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

Table of Contents:

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

 

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ANNOUNCEMENTS:

 

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 barg@uigeo.org.

 

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 barg@uigeo.org 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 commcomm@uigeo.org, 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!

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EVENTS:

See a full schedule of GEO meetings and events here, and contact geo@uigeo.org 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).

 

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COMMITTEE UPDATES:

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 officer3@uigeo.org 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 solcomm@uigeo.org.

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 grievance@uigeo.org.

DID YOU KNOW???

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 http://www.uigeo.org/grievances/grievance-report/. 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 sc@uigeo.org 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 commcomm@uigeo.org 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 cc@uigeo.org 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 geo@uigeo.org.

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CONNECT WITH GEO!

Twitter: @geo_uiuc

Facebook: @uigeo  @geosolcomm

Instagram: @geo_uiuc

 

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 barg@uigeo.org. 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 barg@uigeo.org 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 geo@uigeo.org. Bargaining Team meetings and bargaining sessions are open to all members. Please contact the Bargaining Team (barg@uigeo.org) with any questions.

 

Follow GEO Online:

Website: www.uigeo.org

Twitter: @geo_uiuc

Facebook: @uigeo @geosolcomm

Instagram: @geo_uiuc

 

Text the word “GEO” to 69238 to receive periodic messages concerning crucial bargaining 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.

 

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

Table of Contents:

  • CO-PRESIDENTS’ MESSAGE
  • ANNOUNCEMENTS
    • 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
  • EVENTS
    • Wear It Wednesday
    • Call Your Heather!
    • Healthcare Town Hall
  • COMMITTEE UPDATES
    • Grievance Committee
    • Stewards’ Council
    • Communications Committee
    • Solidarity Committee
    • Coordinating Committee
    • Health Care Working Group
  • CONNECT WITH GEO

 

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CO-PRESIDENTS’ MESSAGE

 

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
Co-Presidents

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ANNOUNCEMENTS:

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 barg@uigeo.org.

 

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 barg@uigeo.org 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 officer3@uigeo.org.

 

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.

 

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EVENTS:

 

See a full schedule of GEO meetings and events here, and contact geo@uigeo.org 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 geo@uigeo.org 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!

ALSO OF NOTE:

    • 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.

 

  • YOU CANNOT BE RETALIATED AGAINST FOR PARTICIPATION IN UNION ACTIVITIES, INCLUDING THIS WORK ACTION OR A GRIEVANCE.

 

CALL OR EMAIL HEATHER HORN:

217-333-0989

hwilson@illinois.edu

 

 

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.

 

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COMMITTEE UPDATES:

 

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.

DID YOU KNOW???

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 http://www.uigeo.org/grievances/grievance-report/. 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 sc@uigeo.org 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 commcomm@uigeo.org 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 solcomm@uigeo.org.

 

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 cc@uigeo.org 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 geo@uigeo.org.

 

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CONNECT WITH GEO!

Twitter: @geo_uiuc

Facebook: @uigeo  @geosolcomm

Instagram: @geo_uiuc


Text the word “GEO” to 69238 to receive periodic messages concerning crucial bargaining 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.


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

 

BARGAINING: Sixth Session Summary June 20, 2017

 

Today, the GEO Bargaining Team (BT) and the UIUC Administration held their sixth 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 11, 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:

  1. The Administration gave us their full comprehensive counter-proposal, including economic items. Our increased member presence and participation clearly worked to pressure them–getting a comprehensive proposal from the Administration is a MAJOR development! After three months, we can finally start bargaining our contract with all items on the table. Now the real struggle begins to secure a fair graduate employee contract.
  2. We rejected the Administration’s tuition waiver side letter proposal from June 6, 2017, with a statement that put their proposal in the context of past arbitration decisions. The Admin wants to have the right to change any of the terms and conditions associated with any tuition waiver. We think this is unacceptable because we view tuition waivers as the due compensation for our labor. You can find the statement about tuition waivers that our lead negotiators presented today here.
  3. Two of our members shared their experiences regarding the connection between tuition waivers and access and equality at this university. Hearing their personal stories and presenting these to the Administration was a powerful moment in the negotiation room. These narratives also showed how our bargaining pillars work together and cannot be considered in isolation.
  4. We had great member turnout and productive conversation among membership about what we observed in the negotiation room. Member turnout is our strongest tool to fight for our contract priorities and we encourage all members to attend a session. Thank you to all who attended–please spread the word and bring another member with you next time!

What Comes Next:

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 barg@uigeo.org 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

The next BT meeting is on Wednesday, June 21, 7:00-9:00pm, at the GEO Office. Contact barg@uigeo.org with any questions. All members are welcome!

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 barg@uigeo.org. You can also find more info about bargaining on our website.

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

 

Follow GEO Online:

Website: www.uigeo.org

Twitter: @geo_uiuc

Facebook: @uigeo @geosolcomm

Instagram: @geo_uiuc

 

Text the word “GEO” to 69238 to receive periodic messages concerning crucial bargaining 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.

 

BARGAINING, Announcements, Events, and Updates June 15, 2017

Table of Contents:

  • ANNOUNCEMENTS
    • Sixth 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
  • EVENTS
    • Wear It Wednesday
    • Healthcare Town Hall
  • COMMITTEE UPDATES
    • Grievance Committee
    • Stewards’ Council
    • Communications Committee
    • Solidarity Committee
    • Coordinating Committee
    • Health Care Working Group
  • CONNECT WITH GEO

 

————–

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Sixth Bargaining Session

GEO’s sixth bargaining session with the UIUC Administration will be on Tuesday, June 20, 9:00am-12:00pm, at the Illinois Fire Service Institute (11 Gerty Dr, Champaign, IL). All members are welcome! Refreshments will be provided for members in attendance.

Come to the bargaining session to see how the Administration responds to us!

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 sixth 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 barg@uigeo.org.

 

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 barg@uigeo.org 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 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 officer3@uigeo.org.

 

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.

 

————–

 

EVENTS:

See a full schedule of GEO meetings and events here, and contact geo@uigeo.org 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

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 19th, 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 invitation to the Healthcare Town Hall.

 

————–

 

COMMITTEE UPDATES:

 

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 Tuesday, June 20, 7:00-8:00 at the GEO Office.

DID YOU KNOW???

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 http://www.uigeo.org/grievances/grievance-report/. 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 are planning to stay in Champaign-Urbana over the summer. Please contact the Stewards’ Council Chair at sc@uigeo.org 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 June 15, 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 and ordering and designing new t-shirts and other swag for GEO. Please contact the Communications Officer at commcomm@uigeo.org if you are interested in joining the Communications Committee. All members are welcome! The next meeting is on Friday, June 30, 1:00-3:00pm, 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. The next meeting is on Friday June 16, 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 cc@uigeo.org with any questions about the meeting. The next CC meeting is on Thursday, June 15, 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. For more information about meeting times and other information, please contact geo@uigeo.org.

 

————–

 

CONNECT WITH GEO!

Twitter: @geo_uiuc

Facebook: @uigeo  @geosolcomm

Instagram: @geo_uiuc


Text the word “GEO” to 69238 to receive periodic messages concerning crucial bargaining 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.


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

 

5th Bargaining Session Summary June 6, 2017

Today, the GEO Bargaining Team (BT) and the UIUC Administration held their fifth bargaining session. Thank you to all members who attended! We filled the room–making a strong statement to the Administration about our commitment. There was even a baby present!

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

NEXT BARGAINING SESSION: Tuesday, June 20, 2017, 9:00am-12:00pm, Illinois Fire Service Institute (11 Gerty Drive, Champaign). All members are welcome!

Key takeaways from today’s session:

  1. GEO Co-President Augustus Wood presented a powerful statement about the importance of tuition waivers to GEO members.
  • At the last session, the Administration told us that they intended to “clarify” the side letter but didn’t state when they would do so or why, so we prepared a statement about why tuition waivers are important to us, the members. We presented the statement (attached) and asked the Administration for a response today.
  • The Administration was initially unwilling to respond to our statement, acknowledging only that it had taken place. When pressed by the lead negotiators, they agreed to caucus and returned with a proposal for a new side letter on tuition waivers.

 

  1. The Administration presented us with a new side letter on tuition waivers that showed their intent to change our tuition waiver protections!
  • For the first time in this bargaining cycle, we received an economic proposal from the Administration. We have been asking to see their economic proposal(s) since the first day of bargaining on March 30th. This is a big development, and it only happened because we demanded it. Now we know how they intend to reduce tuition waivers. Now we know what we’re fighting against.
  • This new side letter includes language which limits tuition waivers at the Administration’s discretion and introduces a NEW “base-rate” for tuition waivers. They did not clarify what this means, despite being asked to do so repeatedly. We will not know for sure until the Administration defines exactly what they mean–something we will continue to push them on.
  • They suggested that current members would not be affected, only incoming students–and only in select programs. This would drive a wedge into our potential membership. They seem to assume that we don’t care about future members. They’re wrong! Furthermore, their proposal contains vague language that may, despite the Administration’s claims, also leave current graduate employees at risk for having their waiver reduced or removed, in certain situations.
  • To see our current contract and side letter, you can visit our website.

 

  1. STILL no comprehensive proposal.

 

  • Why is this important?
  • We can’t bargain until we know what their full economic comprehensive proposal contains. Without seeing their full comprehensive proposal, we don’t know what’s on the table or what the Administration’s priorities are.
  • They are asking us to sign partial agreements on non-economic proposals without showing us their full proposal, and this is unacceptable–would you agree to buy a house without knowing how much it costs?!

 

 

  • GEO’s Response
  • We’ve continued to reject their piecemeal proposals on individual non-economic articles. As a part of these rejections, we’ve explained how these proposals don’t meet our needs and why we can’t fully consider them until we see their full comprehensive proposal.

 

  • We need the Administration to WORK WITH US and show us their full comprehensive proposal, which includes economic components!

 

What Comes Next:

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.

The BT and the Administration agreed to meet for our next bargaining session on Tuesday, June 20, 2017, from 9:00am to 12:00pm at the Illinois Fire Service Institute (11 Gerty Drive, Champaign). All members are welcome! Fill out the carpool signup form if you need a ride.

The next BT meeting is on Friday, June 9, 1:00-3:00pm, at the GEO Office. Contact barg@uigeo.org with any questions. All members are welcome!

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.

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 meeting is the best way to address them. You can reach us at barg@uigeo.org. You can also find more info about bargaining our website.

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

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 barg@uigeo.org 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.

Follow GEO Online:

Website: www.uigeo.org

Twitter: @geo_uiuc

Facebook: @uigeo @geosolcomm

Instagram: @geo_uiuc

 

Text the word “GEO” to 69238 to receive periodic messages concerning crucial bargaining 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.

 

 

BARGAINING: Fourth Session Summary May 23, 2017

 

May 23, 2017

Today, the GEO Bargaining Team (BT) and the UIUC Administration held their fourth bargaining session. Thank you to all members who attended! It was standing room only–making a strong statement to the Administration about your commitment. Please read below for more information on what happened today and what comes next.

NEXT BARGAINING SESSION: Tuesday, June 6, 2017, 9:00am-12:00pm, Illinois Fire Service Institute (11 Gerty Drive, Champaign).

 

Key takeaways from today’s session:

  1. The Administration stated an intent to change our tuition waiver protections, but will not say what kind of change they want to make or when they want to make it. We asked them several times to elaborate or explain, and they refused. We told them how alarming this was to us, and they still declined to explain further.

  2. The Administration presented a counter-proposal on non-economic provisions. They are calling this “comprehensive,” but it isn’t. We reiterated the need to see their truly comprehensive proposal, including all economic provisions.

  3. We formally rejected their previous piecemeal proposals for individual articles. These proposals did not meet our needs, nor are we willing to sign them without seeing their full proposal. How could we agree to anything not knowing what’s out there–especially if tuition waivers are under threat?!

  4. We asked questions about their counter-proposal on non-economic provisions and requested more information.

  5. We elaborated on our rationale for our expanded non-discrimination language proposal.  They think the minimum protections under state and federal law are enough. We don’t. We think our members deserve better.


What Comes Next:

Please attend the next bargaining session: we need you!

The Bargaining Team represents you at the table. We look to you for input when we go to break out sessions. The more people 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.

The BT and the Administration agreed to meet for our next bargaining session on Tuesday, June 6, 2017, from 9:00am to 12:00pm at the Illinois Fire Service Institute (11 Gerty Drive, Champaign). We will have a carpool to make sure all members who want to attend can do so. Email barg@uigeo.org if you need a ride.

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.

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 meeting is the best way to address them. You can reach us at barg@uigeo.org. All members are welcome!

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

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 barg@uigeo.org 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.

 

Follow GEO Online:

Twitter: @geo_uiuc

Facebook: @uigeo @geosolcomm

Instagram: @geo_uiuc

 

Text the word “GEO” to 69238 to receive periodic messages concerning crucial bargaining 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.

 

 

One GEO member’s reasons to fight for tuition waivers

From Alia Bellwood, a PhD student and Teaching Assistant in the Department of Communication and GEO Officer-at-Large, on why she joined her union and fights for tuition waivers.

My youngest brother and I chatted last week about aspiring to teach and study in academia. Behind our conversation, something rang in my ears.

I have an offer from my department which ensures that my good standing and progress will be met with employment in school and tuition waiver for 5 years. I could throw up my hands and say “well, fighting for waivers doesn’t effect me!” But it does.

I want to be able to tell my siblings and niece and nephews that graduate school is feasible for our family. I want to show them that graduate students and their work is valued and respected. We are colleagues not revenue sources. I want to say UIUC was a good place to learn and work.

I can’t do that confidently if I don’t push against the trend of charging and overworking grads. What kind of sister and aunt would I be if I advised them into sinkholes of debt they may never get out of?

I chose to push back. I chose to meaningfully support the labor union GEOmy colleagues and I are lucky to have. I fight for tuition waiver protection, healthcare, a livable wage and decent working conditions because this effects the people I love.

It’s about more than me and my current contract.

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April 1st Work-in/Teach-in: “Tuition Waivers Matter!”

Throughout our union’s history, GEO members have consistently fought to protect tuition waivers in the face of repeated attempts by UIUC to diminish them. Tuition waivers are a benefit of employment for graduate employees. Tuition waivers keep graduate and undergraduate education high quality. If only those students who could afford graduate school could attend graduate school, then more qualified candidates might take better offers from other institutions. This impacts the quality of graduate student research, the quality of graduate student courses, and the quality of undergraduate courses taught by graduate students.
Over 1,000 GEO members went on strike on November 16-17, 2009 to win tuition waiver protection in our collective bargaining agreement. Almost immediately (January, 2010) the University took away tuition waivers from incoming graduate employees in the College of Fine and Applied Arts.
In 2011, the GEO won an arbitration regarding changes in tuition waiver policy in Fine and Applied Arts; the arbitrator agreed that the University could not change tuition waivers for graduate employees already at the University. The University owed the FAA students the tuition they had paid. However, the University refused to comply with the arbitrator’s decision until the GEO threatened to strike in 2012. In early 2013, University finally paid FAA graduate students nearly half a millions dollars for tuition they were forced to pay.
TAs and GAs across campus work to make UIUC great! Graduate students cannot be made a source of revenue.
TAs & GAs across campus make UIUC great! The University works because we do!
In 2013, Masters in Computer Science (MCS) students and MA students in Statistics were informed that they could not hold waiver-generating appointments. The two departments agreed to reverse their stance on assistantships after meeting with GEO.
In 2014, incoming MCS students were informed that the Computer Science department would not allow them to hold assistantships in CS and would seek a cash sum as tuition reimbursement for all MCS students who received waiver-generating appointments outside of CS. As a result of this policy change, most MCS students were hired as hourly employees. Hourly employees do the same work as Graduate Assistants and Teaching Assistants, but are not awarded tuition waivers. We went to arbitration in August 2015. On January 26, 2016, the GEO was notified of the arbitrator’s decision. An arbitration is a legally binding decision. In this case, it is possible that affected students could be paid back their tuition by the University. The arbitrator ordered the University and GEO to meet to determine the remedy.
The GEO has been attempting to contact the University’s lawyer, Craig Hoefer, multiple times to schedule a meeting with the University to determine the remedy for the MCS arbitration, as ordered by the arbitrator. FinallyThe GEO and the administration will be meeting on April 1 at 10 am in the Henry Administration Building. We need to show the University that grad students aren’t willing to compromise on tuition waivers. The reimbursable policy threatens grad student employment because a grad student’s home department can ask a graduate student’s employing department to pay their tuition. The arbitrator ruled in our favor in January, stating, “The MCS action upsets the full panoply of assumptions that underlie the University framework of support for graduate students. It reduces the value of the tuition waiver, when it imposes the costs of the tuition waiver on the employing unit, the unit granting the assistantship. The tuition waiver is transformed from the primary form of compensation to a competitive disqualifying cost.” (p. 27). According to the Grad College Handbook, nearly every department is classified such that they can ask for reimbursement; the reimbursement practice is a threat to graduate employment across campus. It must be stopped. 
Bring your work, office hours and classes to the quad!
Bring your work, office hours and classes to the quad!

We need to remind the University that “the University works because we do,” and we need tuition waivers to work. Show up to work or teach in front of the Henry Administration on the Quad side whenever you can between 8:30 and 11am. GEO will have tables and chairs set up, as well as blankets. Coffee will be provided.
We need your help. If you can, attend RSVP to the event on Facebook or email GEO.
The University works because we do.

FAQ: What is an arbitration?

GEOFAQ
As you may have heard, the GEO is holding a rally and asking for signatures on petition in an effort to get the University to meet with us to determine the remedy on a recent arbitration decision.
You may be asking yourself, “What is an arbitration?” “Do they have to comply?” “Can they just take their time?”
Let’s begin by discussing what an arbitration is. The arbitration is the final stage of the grievance process, as described in Article XVIII of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the GEO and the University. In 2014, students in the Masters of Computer Science (MCS) program made the GEO aware that their department was asking departments that employed them to pay their tuition. GEO grieved this as a violation of the tuition waiver side letter attached to the CBA. The University denied the grievance at every level, thus the grievance remained unresolved. The GEO chose to arbitrate because of the importance of tuition waivers to members of the GEO.
MCS students standing strong
MCS students standing strong
When the GEO goes to arbitration, the GEO’s and the University’s lawyers must choose an arbitrator. The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services (FMCS) or the American Arbitration Association (AAA) submits 5 possible arbitrators who are members of the National Academy of Arbitrators. The GEO’s and University’s lawyers each eliminate 2 arbitrators; the remaining arbitrator will serve as arbitrator. The University, the GEO, and the arbitrator then select a date and location for the arbitration; in the case of the MCS arbitration, the arbitration was held in August 2015, a year after the initial grievance was filed, at the iHotel.
In the arbitration, the arbitrator essentially serves as the judge. The lawyers make oral arguments during the arbitration. The arbitrator asks clarifying questions of the lawyers and any witnesses brought forth. The GEO and the University also provide evidence for the arbitrator to consider when making the decision. After the oral arguments, the lawyers submit written briefs stating their case to the arbitrator; the University’s lawyers delayed in submitting the brief and did not submit it until mid-November 2015. After receiving both briefs, the arbitrator determines which party wins and any remedies. An arbitration decision is a legally-binding decision, meaning that the University must comply with it.
In the case of the MCS arbitration, the arbitrator determined on January 26, 2016, that the GEO had won. The arbitrator did not determine the remedy, but instructed the GEO and the University to meet to determine the remedy. That meeting is happening Wednesday, April 1st and we want members and the community to show up outside of Henry Administration building to demonstrate just how much this meeting means to us!
A previous arbitration decision determined that Fine and Applied Arts students were owed money for tuition paid. After that arbitration, the University waited years to comply with the remedy. The remedy was only met when the GEO agreed to sign the CBA in 2012. We cannot let that happen again.
The University works because we do.
Bring your work, office hours and classes to the quad!
Bring your work, office hours and classes to the quad!
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