BARGAINING: Seventh Session Summary July 11, 2017

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

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

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

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

Key takeaways from today’s session:

  • We presented the Administration with a package counter-proposal on several items, focusing on nondiscrimination. They refused to sign it. The Administration always says that “Illinois cares,” so why are they so resistant to protecting our membership from discrimination and harassment? They said that they’ll come back with a counter at our next session.

  • Three members presented testimonials related to our proposal on Immigration and Visa Leave. The Administration continues to say that they (and their “experts”) don’t know anything about immigration issues that could impact graduate employees’ work. They continue to ignore our lived experiences.

  • The Administration claims that the state budget is to blame for why they cannot give us any sort of financial increase in our proposals relating to wages and healthcare or accept our childcare and fee waiver proposals. This is despite the fact that only a small percentage (~12%) of their overall budget comes from the state budget. The fact is, according to the most recent publicly available budget info, the university has more money than ever before.

  • The Administration still has not responded to a healthcare information request we submitted to them at the third bargaining session on May 2nd. They keep coming up with excuses for why they cannot provide us with this information, but after three months, it’s clear they are stalling the bargaining process. We need this information to bargain!  

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

If you have questions about bargaining or the BT’s proposal, attending a meeting is the best way to address them. You can reach us at You can also find more info about bargaining our website.

What Comes Next:

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

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

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

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

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

Call for Testimonials

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

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

More Ways to be Involved with Bargaining:

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

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


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Twitter: @geo_uiuc

Facebook: @uigeo @geosolcomm

Instagram: @geo_uiuc


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