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.

 

GEO at UIUC Solidarity Statement in Response to Gazipur Boiler Explosion

 

July 10, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Urbana-Champaign (July 10, 2017): At least 13 Bangladeshi garments workers died and several have been injured on July 3, 2017 when an expired boiler exploded and the building partially collapsed at the non-unionized Multifabs Ltd. apparel factory in Gazipur, Dhaka. We, the Graduate Employees Organization at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign IFT/AFT Local 6300 AFL-CIO, are extending our condolences to the families of workers who died and our support for the injured and their families.

The boiler explosion makes evident that since the 2013 Rana Plaza collapse, arguably the world’s largest industrial disaster, workplace safety hasn’t been secured for the majority of garments workers in Bangladesh. The exploded boiler at Multifabs Ltd. expired last month on June 24. Disregarding the expiration date, factory authorities asked workers to resume normal operation of the boiler on the day of the explosion. Alongside factory owners, the Bangladeshi government is complicit in boiler-related deaths and injuries. For the over 5,500 approved boilers across the country, the Office of the Chief Inspector of Boiler runs with only 5 inspectors. Boiler-related worker deaths are therefore murders by negligence. In a mockery of accountability procedures, the police are suing three dead boiler operators of Multifabs Ltd. over the boiler explosion.

In solidarity with Bangladeshi garments workers, we echo their demands. We demand that the police drop the charges on workers. We demand that all responsible parties—factory authorities and government officials—are held accountable for Multifabs Ltd. boiler explosion. We demand that all brands manufacturing garments at Multifabs Ltd., factory owners, and the Bangladeshi government ensure that complete medical support is provided without cost to workers, and full and fair compensations are paid based on total loss of earning to the families of the workers who died in the explosion as well as to the injured workers. We demand that holistic steps are taken to improve safety in the Bangladeshi garments industry. 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.

 

The Graduate Employees’ Organization, AFT/IFT Local 6300, AFL-CIO, The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, represents approximately 2,700 Teaching and Graduate Assistants on the UIUC Campus. In November 2009, over 1,000 GEO members successfully went on strike to secure a fair contract and more accessible UIUC. With an active presence in the community, the GEO continues to work for high-quality and accessible public education in Illinois.

 

More information can also be found on GEO’s website at www.uigeo.org.

 

Twitter: @geo_uiuc
Facebook: @uigeo
@geosolcomm
Instagram: @geo_uiuc

 

###

 

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

 

————–

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

————–

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.

 

————–

 

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.

 

————–

 

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.

 

————–

 

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.

 

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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

 

The Importance of Organizing as a Graduate Student: A GEO Informational Event on June 14th

 

The Importance of Organizing as a Graduate Student: A GEO Informational Event

Wednesday, June 14th, 12:00pm

Roger Adams Laboratory (RAL) 116

Graduate students who work as Teaching Assistants (TAs) and Graduate Assistants (GAs) have minimum wages set, rights protected, and more, through the contract that GEO has negotiated with the University–and is bargaining to improve now! GEO’s contract also sets the standards for the contracts offered to Research Assistants (RAs), but since RAs aren’t protected by a broader contract they often face much more variable treatment by the University, their programs, and their individual advisors. This event will teach you how organizing–both within and outside of forming a contract with the university–helps to create better working conditions and raise the standard of living for all graduate students; how the GEO contract benefits you when you’re working as a TA/GA and as an RA, the current bargaining process, and how RAs can start organizing to make things better for themselves. Here is the Facebook invitation to the event.

This event is designed for STEM graduate students who primarily work as RAs and may not know much about GEO. As always, however, all are welcome to attend. Food and drink will be provided.

Contact Zoe MacDowell Kaswan at officer3@uigeo.org with any questions about the event.

GEO at UIUC Solidarity Statement in Response to UISUF Strike

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

04 May 2017

GEO at UIUC Solidarity Statement in Response to UISUF Strike

Urbana-Champaign (May 4, 2017): The Graduate Employees’ Organization Local 6300 IFT/AFT at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign stands firmly in solidarity with our comrades in University of Illinois Springfield United Faculty (UISUF) as they go on strike for a fair labor contract that ensures reappointment, tenure, and promotion language. Like many labor organizations over the years, UISUF union members reached their breaking point over their employer’s lack of fairness and integrity throughout the bargaining process. Therefore, UISUF will continue the historical trend of advancing their working conditions outside of the bargaining room by organizing members, withholding their labor, and promoting solidarity across the local, state, and federal sector. GEO UIUC recognizes the special significance of UISUF’s disruption of campus production given the current anti-labor federal and state structure we live in. UISUF members’ brave actions this week mark the third major work stoppage across three University of Illinois campuses in four years, not by coincidence, but by an intentional assault on working people in one of the strongest labor states in the nation. Our solidarity and willingness to engage in militant action not only shifts the balance of power at the bargaining table, but also sends a strong message to all owners, employers, and administrations that workers will not tolerate bad-faith bargaining or negligence towards our material and social conditions. GEO UIUC calls on all labor unions and community organizations to send support and resources to our UISUF comrades as they strike for their fair contract and strengthen worker solidarity! Our liberation is at stake.

We encourage everyone to please take a moment to sign this petition supporting the striking faculty at UISUF: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/fair-contract-for-the-2?source=c.tw&r_by=11048372

The Graduate Employees’ Organization, AFT/IFT Local 6300, AFL-CIO, The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, represents approximately 2,700 Teaching and Graduate Assistants on the UIUC Campus. In November 2009, over 1,000 GEO members successfully went on strike to secure a fair contract and more accessible UIUC. With an active presence in the community, the GEO continues to work for high-quality and accessible public education in Illinois.

For more information, please contact Maria Garth, GEO Communications Officer, at commcomm@uigeo.org.

Long Live the Power to the Worker,

Graduate Employees’ Organization
Local 6300 IFT/AFT, AFL-CIO
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Website: www.uigeo.org
Twitter: @geo_uiuc
Facebook: @uigeo
@geosolcomm
Instagram: @geo_uiuc

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Call and email the following campus and University administrators and tell them:

“I support UIS United Faculty Professors. I want them to have a fair contract. Please return to the bargaining table and bargain in good faith.”

UIS Chancellor, Susan Koch

Phone: (217) 206-6634
Email: Koch@uis.edu
Twitter: @ChancellorKoch

UIS Interim Provost, Jim Ermatinger

Phone: (217) 206-6614

Email: jerma2@uis.edu

U of I President, Timothy Killeen

Phone: (217) 333-3070

Email: PresidentKilleen@uillinois.edu

In addition, you can support by in the following ways:

  • Post messages of support on Facebook and Twitter. Use the hashtag #UISContractNow.
  • If you can join the picket lines, it would be appreciated! UIS is located at One University Plaza, Springfield, IL 62703. (Parking is free on campus lots in visitor spaces.) Picketing will begin each day at 9 a.m. in the center of campus at the Colonnade. A daily rally will be held at the Colonnade at 4:30 p.m.

May Day Rally A Success!

May Day Rally Flag Photo

 

Thank you to our allies, supporters, and everyone who attended today’s May Day rally for International Workers’ Day and celebrated GEO’s 20th anniversary with us.

May Day Speech 2

GEO member Gus Wood gave a rousing speech about May Day, which you can read here: “Comrade Workers.” The speech from last year’s May Day can be found here.

 

May Day Speech 1

 

As we described in our birthday announcement, we plan to carry this collaborative momentum and solidarity forward, and will continue fighting for rights and social justice!

May Day Speech 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May Day 2017 crowd

UIUC GEO COMMEMORATES 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF FIRST UNION ELECTION WITH NOON MAY DAY RALLY ON CAMPUS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: UIUC GEO COMMEMORATES 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF FIRST UNION ELECTION WITH NOON MAY DAY RALLY ON CAMPUS

Urbana-Champaign (May 1, 2017): The Graduate Employees Organization (GEO) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, AFT/IFT Local 6300, is celebrating its 20th birthday on May 1, 2017. After several years of collective organizing, UIUC graduate employees voted to establish GEO as their official union representative in the spring of 1997. The University of Illinois refused to recognize the results of the election but years of organizing and civil disobedience, alongside a legal battle, culminated in an occupation of Swanlund Administration Building in 2002 and subsequent negotiations with University officials. The first contract was signed in 2003.

Since then, GEO has bargained three additional contracts, secured tuition waiver protections, won improved wages and more affordable healthcare, established a grievance procedure to protect graduate employee rights, and much more. In GEO’s official twenty-year history, it has become famous among labor organizations nationwide for its strength and commitment to democratic principles, and a 2009 strike that brought more than 1,000 people to campus picket lines.

“Regardless of our changing membership, intense repression by the Administration, and federal, state, and local policies that curtail union power, the GEO has always and will continue to sustain a powerful rank-and-file membership through a democratic structure with the material and social interests of our membership as our sole organizing force,” said GEO member Gus Wood.

GEO will celebrate its birthday as a part of the May Day (International Workers’ Day) festivities it is planning for Monday in tandem with other campus and national labor unions and organizations. All community members are invited to a rally at Anniversary Plaza on UIUC’s north quad from 12:00 to 2:00pm, to celebrate workers’ contributions to society and reaffirm their commitment to fighting for labor and immigrant rights. There will be speakers from GEO, NTFC, SEIU, AFSCME, IWW, and a number of other organizations.

The Graduate Employees’ Organization, AFT/IFT Local 6300, AFL-CIO, The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, represents approximately 2,700 Teaching and Graduate Assistants on the UIUC Campus. In November 2009, over 1,000 GEO members successfully went on strike to secure a fair contract and more accessible UIUC. With an active presence in the community, the GEO continues to work for high-quality and accessible public education in Illinois.

For more information, please contact Maria Garth, at commcomm@uigeo.org. More information can also be found on GEO’s website at www.uigeo.org.

Twitter: @geo_uiuc
Facebook: @uigeo
@geosolcomm
Instagram: @geo_uiuc

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May Day Rally!

May Day Rally flyer

Monday, May 1st, is International Workers’ Day. Join us at the May Day rally to celebrate campus labor and social justice, and GEO’s birthday! Workers from several campus and community labor unions, including GEO, will speak at the rally on Monday, May 1, 12:00pm, at Anniversary Plaza (near the Main Quad).

 

Here is the Facebook event link for the May Day Rally.