The GEO will be holding its first strike authorization vote from November 4-6. Our strike authorization vote will begin at a General Membership Meeting on November 4th at 5:30 pm in the University YMCA, 1001 S. Wright Street, Champaign – all GEO members are welcome to attend the meeting and vote.
Direct action, including rallies, work-ins, and publicity campaigns put substantial pressure on the administration, and we have been working hard to avoid a strike. Hundreds of GEO members have participated in three major rallies, and GEO members have also lobbied the Illinois House of Representatives Higher Education Appropriations Committee, spoken with state legislators from Champaign, secured a resolution of support from the Illinois Student Senate, talked to the Governor about the GEO and campus labor in front of state TV press, and maintained a constant presence in Champaign print, radio and television media. GEO members were present at the annual meeting between UIUC faculty and top administrators, and GEO members and faculty asked pointed questions about the GEO to interim President Ikenberry, President White, Chancellor Herman, and the interim Provost. GEO members have personally provided information to thousands of campus community members at an informational table that’s been on the quad every weekday since October 12.
The decision to hold a strike vote was made because while these actions have been instrumental to bargaining, the most effective means of effecting movement at the bargaining table has clearly been the GEO’s public movement toward the possibility of a strike. The GEO is seeking a contract that will set the minimum salary for a 50% nine month appointment at the University’s own estimate of a living wage, guarantee tuition waivers to TAs and GAs, and improve our health and child care. While the GEO was prepared with a contract proposal on the first day of bargaining in April, the administration didn’t respond until August 11th. The original administration proposal offered a contract that would freeze GEO wages for three years, reserve the right to furlough and layoff graduate employees in good standing and to count “in-kind” compensation such as housing or meal vouchers toward our salaries.
The GEO is a local member (6300) of the Illinois Federation of Teachers/American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO. The GEO is an entirely democratic, member run organization – the decision to call the strike authorization vote was made by the Coordinating Committee, which consists of nine officers elected by the GEO membership, and the Steward’s Council, an organizing body open to any GEO member. Fundamentally, the GEO needs member participation and feedback in the decision as to whether or not to authorize a strike.