communications regarding survey data will only be used for informing issue campaigns, contract bargaining and GEO finance committee events for members.
  2. A privacy disclaimer must be added to clarify that survey data would not be anonymous, but that identifying information would not be disclosed outside to anyone outside of the members and committees defined in the survey’s terms of use.
    1. Privacy disclaimer: Survey responses are not anonymous. The GEO finance committee will have access to identifying information of respondents. However, the GEO finance committee will not disclose identifying information, and GEO finance committee communication will be governed by the terms of use for the survey data.
  3. A feedback form must be presented in a GEO-L in addition to the survey to facilitate a comment period.

The survey draft is here, and the anonymous feedback form is here.  The feedback period is from today until Thursday, November 8th, 2018. Thank you to all who helped to inform this process, thus far! If you have any additional comments or concerns, please email treasurer@uigeo.org.
—————–

EVENTS AND OPPORTUNITIES

Next General Membership Meetings on November 29th, 12:00 pm and 6:30 pm

The next General Membership Meetings will be held at 12 PM and 6:30 PM on November 29th @ the Channing-Murray Foundation (1209 W Oregon St). At the GMM you will have a chance to provide feedback to the Solidarity Committee — the committee that connects the GEO to other movements and social justice projects through financial endorsements, statements of support, collaborations, and more — during the SolComm Open House. The Issue Campaigns Working Group will also be introduced at this meeting along with important announcements about the annual “Tutor-In.”

If you have any feedback about previous GMMs or any suggestions for upcoming GMMs, please take a moment to complete our GMM Survey. Your feedback and suggestions will help us make the General Membership Meetings as effective and beneficial as possible for all of our members.

Coffee with the Co-Presidents on November 8th

Our Co-Presidents, Bruce Kovanen and Hilary Gross, hold an open coffee and tea hour every Thursday at 2pm at the GEO office located in the McKinley Foundation (809 S 5th St). Ask questions, share ideas, voice concerns, or just have a chat! Your GEO officers and staff work for you, so don’t be afraid to stop by. This afternoon we will be making signs for the Champaign Federation of Teachers Rally at Windsor later today. For more information, check out the Facebook event.

Rally to Celebrate Almost 100 Years of Women Voting, Friday, 11/2 @ noon

Breaking the Silence: A Collective Art Project, Monday, 11/12 @ 3 – 5:30 PM

Please join Students Against Sexual Assault, the Women’s Resource Center, and the Initiative in Holocaust, Genocide and Memory Studies for a rally to celebrate women’s political power THIS FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 2ND. We’ll be meeting at noon in front of Alma Mater to hear from a diverse array of speakers on how issues like immigration, healthcare, mass incarceration affect women, and techniques for lifting up other women in our political discourse, including women of color, transwomen, incarcerated women, and sex workers. Together we will make our voices heard!

The rally will be followed by Breaking the Silence: A Collective Art Project hosted by the University YMCA on MONDAY, NOVEMBER 12TH from 3 – 5:30 pm.  This will be a breaking and making mosaic project led by Susan Parenti of the School for Designing a Society. Please bring something to break (i.e. a cup, saucer, glass, etc.), a plastic bag to break it in, an idea for what to create from the shards, and some sturdy vinyl gloves. You can also show up empty handed—we’ll have extras. Mosaics will be on display after the event!

For more information, please check out our Facebook events here and here!

Champaign Federation of Teachers’ Rally at Windsor TODAY (11/1) @ 3:30 pm

Champaign Federation of Teachers are holding a Rally at Windsor today at 3:30 pm, at the Unit 4 Administrative Center (502 W Windsor Rd, Champaign, IL 61820). Their contract expired on June 30th and bargaining with a mediator has not led to a fair contract yet. CFT is preparing to strike right now. As we know very well, teachers’ working conditions are students’ learning conditions, so come out to support CFT!

STEM workers: please support the Marriott Strikers’ Demands on Technology

STEM workers: please sign this petition from Science for the People to support the striking Marriott workers’ demands for a say over the deployment of new workplace technologies, especially when those technologies could endanger their livelihoods. As you may know, unionized Marriott workers across the country have been on strike for more than three weeks asking Marriott, one of the largest corporations in the world, to compensate them fairly, because One Job Should be Enough. You can read more about the Marriott strike here and follow the picket lines through the locals’ Facebook pages.

NEW GEO Swag!

Back by popular demand: GEO beanies! With the weather turning cold, now is the perfect time to pick one up at the GEO Office (809 S. 5th St., in the McKinley Foundation’s Geneva Room) and support our union in style. And while you’re there, why not help out with…

Tuesday Volunteer Hours!

Want to help your union but don’t know how? Want to get first dibs on GEO Swag? Come by the GEO office at 809 S. 5th St., in the McKinley Foundation’s Geneva Room any Tuesday between 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm. The Union has a number of small tasks that could use your help. Come by, lend a hand, have a snack, and meet your fellow union members on Tuesday afternoons. For more information, take a look at the Facebook event here!

—————–

GEO COMMITTEES NEED YOUR HELP!

We are a member-run union; we depend on the commitment of our members to stay as strong as possible. Below you’ll find details about what each committee does and how to contact them. No special knowledge is required. You can follow the calendar of events on our website for the date and time of upcoming meetings: http://uiucgeo.org/events/. Meetings are open to membership, and coming to a meeting does not commit you to joining a committee.

Communications Committee
The Communications Committee produces GEO-Ls and flyers, manages GEO’s social media, responds to interview requests, designs and orders swag, and more. They need people with a variety of skills, and they’d love to have you. The next Communications Committee meeting is on Thursday, November 8th at 5pm in the GEO Office, but make sure to check the calendar for up to date information. If you are interested in joining the Communications Committee, email commcomm@uigeo.org or just come to a meeting!

Grievance Committee
Whether it’s late wages, a missing tuition waiver, or retaliation in the workplace, the Grievance Committee helps GEO members take on the UIUC administration. The months after a new contract is signed are the busiest time for the Grievance Committee. They are working hard defending members who are already experiencing violations of the new contract. As one of our smallest committees, they could use your help doing this essential work! If you are interested in joining the Grievance Committee, email grievance@uigeo.org or attend our next meeting on Thursday, November 8th at 4:00 PM in the GEO Office.


Stewards’ Council
The Stewards’ Council (SC) is the primary organizing and planning body of GEO. This is where representatives from across campus come together to discuss the needs of our membership. Right now, stewards are doing office visits and organizing beginning-of-year events such as department meetings.If you are interested in becoming a Steward, email sc@uigeo.org or just come to the next meeting at 5:30 pm on November 6th in the GEO Office!

Solidarity Committee
The Solidarity Committee (SolComm) builds connections between the GEO and other people’s movements and local social justice projects through financial endorsements, statements of support, collaborations, and more. SolComm supports several local organizations and movements that work towards economic, racial, gender, disability, prison, and environmental justice. In addition to graduate employees, we welcome undergraduate students and C-U community members to participate. If you are interested in joining the Solidarity Committee, please email solcomm@uigeo.org or attend our next meeting on November 12th in the GEO Office.

NEW! Constitutional Committee
Interested in structure and community values? Like clarifying procedures and logistics? Just want to know more about GEO? Join the newly formed Constitutional Committee to work on updating our Constitution and By-Laws! The Constitutional Committee needs members who are interested in developing a proposal to present to our general membership in the fall for review and ratification. Contact cc@uigeo.org if you’re interested in getting involved.

NEW! Finance Committee

The newly formed Finance Committee is tasked with accounting, reporting to members on how dues are spent, fundraising, and connecting members to emergency financial support. Email treasurer@uigeo.org if you would like to pitch in!

Questions About Healthcare? Email the Healthcare Working Group!

We know you have questions about what healthcare options are offered by our current contract, and we remain committed to guaranteed accessible and affordable healthcare for all graduate students. Our Healthcare Working Group is a member-led caucus that works towards informing members and organizing around our healthcare. If you have any questions about your healthcare or are interested in working towards improving it, you can contact the Healthcare Working Group at health@uigeo.org!  

—————–

CONNECT WITH GEO!

Website: www.uiucgeo.org

Twitter: @geo_uiuc

Facebook: @uigeo  @geosolcomm

Instagram: @geo_uiuc

Sign up for text updates! Text updates are the fastest, best way to get crucial GEO information. Text the word “GEO” to 69238 to receive periodic 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

Email: geo@uigeo.org

GMM this Thursday on Issue Campaigns, Public Charge Rule and More – GEO-L

***October 15th, 2018***

Table of Contents:

 

  • ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

    • Issues Campaigns at Next GMM
    • Finance Survey Presentation, Q&A, and Vote
    • Check Your Employee Earnings Statement
    • Public Comment on Public Charge Rule

 

  • EVENTS AND OPPORTUNITIES

 

    • General Membership Meetings on 10/18
    • Coffee with the Co-Presidents on 10/18
    • Contracts on the Quad on 10/16
    • GMM Survey
    • New GEO Swag
      • Tuesday Volunteer Hours
    • GEO COMMITTEES NEED YOUR HELP!

 

  • GET IN TOUCH WITH GEO!

 

—————–

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Issues Campaigns at Next GMM

Make your voice heard on the workplace issues that impact you the most! Based on information gathered at our last GMM, the GEO is looking for members to provide testimonials on: Summer Healthcare, Fees, Childcare, and GA Tuition Taxation. These testimonials will be presented at the two General Membership Meetings on October 18th at the Channing-Murray Foundation.  If you want to provide a testimonial or have any questions, email us at: geo@uigeo.org.

Finance Survey Presentation, Q&A, and Vote

At the next GMM, there will be a presentation, Q&A, and vote on a survey regarding member finances and a potential financial seminar for members. If affirmed, the questions on finances would be used to aggregate financial information related to issue campaigns and our community. This information will also help us in our wage negotiations at the end of next year.

Check Your Employee Earnings Statement

Your net earnings statement for next week’s pay is now available. We highly recommend that everyone check their earnings statement so that 1) you can plan ahead financially, and 2) we can organize proactively around unfair or unexpected reductions in pay. The latter point is particularly important for GAs and PGAs, as tax withholdings tend to increase around this time of year.

Our earnings statements are available at https://hr.uillinois.edu/pay/earnstmt as well as https://go.uillinois.edu/earnstmt. You can also find these links by searching “uiuc earnings statements” online. If you see anything wrong or confusing, email geo@uigeo.org as soon as possible!

Public Comment on Public Charge Rule

On October 10th, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed a change to the Public Charge Rule. A “public charge” is someone who is likely to depend or currently depends on the US government for subsistence. To be admitted to the US one of the things Immigration Officers consider is whether or not the person is likely to become a public charge, which is a major factor in determining admission to the US. Right now only Cash Assistance (TANF, SSI, GA) and Medicaid long term care institution are considered in the Public Charge test. If someone is found to be a public charge, their green card/visa application will be denied. What this proposed change seeks to do is expand the categories of aid that determine if someone is a public charge. For more details on those changes please read here.

This could affect the types to public assistance international and immigrant GEO members can access, as well as their visas and ability to apply for legal permanent residency.

These changes have not been implemented yet! From now until December 10th, the public can make comments on whether or not these changes should be codified in DHS rules. To make a comment you can go to this website, which also contains more information on the public charge policy. —————–

EVENTS AND OPPORTUNITIES

Next General Membership Meetings on October 18th, 12:00 pm and 6:30 pm

In an effort to make the General Membership Meetings (GMMs) as accessible as possible, we will be holding two GMMs on October 18th at 12 pm and 6:30 pm. Both GMMs will be held at the Channing Murray Foundation. Dinner will be provided at the 6:30 meeting. Doors will open around 15 minutes prior to the start of the GMM. General Membership Meetings are members only, but if you’re not a member, you can sign up at the door or online at http://uiucgeo.org/become-a-member/. For more information, check out the Facebook events here and here.

Coffee with the Co-Presidents on October 18th

Our Co-Presidents, Bruce Kovanen and Hilary Gross will be holding an open coffee and tea hour on Thursdays at 2pm at the GEO office located in the McKinley Foundation. Ask questions, share ideas, voice concerns, or just have a chat! Your GEO officers and staff work for you, so don’t be afraid to stop by. For more information, check out the Facebook event.

Contracts (with Coffee!) on the Quad on October 16th

We will be tabling with our contracts tomorrow, Tuesday, October 16th, from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm at the Eternal Flame on the main quad! Come grab a cup of coffee and a copy of our contract and have all your important questions answered. We’ll also be handing out GEO swag — just in time for #WearItWednesday!

GMM Survey

If you have any feedback about previous GMMs or any suggestions for upcoming GMMs, please take a moment to complete our GMM Survey. We are especially interested in whether or not the current GMM meeting times work for our membership. If they don’t, please suggest alternative GMM times in the last two questions of the survey. Your feedback and suggestions will help us make the General Membership Meetings as effective and beneficial as possible for all of our members.

NEW GEO Swag!

Back by popular demand: GEO beanies! With the weather turning cold, now is the perfect time to pick one up at the GEO Office (809 S. 5th St., in the McKinley Foundation’s Geneva Room) and support our union in style. And while you’re there, why not help out with…

Tuesday Volunteer Hours!

Want to help your union but don’t know how? Want to get first dibs on GEO Swag? Come by the GEO office at 809 S. 5th St., in the McKinley Foundation’s Geneva Room any Tuesday between 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm. The Union has a number of small tasks that could use your help. Come by, lend a hand, have a snack, and meet your fellow union members on Tuesday afternoons. For more information, take a look at the Facebook event here!

—————–

GEO COMMITTEES NEED YOUR HELP!

We are a member-run union; we depend on the commitment of our members to stay as strong as possible. Below you’ll find details about what each committee does and how to contact them. No special knowledge is required. You can follow the calendar of events on our website for the date and time of upcoming meetings: http://uiucgeo.org/events/. Meetings are open to membership, and coming to a meeting does not commit you to joining a committee.

Communications Committee
The Communications Committee produces GEO-Ls and flyers, manages GEO’s social media, responds to interview requests, designs and orders swag, and more. They need people with a variety of skills, and they’d love to have you. The next Communications Committee meeting is on Thursday, October 25th at 5pm in the GEO Office, but make sure to check the calendar for up to date information. If you are interested in joining the Communications Committee, email commcomm@uigeo.org or just come to a meeting!

Grievance Committee
Whether it’s late wages, a missing tuition waiver, or retaliation in the workplace, the Grievance Committee helps GEO members take on the UIUC administration. The months after a new contract is signed are the busiest time for the Grievance Committee. They are working hard defending members who are already experiencing violations of the new contract. As one of our smallest committees, they could use your help doing this essential work! If you are interested in joining the Grievance Committee, email grievance@uigeo.org or attend our next meeting on October 25th at 4:00 PM in the GEO Office.

Stewards’ Council
The Stewards’ Council (SC) is the primary organizing and planning body of GEO. This is where representatives from across campus come together to discuss the needs of our membership. Right now, stewards are doing office visits and organizing beginning-of-year events such as department meetings.If you are interested in becoming a Steward, email sc@uigeo.org or just come to the next meeting at 5:30 pm on October 23rd in the GEO Office!

Solidarity Committee
The Solidarity Committee (SolComm) builds connections between the GEO and other people’s movements and local social justice projects through financial endorsements, statements of support, collaborations, and more. SolComm supports several local organizations and movements that work towards economic, racial, gender, disability, prison, and environmental justice. In addition to graduate employees, we welcome undergraduate students and C-U community members to participate. If you are interested in joining the Solidarity Committee, please email solcomm@uigeo.org or attend our next meeting on October 22nd in the GEO Office.

NEW! Constitutional Committee
Interested in structure and community values? Like clarifying procedures and logistics? Just want to know more about GEO? Join the newly formed Constitutional Committee to work on updating our Constitution and By-Laws! The Constitutional Committee needs members who are interested in developing a proposal to present to our general membership in the fall for review and ratification. Contact cc@uigeo.org if you’re interested in getting involved.

NEW! Finance Committee

The newly formed Finance Committee is tasked with accounting, reporting to members on how dues are spent, fundraising, and connecting members to emergency financial support. Email treasurer@uigeo.org if you would like to pitch in!

Questions About Healthcare? Email the Healthcare Working Group!

We know you have questions about what healthcare options are offered by our current contract, and we remain committed to guaranteed accessible and affordable healthcare for all graduate students. Our Healthcare Working Group is a member-led caucus that works towards informing members and organizing around our healthcare. If you have any questions about your healthcare or are interested in working towards improving it, you can contact the Healthcare Working Group at health@uigeo.org!  

—————–

CONNECT WITH GEO!
Website: www.uiucgeo.org

Twitter: @geo_uiuc

Facebook: @uigeo  @geosolcomm

Instagram: @geo_uiuc

Sign up for text updates! Text updates are the fastest, best way to get crucial GEO information. Text the word “GEO” to 69238 to receive periodic 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

Email: geo@uigeo.org

GEO Resources for GAs and PGAs facing tuition waiver taxation

Many of our fellow graduate employees here at UIUC are forced to pay taxes on their tuition waivers. Last November, the UIUC administration fought against changes to the tax code that would have financially devastated many of our members. Yet despite this, the administration continues to interpret the current tax code in a way that purposefully disadvantages Graduate Assistants (GAs) and Pre-professional Graduate Assistants (PGAs), sometimes wiping out entire paychecks. We’ve put together some resources available for employees facing this unfair tax burden, and we hope it’s useful through this difficult time. We encourage TAs and RAs to also read this to learn more. To help in our campaign to support our GAs and PGAs please contact us, or come to our GMMs where we will continue to discuss ways to improve the lives of all grad employees, including GAs and PGAs. Below is a copy of the email we sent to our GA’s and PGA’s in light of this challenge they face.

 


 

Hello!

 

You are receiving this email because you are a Graduate Assistant at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. We, the Graduate Employees’ Organization (GEO), know that some of you will receive a significantly smaller paycheck this month as a result of the tax on your tuition waiver. To verify whether your paycheck has been affected, you can view your earnings statement by visiting the university system’s human resources page here.  The purpose of this email is to provide you with some information on local and public assistance, food pantries, and sources for free meals.

 

GEO is the labor union that represents Teaching Assistants and Graduate Assistants at UIUC. Please note that this email was sent to all GAs, including GEO members and non-members. Receiving this email does not mean you are a member of GEO. If you’d like to become a member, please email us at geo@uigeo.org. If you would prefer not to receive emails like this in the future, please let us know at the same email address.

 

Table of Contents

 

  • Eligibility for Public and Local Financial Assistance
  • Stabilizing Financial Support for Fall
  • Emergency Financial Support
  • Local Food Pantries
  • Free Lunch on Campus Schedule
  • Schedule for Free Dinners Near Campus

 

 

Eligibility of GEO members and non-members (including international students) for Public and Local Financial Assistance

Two common misconceptions regarding eligibility for public assistance are:

  1. That it is based on one’s annual household income. Actually, eligibility for public assistance is based on one’s monthly household income. That is, if your pay in the last 30 days is below a certain amount, then you may qualify.
  2. That all of the public assistance requires you to be a citizen. Actually, while some programs do require citizenship or residency, not all of them do. We can offer information on several assistance programs which accept applications from non-citizens.

Any concerns or questions regarding eligibility for, stigmas about, or enrollment in public assistance can be directed to treasurer@uigeo.org. For those interested in helping members to enroll for public assistance, please also message our treasurer.

 

Stabilizing Financial Support over Fall

The following programs are designated for households below a certain level of monthly income, and do not have hard eligibility limits on a household’s existing assets.

 

Emergency Financial Support

In the event of a financial emergency, public assistance can help prevent compounding consequences. Below is an explanation of the jurisdiction of the available emergency public assistance programs and a list of programs.

 

With the exception of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), emergency assistance is administered by the Townships in Illinois. So if you live in Champaign or Urbana, your access to emergency support depends on what is offered at the Champaign or Cunningham Township, respectively. If you don’t live in Champaign or Urbana, you will need to locate your local Township. If you need help determining which Township provides services for your address, please contact our treasurer at treasurer@uigeo.org.

 

Local Food Pantries

A complete list of food pantries operating in Champaign County is provided by the Eastern Illinois Foodbank (EIF) here. The closest food pantry to campus is the Wesley Food Pantry. Their location and hours are listed below:

Wesley United Methodist Church (basement) from 5pm to 7pm on Thursdays

1203 W. Green Street Urbana, IL 61801

  • The Wesley Food pantry also has student-only hours from 1pm to 3pm on Mondays

 

Free Meals on Campus Schedule

The Cultural Centers and Resource Centers offer free lunch Monday through Thursday and every other Friday. There is always a presentation on a topic relevant to the Cultural/Resource Center and food. It’s first come first serve so make sure to get there early! For location information and topic information please check here. This website will be updated with the rest of the lunches, so make sure to check again in November.

Dinners are provided on the following days and times:

Monday 5pm-6:30pm : Jubilee Cafe CUCC 805 S. 6th St., Champaign, IL, 61820

Wednesday 6pm-6:45pm: UniPlace Church Community, 403 S. Wright St., Champaign, IL, 61820

For Additional Information or information on other potential options for food assistance, please email our treasurer, Allan Axelrod, at treasurer@uigeo.org.

 

Statement of Solidarity for Lucy Peterson and Professor Cheney-Lippold

The Graduate Employees’ Organization at UIUC (IFT/AFT Local 6300) strongly expresses our solidarity with University of Michigan (UM) graduate employee Lucy Peterson and Professor John Cheney-Lippold. Under pressure from anti-Palestinian groups and politicians, UM’s administration is unjustly disciplining both instructors for their principled refusal to cross an international picket line against the discriminatory policies of Israeli universities. Out of respect for the international academic boycott of Israeli institutions, Peterson and Cheney-Lippold have refused to write recommendations to students for programs that discriminate against Palestinians. They have every right to do so.

In a heartfelt explanation for why she declined to write a recommendation for a student for a study abroad program in Israel, Lucy Peterson, who is a Jewish woman, wrote:

“Israel routinely discriminates against and bans Palestinian-Americans, which means many of my Palestinian students would be denied study abroad opportunities available to other students. I would not write a letter of recommendation for any program that discriminates and does not share the University’s commitment to equal opportunity for all community members. By choosing not to contribute to Israel’s discriminatory practices, I am defending equality and justice for Palestinians.”

Peterson is correct about Israel’s discrimination against Palestinian academics. According to the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights:

“Israeli universities have a long history of planning, implementing, and justifying Israel’s separate-and-unequal policies—from research, to intensify the military occupation, to building campuses on stolen Palestinian land, to repressing the academic freedom of Palestinian students every single day. Refusing complicity with these institutions is an act of conscience in service of full academic freedom for all.”

Professor John Cheney-Lippold explained his support for the academic boycott by comparing it to not crossing a  picket line:

“If a union asks me not to buy a grape from a certain producer, or not to cross a picket line, I would support that. It’s the same thing here. Following requests from Palestinian and Jewish activists, I find the boycott against Israeli state institutions to be a very useful way to put pressure where I can as an academic.”

Further, Professor Cheney-Lippold made it clear that he was happy to write a letter of recommendation for this student should they wish to apply for a different study abroad program that would not require him to cross a picket line. As retaliation for supporting the human rights of Palestinians, UM’s administration froze Cheney-Lippold’s wages and retracted his upcoming sabbatical. This is outrageous, cowardly, and unjust. We strongly condemn UM’s administration for taking such unprecedented action to suppress the academic freedom of a respected professor. We call on the UM administration to withdraw all disciplinary measures against Cheney-Lippold, and to refrain from censoring or otherwise punishing Peterson.

We at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are all too familiar with the harm administrators can cause to the university when they place the politics of anti-Palestinian lobbyists, politicians, and wealthy donors above academic freedom and the human rights of Palestinians. Here at UIUC, the administration’s cowardly un-hiring of eminent Palestinian scholar Steven Salaita in 2014 remains an open sore. To appease anti-Palestinian lobbyists, politicians, and wealthy donors, the administration recklessly trampled all over the values of shared governance, department autonomy, and academic freedom, and in so doing did lasting damage to the American Indian Studies program and the larger academic community. Fifteen academic departments cast votes of No Confidence in the Chancellor and President for their role in what has come to be known as the “Salaita Affair.” Further, this administrative malpractice led to a fully justified academic boycott against UIUC, which meant the cancellation of several talks, conferences, and other academic events which are important to a healthy academic culture on any university campus.

UM’s administration’s reaction to Cheney-Lippold and Peterson, like UIUC’s un-hiring of Steven Salaita, are indicative of an increased war waged by Zionists against universities. Undergraduates, grad students, and professors are growing increasingly supportive of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and are increasingly supportive of the human rights of the Palestinian people. Because of this, the Israeli state and its zealous supporters are increasing their efforts to influence U.S. universities, and to punish and intimidate supporters of BDS. University administrations need to be courageous enough to oppose these attempts to suppress academic freedom. Academics joined the movement against the South African apartheid system and boycotted South African academic institutions. Today they are using a similar tactic against Israeli apartheid by joining the BDS movement. Academics have the right to support BDS, and to support human rights everywhere.

We, the GEO Local 6300 stand in solidarity with our fellow graduate employee Lucy Peterson and with Professor Cheney-Lippold. We stand for academic freedom everywhere and for a free Palestine!

Budget Vote Results, October GMMs and More — GEO-L

***October 1st, 2018***

Table of Contents:

 

  • ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

      • Budget Voting Results and Update

 

  • Meet Your Officers

 

    • GEO Library Survey

 

  • EVENTS AND OPPORTUNITIES

 

      • October General Membership Meetings
      • GMM Survey
      • Abortion Legalization in Argentina: A Conversation with Leaders
      • NEW GEO Swag
      • Tuesday Volunteer Hours
    • GEO COMMITTEES NEED YOUR HELP!

 

  • GET IN TOUCH WITH GEO!

 

—————–

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Budget Vote Results and Update

At the September 20th GMM, we voted on the proposed budget for this year, which is linked here. We are grateful for all of your questions and comments about the budget, and thanks to all the members who took the time to vote. We are pleased to announce that the budget passed with 90% approval!

We want to note that, in light of the Janus vs. AFSCME decision, we have had to provisionally cut our discretionary budget in half (to understand why, read our GMM slides here). Please let us know if you have any questions or would like more information about this year’s budget by emailing our Treasurer at treasurer@uigeo.org.

Meet Your Officers

At the last GMM, the elected officers of the GEO introduced themselves to the membership — you can view the slides here. Below is your current GEO Officer Roster:

Co-President: Bruce Kovanen, English

Co-President: Hilary Gross, English

Stewards Council Co-Chair: Roshni Bano, Physics

Stewards Council Co-Chair: Brianne Gutmann, Physics

Stewards Council Coordinator: Chibundo Egwuatu, Anthropology

Stewards Council Liaison: Ryan Levy, Physics

Stewards Council Liaison: Beau Barber, Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Solidarity Office: Carolina Ortega, History

Communications Officer (Interim): Thomas Day, History

Grievance Officer: Joe Izaguirre, Communication

Officer-at-Large: Andy Bowman, English/Writing Studies

Officer-at-Large: Tara Hatfield, Musicology

Officer-at-Large: Michelle Victora, Physics

Treasurer: Allan Axelrod, Agricultural and Biological Engineering

As you may have noticed, we have been posting about our officers on social media. You can expect even more Meet Your Officers posts in the coming days. If you’re not yet following the GEO on social media, you can find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

GEO Library Survey

Thanks to our enterprising members, the GEO office is considering using our office to host a library on labor and union resources. All our members are invited to have a say in what this library looks like and who it serves. Please take a moment to fill out this short survey and check out the great work our members are already doing to help keep the union, and the community, strong and informed!

For more information on the library and what you might find there, please reach out to GEO member Chrissy O’Grady at cog12294@gmail.com.

—————–

EVENTS AND OPPORTUNITIES

Next General Membership Meetings on October 18th, 12:00 pm and 6:30 pm

In an effort to make the General Membership Meetings (GMMs) as accessible as possible, we will be holding two GMMs on October 18th at 12: pm and 6:30 pm. Both GMMs will be held at the Channing Murray Foundation. Dinner will be provided at the 6:30 meeting. Doors will open around 15 minutes prior to the start of the GMM. General Membership Meetings are members only, but if you’re not a member, you can sign up at the door or online at http://uiucgeo.org/become-a-member/. Please attend for more information about GEO and to learn how to get involved!

GMM Survey

If you have any feedback about previous GMMs or any suggestions for upcoming GMMs please take a moment to complete our GMM Survey. We are especially interested in whether or not the current GMM meeting times work for our membership. If they don’t, please suggest alternative GMM times in the last two questions of the survey. Your feedback and suggestions will help us make the General Membership Meetings as effective and beneficial as possible for all of our members.

Abortion Legalization in Argentina: A Conversation with Leaders

This past summer, feminist activists in Argentina made history by bringing the first ever bill to legalize/decriminalize abortion to the legislature. Although the bill failed by a handful of votes, it was nonetheless a massive victory for the Argentine, and greater Latin American, feminist movements. Even now, abortion is only legal in three Latin American countries, and is punishable as a crime in many. Although this may seem distant, women’s rights and labor rights are crucially connected, and it is our duty to support the cause of labor and gender justice around the globe. Join the GEO Solidarity Committee on Wednesday, October 3rd from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm at the Channing Murray Foundation (1209 W. Oregon St. Urbana) for an afternoon of international solidarity as we Skype with leaders from the National Campaign for the Right to Legal Safe and Free Abortion (Campaña Nacional por el Derecho al Aborto Legal, Seguro y Gratuito). Empanadas and English translation will be provided! Here is the Facebook event with more information.

NEW GEO Swag!

Back by popular demand: GEO beanies! With the weather turning cold, now is the perfect time to pick one up at the GEO Office (809 S. 5th St., in the McKinley Foundation’s Geneva Room) and support our union in style. And while you’re there, why not help out with…

Tuesday Volunteer Hours!

Want to help your union but don’t know how? Want to get first dibs on GEO Swag? Come by the GEO office at 809 S. 5th St., in the McKinley Foundation’s Geneva Room any Tuesday between 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm. The Union has a number of small tasks that could use your help. Come by, lend a hand, have a snack, and meet your fellow union members on Tuesday afternoons. For more information, take a look at the Facebook event here!

—————–

GEO COMMITTEES NEED YOUR HELP!

We are a member-run union; we depend on the commitment of our members to stay as strong as possible. Below you’ll find details about what each committee does and how to contact them. No special knowledge is required. You can follow the calendar of events on our website for the date and time of upcoming meetings: http://uiucgeo.org/events/. Meetings are open to membership, and coming to a meeting does not commit you to joining a committee.

Communications Committee
The Communications Committee produces GEO-Ls and flyers, manages GEO’s social media, responds to interview requests, designs and orders swag, and more. They need people with a variety of skills, and they’d love to have you. The next Communications Committee meeting is on Thursday, October 11th at 5pm in the GEO Office, but make sure to check the calendar for up to date information. If you are interested in joining the Communications Committee, email commcomm@uigeo.org or just come to a meeting!

Grievance Committee
Whether it’s late wages, a missing tuition waiver, or retaliation in the workplace, the Grievance Committee helps GEO members take on the UIUC administration. The months after a new contract is signed are the busiest time for the Grievance Committee. They are working hard defending members who are already experiencing violations of the new contract. As one of our smallest committees, they could use your help doing this essential work! If you are interested in joining the Grievance Committee, email grievance@uigeo.org.

Stewards’ Council
The Stewards’ Council (SC) is the primary organizing and planning body of GEO. This is where representatives from across campus come together to discuss the needs of our membership. Right now, stewards are doing office visits and organizing beginning-of-year events such as department meetings.If you are interested in becoming a Steward, email sc@uigeo.org or just come to the next meeting at 5:30 pm on October 9th in the GEO Office!

Solidarity Committee
The Solidarity Committee (SolComm) builds connections between the GEO and other people’s movements and local social justice projects through financial endorsements, statements of support, collaborations, and more. SolComm supports several local organizations and movements that work towards economic, racial, gender, disability, prison, and environmental justice. In addition to graduate employees, we welcome undergraduate students and C-U community members to participate. If you are interested in joining the Solidarity Committee, please email solcomm@uigeo.org.

NEW! Constitutional Committee
Interested in structure and community values? Like clarifying procedures and logistics? Just want to know more about GEO? Join the newly formed Constitutional Committee to work on updating our Constitution and By-Laws! The Constitutional Committee needs members who are interested in developing a proposal to present to our general membership in the fall for review and ratification. Contact cc@uigeo.org if you’re interested in getting involved.

NEW! Finance Committee

The newly formed Finance Committee is tasked with accounting, reporting to members on how dues are spent, fundraising, and connecting members to emergency financial support. Email treasurer@uigeo.org if you would like to pitch in!

Questions About Healthcare? Email the Healthcare Working Group!

We know you have questions about what healthcare options are offered by our current contract, and we remain committed to guaranteed accessible and affordable healthcare for all graduate students. Our Healthcare Working Group is a member-led caucus that works towards informing members and organizing around our healthcare. If you have any questions about your healthcare or are interested in working towards improving it, you can contact the Healthcare Working Group at health@uigeo.org!  

—————–

CONNECT WITH GEO!


Website: www.uiucgeo.org

Twitter: @geo_uiuc

Facebook: @uigeo  @geosolcomm

Instagram: @geo_uiuc

Sign up for text updates! Text updates are the fastest, best way to get crucial GEO information. Text the word “GEO” to 69238 to receive periodic 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

Email: geo@uigeo.org

GMM this Thursday, Other Upcoming Events and Announcements — GEO-L

***September 18, 2018***

Table of Contents:

 

  • ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

      • Earnings Statements and University Fees
      • Opt-in for Dependent Health Care by 9/25/2018
      • Call to Action: Solidarity with Champaign Federation of Teachers!

 

  • EVENTS AND OPPORTUNITIES

 

      • General Membership Meeting on 9/20
      • Coffee & Contracts on (Bardeen) Quad on 9/19
      • STARTING 9/18! Tuesday Volunteer Hours
      • STARTING 9/19! Wear-it-Wednesday and Ice Skating
      • GEO Intramural Basketball Team

 

  • COMMITTEE AND CAUCUS UPDATES
  • GET IN TOUCH WITH GEO!

 

—————–

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Earning Statements and University Fees

Earning statements for this pay period are available here: https://hr.uillinois.edu/pay/earnstmt. It’s important to regularly check your earning statements and make sure you are being paid the correct amount. If you’re not sure how much you should be paid, or have not been paid the correct amount, contact the Grievance Committee (grievance@uigeo.org), the main GEO email (geo@uigeo.org), or talk to your departmental steward!

University fees are due September 28th. If you cannot afford to pay now, the late fee is better than the university’s payment plan! The university charges a late fee of 1.5% — about $8 — per month for the standard graduate fees (https://paymybill.uillinois.edu/resources/TopQuestions). Simply enrolling in the repayment plan costs $40 per semester and may carry additional penalties.


Opt-In for Dependent Health Care by 9/25/2018

The opt-in period for dependent health care coverage ends September 25th. While registered students are automatically enrolled in the UIUC health insurance plan, their dependents are not. We secured 25% coverage for a single dependent per graduate employee during the March 2018 strike. However, the administration has not yet provided instructions for how this is to function and is asking that employees enroll their dependent(s) and apply for reimbursement. For more questions about this please contact geo@uigeo.org or the Health Care Working Group at health@uigeo.org.

Call to Action: Solidarity with Champaign Federation of Teachers!

The Champaign Federation of Teachers is currently negotiating their new contract. The school district has hired an expensive, union-busting lawyer, funded by taxpayers including UIUC graduate employees living in the Champaign-Urbana and Savoy areas. They are asking for our help.

To call attention to the questionable practices of the school district, CFT is asking Champaign and Savoy residents to submit Freedom of Information Act requests to uncover the cost of this anti-union effort. It only takes a minute and every FOIA request helps!

To submit a FOIA request for the information sought, email School Attorney Tom Lockman at lockmath@u4sd.org. Use the following template, which you should send from a personal email not a UI account:

Dear Mr. Lockam:

Under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, 5 ILCS 140, I am requesting copies of any and all invoices pertaining to the legal fees associated with the district’s collective bargaining with the Champaign Federation of Teachers, going back to April 2018 and forward to the date of this email.

Please email these records to me at __________[insert your home email]___________.

I understand that your website states no fees will be charged for the first 50 pages of black and white copies. If there is a charge associated with this request please inform me of the total cost before complying. I look forward to hearing from you in writing within five working days, as required by the Act 5 ILCS 140(3). Thank you for considering and responding to this request.

For more information, please contact our Solidarity Committee at solcomm@uigeo.org

—————–

EVENTS AND OPPORTUNITIES

General Membership Meeting (GMM) on 9/20

Our first General Membership Meeting of the semester will be held on September 20th at 6:00 PM at the Channing Murray Foundation (see map below). Please attend for more information about GEO and to learn how to get involved! We will be voting on our annual budget, and discussing the next steps after our victories in the Spring strike. Here is a tentative agenda for the meeting. Please RSVP to the Facebook event so that we know how much pizza to order. General Membership Meetings (GMMs) are members only, but if you’re not a member, you can sign up at the door or online at http://uiucgeo.org/become-a-member/.

Coffee & Contracts on (Bardeen) Quad on 9/19

We will be tabling with Contracts & Coffee on September 19th, from 11 am to 2 pm at the Bardeen Quad (also known as the Engineering Quad)! Come grab a cup of coffee and a copy of our contract and have all your important questions answered. We’ll also be handing out GEO swag — just in time for #WearItWednesday! For up to date information on the event, please check our facebook page.

STARTING 9/18! Tuesday Volunteer Hours

Want to help your union but don’t know how? Come by the GEO office at 809 S. 5th St., in the  McKinley Foundation’s Geneva Room any Tuesday between 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm. The Union has a number of small tasks that could use your help. Come by, lend a hand, have a snack, and meet your fellow union members on Tuesday afternoons.

STARTING 9/19! Wear it Wednesday and Ice Skating

Every Wednesday is #WearItWednesday! We can increase GEO’s visibility by wearing swag while teaching, conferencing, lecturing, researching, and doing all the other vital work that we do on this campus. Plus, our treasurer loves to ice skate, and invites all GEO members to join him on Wednesdays at the Ice Arena for the Lunch Skate in GEO swag! Lunch skate runs from 11:15 am to 12:45 pm and only costs $2 for Graduate Students. For more information check out the Public Skating information on the campus rec website.

GEO Intramural Basketball Team

Join GEO Member Joe Coyle on the court! We will be starting a GEO Intramural basketball team this fall. If you want to play some basketball with your fellow union members, make new friends, or just prove how strong the union can be, contact Joe (joe.a.coyle@gmail.com) for more information. All skill levels are welcome!

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COMMITTEE AND CAUCUS UPDATES

GEO Committees Need Your Help!

We are a member-run union; we depend on the commitment of our members to stay as strong as possible. Below you’ll find details about what each committee does and how to contact them. No special knowledge is required. You can follow the calendar of events on our website for the date and time of upcoming meetings: http://uiucgeo.org/events/. Meetings are open to membership, and coming to a meeting does not commit you to joining a committee.

Communications Committee
The Communications Committee produces GEO-Ls and flyers, manages GEO’s social media, responds to interview requests, designs and orders swag, and more. They need people with a variety of skills, and they’d love to have you. The next Communications Committee meeting is on Thursday, September 27th at 5pm in the GEO Office, but make sure to check the calendar for up to date information. If you are interested in joining the Communications Committee, email commcomm@uigeo.org or just come to a meeting!

Grievance Committee
Whether it’s late wages, a missing tuition waiver, or retaliation in the workplace, the Grievance Committee helps GEO members take on the UIUC administration. The months after a new contract is signed are the busiest time for the Grievance Committee. They are working hard defending members who are already experiencing violations of the new contract. As one of our smallest committees, they could use your help doing this essential work! If you are interested in joining the Grievance Committee, email grievance@uigeo.org or just come to the next meeting, which will be on September 27 at 4:00pm in the GEO office!

Stewards’ Council
The Stewards’ Council (SC) is the primary organizing and planning body of GEO. This is where representatives from across campus come together to discuss the needs of our membership. Right now, stewards are doing office visits and organizing beginning-of-year events such as department meetings.If you are interested in becoming a Steward, email sc@uigeo.org or just come to the next meeting at 5:30 pm on September 25th in the GEO Office!

Solidarity Committee
The Solidarity Committee (SolComm) builds connections between the GEO and other people’s movements and local social justice projects through financial endorsements, statements of support, collaborations, and more. SolComm supports several local organizations and movements that work towards economic, racial, gender, disability, prison, and environmental justice. In addition to graduate employees, we welcome undergraduate students and C-U community members to participate. The next Solidarity Committee meeting is on Monday, September 24th at 5 PM at the GEO Office. If you are interested in joining the Solidarity Committee, please email solcomm@uigeo.org or just come to the next meeting.

NEW! Constitutional Committee
Interested in structure and community values? Like clarifying procedures and logistics? Just want to know more about GEO? Join the newly formed Constitutional Committee to work on updating our Constitution and By-Laws! The Constitutional Committee needs members who are interested in developing a proposal to present to our general membership in the fall for review and ratification. Contact cc@uigeo.org if you’re interested in getting involved.

NEW! Finance Committee

The newly formed Finance Committee is tasked with accounting, reporting to members on how dues are spent, fundraising, and connecting members to emergency financial support. Email treasurer@uigeo.org if you would like to pitch in!

Questions About Healthcare? Email the Healthcare Working Group!

We know you have questions about what healthcare options are offered by our current contract, and we remain committed to guaranteed accessible and affordable healthcare for all graduate students. Our Healthcare Working Group is a member-led caucus that works towards informing members and organizing around our healthcare. If you have any questions about your healthcare or are interested in working towards improving it, you can contact the Healthcare Working Group at health@uigeo.org!  

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CONNECT WITH GEO!


Website: www.uiucgeo.org

Twitter: @geo_uiuc

Facebook: @uigeo  @geosolcomm

Instagram: @geo_uiuc


Sign up for text updates! Text updates are the fastest, best way to get crucial GEO information. Text the word “GEO” to 69238 to receive periodic 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

Email: geo@uigeo.org

Welcome Back Party, First GMM of the Semester, and More! — GEO-L

***September 5, 2018***

Table of Contents:

  • Welcome New Members
  • Coffee and Contracts on the quad today (9/5)
  • Welcome Back Party on 9/14
  • Marching with (Union) Pride on 9/15
  • First General Membership Meeting on 9/20
  • Labor Day Parade Grand Marshals!
  • Questions about Healthcare
  • Get Involved in a Committee!

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WELCOME NEW MEMBERS

Between classes, research, and teaching, we know the beginning of the semester as a new graduate employee and student can feel like an avalanche of stress, but GEO connects us to the world beyond our office windows. The GEO community supports us as we move through graduate school, because we’ve all been there, navigating new lives amidst the cornfields of Illinois. There are so many ways to get involved, a few of which we’ve outlined below, but however you choose to #stickwithyourunion, we can’t wait to meet you!

Orientation is over, but our work is not done! We believe that every graduate student deserves to be heard, so our organizers will be visiting your offices (or labs!) to talk to you one-on-one about your union. Do you know your department/program has a GEO steward? Feel free to approach them to learn more! You can always email us at geo@uigeo.org or message us on Facebook or Twitter.

You should also feel welcome to visit the GEO office at any time, which is located in the Geneva Room of the McKinley Foundation on 5th and Daniel. Though the office is often open during normal business hours, the best time to stop by without an appointment is Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1pm to 4:30pm. Our Co-Presidents, Bruce Kovanen and Hilary Gross, will also be holding an open coffee or tea hour on Thursdays at 2pm. Ask questions, share ideas, voice concerns, or just have a chat! Your GEO officers and staff work for you, so don’t be afraid to stop by.

For an electronic version of our orientation materials, please follow the link to the PDF here. This packet has important information about your union, your contract, your healthcare, your rights as a parent and/or international student, and much more. You may also find our “Unofficial Guide” useful as you navigate life in Chambana.
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COFFEE AND CONTRACTS ON THE QUAD TODAY (9/5)

GEO officers will be tabling today, September 5th, from 10 am to 2 pm in the Anniversary Plaza on the Main Quad for Contracts & Coffee! Come grab a cup of (iced) coffee and a copy of our contract and have all your important questions answered. We’ll also be handing out GEO swag — just in time for #WearItWednesday! For more information on the event check out our facebook page.
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WELCOME BACK PARTY ON 9/14

Join us at the GEO Welcome Back Party at 8:30 PM on Friday, September 14th at the Independent Media Center IMC (202 S Broadway Ave, Urbana). Here is the facebook event. There will be free snacks (veggie, vegan, and gluten-free options included) and free local beer. If you’re new to campus, this will be a great opportunity to meet other UIUC grad students!

This party is for GEO members only (and their +1s), but if you aren’t a member, don’t worry, you can sign up at the door. Here’s an online sign up if you would like to do this in advance: http://uiucgeo.org/become-a-member/.

The Green, Grey and Silver bus lines will drop you off at the Lincoln Square Garage, which is right across the street from the IMC. Go ahead, take the night off, and have a fun evening with your peers!

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MARCH WITH (UNION) PRIDE ON 9/15

Join the GEO as we march in solidarity in the C-U Pride Parade on September 15th at 5:00 PM. The march will take place in downtown Champaign for the UP Center’s Pridefest 2018. Look for more details on GEO social media as we get closer to the 15th. If you’d like to sign up now to march in the parade and help represent the union, you can fill out the sign-up form here.

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FIRST GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING ON 9/20

Our first General Membership Meeting will be held on September 20th at 6:00 PM at the Channing Murray Foundation. We will be voting on our annual budget, and discussing our next steps after our recent victories in the Spring strike. Please attend for more information about GEO and to learn how to get involved.

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LABOR DAY PARADE GRAND MARSHALS

In honor of our strike victory last spring, GEO acted as Grand Marshals of the Annual Champaign County Labor Day Parade! Despite the heat, our members showed up and showed off. And marching through the Urbana streets, chanting, and singing songs sure brought back some wonderful #StrikeMemories!
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QUESTIONS ABOUT HEALTHCARE? EMAIL THE HEALTHCARE WORKING GROUP!

We know you have questions about what healthcare options are offered by our current contract, and we remain committed to guaranteed accessible and affordable healthcare for all graduate students. Our Healthcare Working Group is a member-led caucus that works towards informing members and organizing around our healthcare. If you have any questions about your healthcare or are interested in working towards improving it, you can contact the Healthcare Working Group at health@uigeo.org!  

—————–

GET INVOLVED IN A COMMITTEE!
We are a member-run union! GEO Committees have a lot of important work to do and need your help! Below you’ll find details about what each Committee committee does and how to contact them. No special knowledge is required. You can follow the calendar of events on our website for the date and time of upcoming meetings: http://uiucgeo.org/events/. Meetings are open to membership, and coming to a meeting does not commit you to joining a committee.

Communications Committee
The Communications Committee produces GEO-Ls and flyers, manages GEO’s social media, responds to interview requests, designs and orders swag, and more! They need people with a variety of skills, and they’d love to have you! You can help with writing and editing GEO-Ls, managing our social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook), being our media liaison, and archiving our history. The next Communications Committee meeting is on Thursday, September 13th at 5 PM at the GEO Office, but make sure to check the calendar for up to date information! If you are interested in joining the Communications Committee, email commcomm@uigeo.org or just come to a meeting!

Grievance Committee
The months after a contract is signed are the busiest time for the Grievance Committee. They are working hard defending members who are already experiencing violations of the new contract. As one of our smallest committees, they could use your help doing this essential work! Make sure to check the calendar for up to date information about their next meeting. If you are interested in joining the Grievance Committee, email grievance@uigeo.org or just come to the next meeting.

Stewards’ Council
The Stewards’ Council (SC) is the primary organizing and planning body of GEO. This is where representatives from across campus come together to discuss the needs of our membership. Right now, stewards are getting started with office visits and organizing beginning-of-year events. Become a steward and help GEO organize across campus! Their next meeting time is being scheduled, so make sure to check the calendar for up to date information. If you are interested in becoming a Steward, email sc@uigeo.org or just come to the next meeting!

Solidarity Committee
The Solidarity Committee performs crucial outreach both across and beyond the labor community. SolComm is especially important in a post-Janus world and could use some more members! Over the summer, SolComm worked on various summer community events and statements of solidarity. The next Solidarity Committee meeting is on Monday, September 10th at 5 PM at the GEO Office. If you are interested in joining the Solidarity Committee, please email solcomm@uigeo.org or just come to the next meeting.

NEW Constitutional Committee
Interested in structure and community values? Like clarifying procedures and logistics? Just want to know more about GEO? Join the newly formed Constitutional Committee to work on updating our Constitution and By-Laws! The Constitutional Committee needs members who are interested in developing a proposal to present to our general membership in the fall for review and ratification. Contact cc@uigeo.org if you’re interested in getting involved.

NEW Finance Committee

The newly formed Finance Committee is tasked with accounting, reporting to members on how dues are spent, fundraising, and connecting members to emergency financial support provided in the community. Email treasurer@uigeo.org if you would like to pitch in!


 

CONNECT WITH GEO!


Website: www.uiucgeo.org

Twitter: @geo_uiuc

Facebook: @uigeo  @geosolcomm

Instagram: @geo_uiuc


Sign up for text updates! Text updates are the fastest, best way to get crucial GEO information. Text the word “GEO” to 69238 to receive periodic messages concerning crucial 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

Email: geo@uigeo.org