Champaign County Living Wage Association Issues Statement In Support of GEO

November 21, 2001
The Graduate Employees Organization (GEO), which is a member of the Living Wage Association of Champaign County, is planning a work stoppage later in the semester. The EGO received the support of a super-majority in its card drive among the U of I’s graduate employees and over 60% of their votes in an election. It received 77% of the votes in a poll of both undergraduate and graduate students. The elected leaders of the undergraduate students’ association have declared their support of the GEO’s struggle to achieve recognition from the administration. The Union of Professional Employees , an organization of faculty and academic professionals, has called upon the administration to recognize the GEO. Because of the administration’s resistance to the GEO, a bill to specifically include graduate employees in the Illinois Education Labor Relations Act was passed by the Illinois House in Springfield but died with the spring adjournment in the Senate. Blocked by the administration’s refusal to negotiate, the GEO has tried a number of tactics to gain recognition, including numerous demonstrations and work-ins on the Quad. Despite all of GEO’s internal and external support within the university community, the administration of the University of Illinois continues to stonewall and refuse to recognize the GEO as a legitimate bargaining agent. The administration has thus left the GEO with no other option than a work stoppage. The Living Wage Association is proud to have the GEO as one of its members and to support its action in this regrettable circumstance.