RALLY TO SUPPORT THE BARGAINING TEAM’S STRUGGLE TO ENSURE ACCESS TO CONTRACT PROTECTIONS FOR ALL BARGAINING UNIT MEMBERS:
LEVIS FACULTY CENTER, 8:45 AM, THURSDAY, AUGUST 16, 2012: BARGAINING SESSION STARTS AT 9:00
Yesterday, the GEO bargaining team proposed two tentative agreements (TAs): the first on accommodations for nursing mothers (to help bring University units in compliance with state law); the second on improving our grievance procedure by better protecting grad employees who are subject to discrimination or harassment at the hands of their immediate supervisor.
These TA proposals were almost identical to language that the administration proposed just last week.* The admin team has consistently objected to our proposals for basic accommodations and support for working parents, so our bargaining team attempted to achieve movement at the bargaining table by proposing TAs on other issues that both the GEO and the admin basically agree on. But today, the administration team refused to sign mutually agreeable language on nursing mothers and grievances unless the GEO entirely drops our proposal for a Child Care Subsidy to support graduate employee parents.
The administration is stalling negotiations by putting a price tag on basic rights of access and protection for parents, women, and minority employees in the bargaining unit.
At the next bargaining session on August 16, our Bargaining Team will demand the administration respond to our specific proposals and push for historic contract language that would significantly increase recognition and access for LGBTQ persons and relationships, protect international and immigrant graduate employees, and work toward a safe and accessible workplace for queer, graduate students of color, and working parents in our bargaining unit.
The GEO Access and Equality Caucus will be staging a major rally in support of the Bargaining Team on August 16 at 8:45 am outside the Levis Faculty Center. The more of us GEO members that attend the rally, the more we will show the admin bargaining team that our union is serious about demanding a just contract for all members of the bargaining unit.
All GEO members are encouraged to attend the bargaining session immediately following the rally: let’s pack the room!
Our last round of contract negotiations ended in one of only five strikes involving at least 1,000 workers in the United States in 2009 partly because the administration team refused to respond to specific GEO proposals unless our team agreed to blanket “package deals” that would have forced the union to give up major concessions while receiving almost nothing in return.
Let’s demand an end to these 2009 stall tactics on August 16!
*GEO members: see the GEO-L today (8/3) for more information on the bargaining team’s proposed TA language
The 1,750 graduate employees, represented by Graduate Assistants United (GAU), at Southern Illinois University Carbondale have now been working without a contract for more than 480 days. They are joined by tenured and tenure-track, civil service employees and non-tenured faculty – together making up 3,500 unionized employees on the SIUC campus.
This past Monday members of GAU voted to set a strike deadline. If no agreement has been reached by 12:01 AM November 3rd, union members will walk off the job, commencing one of the largest higher education strikes in history.
Their demands are simple: a contract that guarantees quality, affordable health care to graduate employees, the option to buy coverage for spouses and children, and an end to skyrocketing fees, which have doubled over the past 5 years. Faculty are fighting to preserve tenure (the administration wants the right to lay offtenured faculty due to financial reasons) and civil service employees and those non-tenured faculty are fighting layoffs and furloughs.
It’s not too late to help our fellow graduate employees in Southern Illinois. You can email or call the SIUC administration to settle these contracts today! Help keep grads and faculty in the classrooms and offices and off the picket lines!
Ms. Misty Whittington
Executive Secretary of the Board
Office of the Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees
After the jump are .png versions of our SEIU solidarity signs – options for students, campus labor, grad employees, general, and more!
IMPORTANT UPDATE: The solidarity vigil will temporarily be relocated to the *Illini Union* from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm tomorrow (Thursday, February 24).
9 a.m.- 2 p.m. Illini Union: Solidarity Teach-In, Grade-In, Meet-In, Drink-Coffee-In
Show your solidarity with workers in Madison and throughout the Midwest.
12 noon – 12:50 p.m. Publics, Unions, Movements: discussion with Monica Bielski Boris of the Labor Education Program
University YMCA, 1001 S. Wright St., Champaign, Lower Level
(SEIU supporters can head for FAR/PAR before the 1pm picket).
Join YMCA vigil participants and community members for a discussion on the legal, social and regional dimensions of unions and union building. Have questions about collective bargaining, public resources, or solidarity tools—-then this is the place for you and your allies. Professor Monica Bielski Boris (http://www.ler.illinois.edu/faculty/fp_bielski.html), from the School of Labor and Employment Relations, will introduce a series of topics and questions, including…
* What are public sector unions? How and why do they differ from state to state?
* What competing myths and realities are at work in labor and opposition movements ?
* How are organizing tactics nurtured and altered?
* What types of political strategies are either at work or stifled in the Midwest?
* What is the state of labor and social movement education on our campus and in our communities?
1-2 p.m. SEIU Picket at the FAR (Florida Avenue Residence Hall)
On College Court near the intersection of Lincoln and Florida Residence Hall —support SEIU in their contract struggle, practice your chanting, and support workers’ rights right here in Champaign-Urbana
7 p.m., Patricio Guzman’s sterling, epic documentary The Battle of Chile, parts 1 (“The Insurrection of the Bourgeoisie”, 96 minutes) and 2 (“The Coup D’Etat”, 88 minutes)
Covering workers, politics in Chile, and events leading to the coup of Salvator Allende in 1973. We will have the opportunity to think about workers’ protests in an international context, both historically and in our present moment.
UC UNITED RALLY FOR AN ACCESSIBLE, DIVERSE, AND DEMOCRATIC UIUC: March 4, 2010 – assemble at Alma Mater at noon, march at 12:15, rally in front of Swanlund 12:30-12:50. Electronic versions of flyers and posters can be downloaded here. RSVP here, and see the event website here. A copy of the UC United Press release announcing the rally is available here. Read the “budget myths and facts” sheet after the jump.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: GRADUATE EMPLOYEES’ ORGANIZATION SAYS TUITION INCREASES ARE “NEITHER NECESSARY NOR APPROPRIATE” TO ADDRESS UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS BUDGET SHORTFALL
New fact sheet shows graduate employees generate surplus cash for University of Illinois
URBANA-CHAMPAIGN (March 3): Promoting world-class public education at the University of Illinois does not require a tuition increase, the University of Illinois graduate employees union said today – but it does require transparency about the school’s budget.
“We applaud Interim President Stanley Ikenberry’s March 2nd statements to the Champaign News-Gazette that the U of I will look to cut from administrative programs in response to the current state budget shortfall,” said Peter Campbell, communications officer for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) Graduate Employees’ Organization (GEO). “However, the facts show that a tuition increase is neither necessary nor appropriate. The UI administration has failed to explain why money from reserves, the UI Foundation, and cutting from the top will not be enough to address the shortfall.”
In a statement released today, the GEO calls on the UI administration to work transparently and creatively with workers, students and faculty to respond to state budget shortfalls in a manner that does not place the primary burden on workers and students.
The statement, “University of Illinois Budget Myths and Facts,” responds directly to administration budget claims that the GEO feels are questionable.
“Ikenberry’s statements signal a privatized U of I that is accessible only to the wealthy,” said Campbell. “Investing in the university’s workers and students is the best way to build an accessible, diverse and quality educational future for us all.”
Because Illinois citizens, students and low paid workers are suffering the most from the current economy, “it doesn’t make sense for the state to pull out of funding for higher education, and for the University to hike tuition and fees,” said Mukta Tripathy, GEO Officer-at-Large.
The GEO and the newly formed UC United coalition call for a tuition and fee freeze, an end to layoffs and furloughs of workers and faculty, a democratic campus with shared governance in policy decisions, the recruitment and retention of a diverse campus population of workers, students, and faculty that is truly representative of the State of Illinois, and transparency about the UI budget. The UC United Coalition also calls for progressive state and federal funding for all levels of public education.
The Graduate Employees’ Organization, AFT/IFT Local 6300, AFL-CIO, The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, represents approximately 2700 Teaching and Graduate Assistants on the UIUC Campus. On March 4th, the GEO will join the “UC United” coalition of students, workers, and faculty in Urbana-Champaign will hold a major rally as part of the March 4th National Day of Action to Defend Public Education.
For more information, please contact Peter Campbell, GEO Communications Officer, at 253-222-5861 or email@example.com. More information can also be found on our website at uigeo.org.
Read the fact sheet after the jump:
RALLY: March 4, 2010 – assemble at Alma Mater at noon, march at 12:15, rally in front of Swanlund 12:30-12:50. Electronic versions of flyers and posters can be downloaded here. RSVP here, and see the event website here. A copy of the UC United Press release announcing the rally is available on this post after the jump.
Please join us for the UC United Coalition’s March 4th Rally for the Future of an Accessible, Diverse, and Democratic UIUC. The UIUC rally will be part of the March 4th National Day of Action to Defend Public Education (read the national calls). The GEO has officially endorsed the March 4th Day of Action, and we call on all GEO members to participate.
The UC United Coalition, which includes the GEO, the Campus Labor Coalition, the Campus Faculty Association, the Undergraduate-Graduate Alliance, La Colectiva, and the Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, demands a UIUC truly committed to access, diversity, democracy, and quality, and that the U of I administration stop pushing the burden of the budget shortfall down to workers and students.
While we worked incredibly hard last semester to win a contract that is already working to protect our members through the grievance process, the University administration is still moving toward a privatized future for UIUC that includes fewer graduate employees, larger class sizes, and less flexibility for graduate appointments. Campus units and departments are being forced to plan for drastic cuts that will significantly impact graduate employees, despite the fact that an independent audit from the American Association of University Professionals claims that the U of I financial situation is “strong,” and that these measures are in no way required by the current shortfall in state funding. Download a flyer summarizing the audit here.
We know more than anyone on campus that only through direct action can we continue to take back control of the direction of our University. Many of the members of the UC United Coalition walked with us on the lines – now their jobs and livelihoods are being threatened by irresponsible and non-transparent decisions by the UI administration – so let’s walk with them!
We worked long and hard to win an historic contract. Now let’s build on those gains – starting on March 4th!
UC United press release announcing the rally:
Unionization is strongly associated with increases in overall compensation, measured here by hourly wages and health and pension benefit coverage. In the typical state, unionization is associated with about a 15 percent increase in hourly wages (roughly $2.50 per hour), a 19-percentage-point increase in the likelihood of having employer-provided health insurance, and a 24-percentage-point increase in the likelihood of having employer-sponsored retirement plans.
To download the complete report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), click here.