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

 

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

 

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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.

 

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.

 

 

GEO at UIUC Solidarity Statement in Response to UISUF Strike

cropped-banner-for-website.png

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!

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.

Organizing Training: How to talk to your colleagues about labor

GEO got your back

You might not know a lot about the labor union (GEO) which fights for and represents your interests as employees. But, your colleagues might know even less. How do we start those conversations and make the most out of building a community? How do we make sure we have each other’s back?

Where: English Building Rm 259

THIS Wednesday at 5:30pm

Led by the very experienced and charming Silas (pictured above).

TBT to Salaita Protests 1 Year Ago

 

TBT 1 year ago. Salaita has still not been reinstated.
TBT 1 year ago. Salaita has still not been reinstated.

TBT to 1 year ago when the University of Illinois community was rocked by the Urbana-Champaign administration’s decision to withdraw a tenure-track offer to Dr. Steven Salaita. The administration justified this unprecedented refusal to approve the American Indian Studies’ hire by claiming that Salaita’s private twitter account expressed “uncivil” sentiments regarding the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians. Dr. Salaita accepted the position in October of 2013 but was notified of the administration’s decision on August 1st of 2014, the same month in which he was slated to begin teaching.

TBT 1 year ago: GEO distrubuted these buttons to support Salaita
TBT 1 year ago: GEO distrubuted these buttons to support Salaita

We and many others in the UIUC community protested the university’s policing of political speech and complete disregard for the principles of shared governance, academic freedom, and due process. The university now suffers a growing academic boycott and a formal censure of UIUC by the American Association of University Professors. Amidst the recent email scandal and resignation of Chancellor Wise, let’s not forget that the battle for academic freedom, shared governance and due process at UIUC is not over. Dr. Salaita has still not been reinstated and UIUC professors, especially those in the American Indian Studies program, continue to suffer in this chilling environment.

TBT 1 year ago: Our strength is in our collective presence.
TBT 1 year ago: Our strength is in our collective presence.


GEO proudly took part in the protests last year and continues to support efforts that can help right the wrongs of 1 year ago.

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TBT to Unfinished Chapter: The 1992 Protest for Student and Faculty Equality and Access

This #TBT is to an important but unfinished chapter in University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s history. We continue to fight for fair distribution of resources and socially conscious policies that increase higher education access for African American and Latina/o students, faculty and employees.

La Casa Cultural Latina was established in 1974 but in 1992 Latina/o representation among students and faculty greatly lagged behind the 11% Latina/o Illinois population. Additionally, the administration was unwilling to set aside any resources for a Latina/o Studies Program. Undergraduate and graduate students appealed repeatedly to the administration to no avail. With no other options, 150 students occupied Henry Administration Building on May 5th, 1992.

Here is a documentary of the 1992 Protest. Short on time? Begin at 14 minute mark.

Students reported police’s “brutal treatment” and use of stun guns, pressure points and billy clubs. The “unnecessary and excessive force” at this entirely peaceful occupation in protest of University policies. The protest was a peaceful assertion that Latina/o concerns could no longer be brushed aside but resulted in 3 student arrests. They were held overnight.

Police carry MariCarmen Moreno from the building
Police carry MariCarmen Moreno from the building

The IMC reported in 2002 that nearly 10 years after the protest, most of the 13 demands had not yet been met.

Some of the demands included:

  1. Increased Recruitment in Latina/o Communities & Retention
  2. Increased Recruitment & Retention of Latina/o Faculty and Administration
  3. Removal of Chief Illiniwek
  4. Establishment of & Resources for Latina/o Studies Program

Today, we know that recruitment and retention of Black and Brown students still lags behind and resources are not being promised to increase efforts.

The “1992 protest” took place prior to the University’s graduate employee’s most recent labor organization (GEO, established and affiliated with AFT, IFT and AFL-CIO by 1995). Yet, this is the history of a struggle GEO is still invested in today. We stand alongside student groups who fight for equitable resources, representation, and access to the university itself. Racist and classist recruitment strategies, as seen at the University of late, further marginalize African American and Latina/o communities, resulting in a student body that is not representative of the Illinois or the nation as a whole.

For more about efforts Latina/o social justice efforts in 2002. & Chicago Tribune on May 6th, 1992

For more about the current student body demographics.

To compare UIUC demographics to US Census Reports. 

When we compare UIUC student body demographics to census data from Illinois and the entire U.S., we must ask ourselves, each other and especially the University whether enough is being done to close the gap. We think not.

 

Rauner is Wrong for Illinois Rally

The republican gubernatorial candidate, Bruce Rauner, delivered the keynote address at the Champaign County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Celebration on May 10th.  Outside, the GEO, along with a number of other unions and community groups, protested his strongly anti-union policies.

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Rauner, a private equity manager who is personally contributing large sums of money to his campaign,  has frequently spoken in support of “Right to Work” labor policies, and has pointed to Wisconsin governor, Scott Walker, as a role model.  He is strongly against public sector unions, and strives to erode labor rights in Illinois.