BARGAINING, Announcements, Events, and Updates July 3, 2017

Table of Contents:

    • Seventh Bargaining Session
      • Ways to be Involved with Bargaining
      • Call for Testimonials
    • Call for RAs Interested in Organizing
    • NTFC is Hiring a Part-Time Office Manager
    • GEO is Moving
    • Wear It Wednesday
    • Call Your Heather!
    • Healthcare Town Hall
    • Grievance Committee
    • Stewards’ Council
    • Communications Committee
    • Solidarity Committee
    • Coordinating Committee
    • Health Care Working Group





Greetings GEO Family,

Thanks to all of your energy, presence, and participation, we continue to have a powerful summer. While your energy and participation pressured the Administration to start bargaining with us, we have successfully moved the GEO office to the Geneva Room in the McKinley Foundation building, which you can read more about further down under announcements.

Bargaining has also been valuable for us members to learn about our experiences as graduate employees. Being together and learning about each other’s cases makes us grow together as a union. We could see this clearly happening in the most-recent bargaining session, as two of our members came out and shared how access to tuition waivers is essential for them being at UIUC. In addition, we can also see how our union grows together in the work of all GEO’s committees and working groups.

The Bargaining Team has been working tirelessly to reach the best contract between GEO and the Administration. At the same time, GEO’s Stewards and members of the Communications Committee, the Coordinating Committee, the Solidarity Committee, the Health Care Working Group, and the International Students Working Group discuss graduate employees’ struggles on a daily basis to think about how we can best defend the interests of the membership. The work and commitment of all the members in our union is what makes us strong! Again, thank you all for your participation. And we hope you can make it to our next bargaining session on July 11. Let’s show the university our unity and strength.

Marília Corrêa and Augustus Wood



Seventh Bargaining Session

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

Come to the bargaining session to help us fight for a contract that protects our rights as workers!

Directions and Travel Information to the Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI):

  • Carpool: the Bargaining Team has organized a carpool for members. If want to attend and need a ride, please fill out the carpool signup form on our website. Carpools will travel between the GEO Office and IFSI. 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 IFSI lot.
  • Bike: there are at least two bike racks available in front of the IFSI main building.
  • Bus: the bus line is 1 South Yellow to Water Survey and the stop is the Water Survey building. Be sure your bus is labeled Water Survey, not Lot E-14 or Savoy Wal-Mart.

Here’s a link to the Facebook event for the seventh 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, participating in the Call Your Heather! event (see below under events), following GEO on social media, and reading GEO emails.

You can also find more information about bargaining on our website.

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 BT meeting is the best way to address them. To find out about future meeting times, check the GEO events calendar or contact us at


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 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’s 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.


Call for RAs Interested in Organizing

We are looking to form a group of research assistants (RAs) interested in organizing! Although RAs are legally excluded from GEO’s bargaining unit, and thus are not covered by our contract with the university, they can still be GEO members — and by working together, improve conditions for RAs across the university. If you are an RA interested in researching ways to organize and create change at the university, please contact Zoë MacDowell Kaswan at


NTFC is Hiring a Part-Time Office Manager

The Non-Tenure Faculty Coalition (NTFC) Local 6546 is looking for a part-time office manager to assist with the daily functions of a non-tenure track faculty union. Preferred applicants would have experience working with academics and/or labor unions. For more information and how to apply, see their job listing.


GEO is Moving

On Friday, July 7th, GEO will be moving to our new, bigger-and-better office space! We’ll remain in the McKinley Foundation (809 S 5th Street, Champaign) ground floor, but will be relocating from the sunroom to the Geneva Room. This new office space will provide GEO with both a larger and more efficient space, but also more opportunities to meet and organize on behalf of graduate employees across the campus.

Join us on the 7th from 1:00-4:00pm for a party to celebrate the move, or come by after to visit the office to see our new space. The Facebook event can be found here.






See a full schedule of GEO meetings and events here, and contact 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.


Call Your Heather!

Do you have an issue with late appointment letters, inadequate healthcare and childcare, unaddressed microaggressions, workplace safety, lack of resources, or other problems that affect your work on campus? Join GEO as we voice our concerns to Academic Human Resources to let them know they need to work with us at the bargaining table to create systemic fixes for our problems.

WHO? All UIUC graduate employees, both on campus, and elsewhere! This is a great way to get involved and work together with the GEO to let the Administration know our needs.

WHAT? A collective action to show the Administration that the problems graduate employees face are real and difficult. Graduate employees will gather to call or email Heather Horn to inform her about their employment-related problems.

WHY? Heather Horn, the lead negotiator for the Administration’s Bargaining Team, stated in the bargaining room that she doesn’t know there are any problems with graduate employees’ working conditions if she hasn’t heard about them directly. Graduate employees will call or email to inform her, and the Administration, about their employment-related problems. Widespread problems require systemic fixes via a collective bargaining agreement, not individual fixes for those that come forward to Heather.

WHEN? Thursday, July 13, 1:00pm-4:00pm CST. You can also participate remotely by phone or email. Contact us at for info on how to participate from off-campus.

WHERE? GEO’s new office! We’re still in the McKinley Foundation Building (809 S. Fifth St., C.) but now in the Geneva Room. Come warm up our new office with a work action!


    • The GEO’s Grievance Committee will be present to assist members with possible grievances. If you aren’t comfortable sharing your issues with Heather you can still join us and chat with the Grievance Committee.








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, Wednesday, July 19, 4:00-6:00pm, 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 for the Healthcare Town Hall.






Grievance Committee (GC):

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. The next meeting is on Thursday July 6, 3:00-5:00pm, at the GEO office.


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 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 want to help educate their departments about what’s happening at the bargaining table. Please contact the Stewards’ Council Chair at 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 Thursday July 6, 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. This summer we are working on developing a new media campaign around bargaining and ordering and designing new t-shirts and other swag for GEO, as well as updating GEO’s Chambana Guide in preparation for the fall orientation for new grad employees. Please contact the Communications Officer at if you are interested in joining the Communications Committee. All members are welcome! The next meeting is on Thursday, July 13, 6:00-8:00pm, 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. For information on the next meeting, contact


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 Co-Presidents at with any questions about the next meeting. The next CC meeting is on Thursday July 6, 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. The next meeting is Wednesday, July 5, 12:00-1:00 pm at the GEO Office. For more information, please contact





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