The first day of a two-day work stoppage by graduate employees at the
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was a strong success, as hundreds
of graduate employees cancelled classes and picketed the Quad in an effort
to win democracy and justice. Despite the inclement weather, the GEO kept
a strong presence on the Quad all day. GEO members were joined by faculty
members, undergraduates, University staff, clergy, union members, and
members of the Champaign-Urbana community. Lines of picketers encircled
the targeted buildings, and at the end of the day marched into both the
Henry and Swanlund Administration Buildings, even into the office of Chancellor
Nancy Cantor, who did not take the opportunity to meet the GEO. Between
50 and 100 pickets were on the line at all times during the day.
"The University works because we do, but not today," said GEO
Co-President Uma Pimplaskar. Participation was high in the five Quad buildings
targeted by the GEO. Approximately 10,000 students were affected, both
by graduate employees canceling classes, and by faculty members honoring
GEO picket lines and not teaching their classes. At a 5:00 rally, 100
GEO members and supporters listened in the rain to Prof. Craig Koslofsky
(History), Pastor Steve Shoemaker, Ray Mackey of the American Federation
of Teachers, Jennifer Rudolph, a grad in the Department of Spanish, Italian
and Portuguese, and Kate Bullard, GEO Co-President.
The GEO at UIUC was supported by its companion organization, the GEO
at the University of Illinois-Chicago. More than 20 graduate employees
occupied the office of the Chancellor of UIC from 9:00 to 1:00, demanding
to meet with the Chancellor. The UIC Administration refused to talk to
them. Members of GEO-UIC will be traveling to Champaign-Urbana tomorrow
to join our picket lines and share stories of the Sit-In.
Despite sincere efforts by the GEO, including a 48-hour bargaining table
set up outside Swanlund Administration Building from Monday through Wednesday
morning, the UI Administration has refused to meet with graduate employees
to bargain in good faith over our work.
The GEO will continue its work stoppage tomorrow. Picketing will begin
at 8:00; the GEO strike headquarters will still be on the Quad. A rally
will conclude the work stoppage at 5:00 at the Alma Mater statue at the
corner of Wright and Green. Classes will resume as usual on Friday.
For more information on the 2-day work stoppage, see these links…
Walk Out Overwhelming Success (11/29/2001)
Walk-Out Wrap-Up (12/7/2001)