LEARN MORE: Watch the video below or go to our special “FAA Tuition Waivers” page.
TAKE ACTION: Use this template (or a modified version) to send an email to UIUC administrators. (Contact info listed.)
Unionization is strongly associated with increases in overall compensation, measured here by hourly wages and health and pension benefit coverage. In the typical state, unionization is associated with about a 15 percent increase in hourly wages (roughly $2.50 per hour), a 19-percentage-point increase in the likelihood of having employer-provided health insurance, and a 24-percentage-point increase in the likelihood of having employer-sponsored retirement plans.
To download the complete report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), click here.
The article, titled “Tuition Waivers Protected in Illinois: Graduate employees stand up for essential provision”, can be found on page 2 of the current issue of AFT On Campus.
Also, an article and photo covering to the GEO’s pre-strike contract negotiations and demonstrations can be found on page 12 of the Nov/Dec issue, which is also available.
Today, the Supreme Court further tilted the playing field in favor of business corporations in public elections. By allowing unlimited corporate treasury expenditures that explicitly support or oppose particular candidates, the Court has increased the already excessive influence that corporations exert in our electoral system. And we believe the Court wrongly treated corporate expenditures the same as union expenditures, contrary to the arguments we made in our brief in this case. Unions, unlike businesses, are democratically-controlled, nonprofit membership organizations representing working men and women across the country, and their independent speech should accordingly be given greater protection.
The AFL-CIO supports a system of campaign finance regulation that promotes democratic participation in elections by individuals and their associations; protects legitimate independent speech rights; offers public financing to candidates while firmly regulating contributions to them; and guarantees effective disclosure of who is paying for what.
Chair Kennedy’s response to a letter written by Bob Naiman of Jobs With Justice includes the following statements:
I have a great respect for the GEO and understand its members play an important role at the University….
We set parameters with the negotiating parties and provided overall guidance to the University administration, expressed in terms of a range of our tolerance for certain changes, but the Board stayed out of day-to-day negotiations and did not become mired, publicly or privately, in the discussion….
I want to thank those members of the GEO who attended the Board meeting on November 12, 2009, and met with me as well as others. The concerns expressed at that time were heard and considered. I especially thank those who attended the Board meeting for their attention during the meeting and courtesy.
Our current Grievance Officer, Michelle Owen, has had to resign due to scheduling conflicts. Michelle has done a great job and we are sorry to see her go!
As per the GEO Constitution, we must hold a special election for another Grievance Officer. This person’s term would begin as soon as the election results are determined, and end at the next full election, which will happen some time in late April.
The Grievance Officer chairs the Grievance Committee, and assists with the handling of grievances between the employer and employees in any bargaining unit represented by the union. Grievances are a crucial part of enforcing the new contract and preparing the union to make gains during the next round of negotiations. Grievances prevent graduate employees from being overworked, underpaid, or otherwise mistreated. This is why the GEO t-shirts read ‘Who’s got your back?’
Questions? Interested? Please email our Co-Presidents, Caroline Nappo (email@example.com) and Ingbert Floyd (firstname.lastname@example.org), ASAP. We hope to hold the special election in early February.
The GEO contract prevents bargaining unit members from being furloughed. The administration may seek to furlough other unionized campus workers, however, including academic professionals and civil service employees. Julie Wurth’s full article is available from the News-Gazette. The following excerpt includes a statement from GEO Communications Officer Peter Campbell:
Union officials also raised questions about the need for furloughs and the university’s budget priorities.
“I’m still not totally sure that the university is in as dire straits as they let on,” Miller said.
McGuire said the university’s budget actually grew by $500 million this year, from $4.2 billion to $4.7 billion, though not from state sources.
He noted that the governor hasn’t asked for a budget rescission yet.
“I’m not saying there isn’t an issue here, but I think they’re getting a little ahead of themselves,” McGuire said.
Miller wondered what the UI will do if and when the state catches up on its payments. Ikenberry indicated employees could be reimbursed if the UI receives its full appropriation, but he expressed doubt that that will happen.
Peter Campbell, communications officer for the Graduate Employees’ Organization, said the furlough policy is an improvement on earlier proposals. But he said furloughs aren’t necessarily “the best way to respond to this crisis.”
He’d like to see more efforts to shift funding away from administrative units to academic programs.
Kerry Pimblott, the GEO’s lead negotiator during this year’s contract negotiations, appeared on the Illinois World Labor Hour radio program on November 21. The Labor Hour, hosted by David Johnson, airs every Saturday from 11 am to noon on WEFT 90.1 FM, a community radio station broadcasting from downtown Champaign. The GEO segment with Kerry’s interview begins at 32:30 in the hour long show.
(If the above link to the interview does not work, you may also access the audio file here.)