BARGAINING, Announcements, Events, and Updates July 17, 2017

Table of Contents:

    • Eighth Bargaining Session
      • Ways to be Involved with Bargaining
      • Call for Testimonials
    • Call for GEO T-Shirt Slogan Ideas
    • GEO Has Moved
    • Wear It Wednesday
    • Healthcare Town Hall
    • GEO 101
    • Strategic Communications Workshop III
    • RA Working Group
    • Grievance Committee
    • Stewards’ Council
    • Communications Committee
    • Solidarity Committee
      • Solidarity Statement
    • Coordinating Committee
    • Health Care Working Group





Eighth Bargaining Session

GEO’s eighth bargaining session with the UIUC Administration will be on Tuesday, July 25, 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 eighth bargaining session.

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

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 GEO T-Shirt Slogan Ideas

The Communications Committee invites GEO members to submit their slogan ideas for new GEO t-shirts. We are especially looking for ideas that connect to GEO’s four bargaining pillars. Members are invited to submit their slogan ideas by midnight on Friday, July 21, to, for consideration by the Communications Committee.

GEO Has Moved

As of Friday, July 7th, GEO has moved to its new, bigger-and-better office space! We still remain in the McKinley Foundation (809 S 5th Street, Champaign) on the ground floor, but relocated 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. Stop by the Geneva Room to see our new organizing space!



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.


Healthcare Town Hall

Anxious about healthcare? The GEO’s Health Care Working Group has organized a Town Hall event for graduate students focused on the themes of access, patient care, experiences, inclusion, and improving health care for all graduate student populations and dependents.

Come to our town hall meeting on 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! To RSVP, please go to the Facebook event for the Healthcare Town Hall.

Also, this is a family-friendly event, so go ahead and bring your children, partners, relatives or anyone else who is (un)covered by your insurance and would like to know more.


GEO 101
Or, The Importance of Organizing as a Graduate Student

What is GEO? Why does the TA contract matter for graduate students/employees who primarily work as RAs? What is the current state of negotiations? How does GEO benefit those outside the bargaining unit in other ways? Come to learn the answers to these questions and more! Following the success of our June event in RAL, we are holding a second RA-focused informational discussion on Thursday, July 27, at 1:00pm. Location TBD; keep an eye on the Facebook event here. Food will be provided.


Strategic Communications Workshop III

The Communications Committee invites GEO members to attend the next Strategic Communications Workshop to learn about bargaining messaging on Thursday, July 27, 6:00-8:00pm, at the School of Labor and Employment Relations (504 E Armory Ave, Champaign).





RA Working Group

RAs have concerns that overlap with, but are also distinct from, those of TAs and GAs. And although RAs are legally excluded from GEO’s bargaining unit, thus not covered by GEO’s contract with the university, they can still be active GEO members and work together to improve conditions across the university. The RA Working Group has formed to research and implement methods of successfully organizing and advocating for RAs. Our first meeting will be Friday, July 28, 12:00-2:00pm. Please contact Zoë MacDowell Kaswan at for more information or if you are interested in attending.

Solidarity Committee (Sol Comm):

The Solidarity Committee (SolComm) serves to build ties of solidarity between the GEO and other people’s movements and local social justice-oriented projects. It does this through various means such as financial endorsements, statements of support, and collaborations. The SolComm has supported several organizations and movements locally and beyond with work towards economic, racial, gender, disability, prison, and environmental justice. If you have any questions about SolComm or would like to get involved, please contact the Solidarity Chair at

Statement in Solidarity with Bangladeshi Workers in Response to Gazipur Boiler Explosion

GEO stands in solidarity with Bangladeshi garment workers and offers our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the workers killed and injured in the boiler explosion in Gazipur on July 3rd. “We understand that workers’ safety can only be secured if workers have the right to organize and join unions. Therefore, we demand that the right to unionize and form trade unions in all garments factories without any threat or harm be respected and secured.” Read our full solidarity statement on our website.


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. For information on the next meeting, contact


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 Tuesday, July 18, 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 Wednesday, July 26, 6:00-8:00pm, at the GEO Office.


Coordinating Committee (CC):

The Coordinating Committee (CC) is made up of elected officers from all committees, though any member may attend meetings. The CC makes decisions about large‐scale projects, some financial decisions, and the GEO’s long‐term vision. Our meetings are open to all GEO members. Please contact the Co-Presidents at with any questions about the next meeting. The next CC meeting is on Thursday July 20, 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. Meetings are open to all members. For more information about the next meeting, please contact




Twitter: @geo_uiuc

Facebook: @uigeo  @geosolcomm

Instagram: @geo_uiuc


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