GEO Stands In Solidarity With Southern Illinois University Graduate Assistants United

The members of the Graduate Employees Organization (GEO), Illinois Federation of Teachers Local 6300, AFL-CIO, stand in solidarity with the members of the Graduate Assistants United and their fellow unions on the Southern Illinois University (SIU) campus as they fight to secure a freeze on fees that have gone up more than $1,000 since 2006 and adequate health care for their members and their members’ families.

Members of the GEO support the Carbondale graduate assistants as they work to find an agreement with the University and consider the need to strike in the face of insufficient bargaining progress. In 2009 the GEO held a successful strike in order to secure tuition waivers, which were a part of the contract that our members were not willing to compromise on.

We also stand in solidarity with the three other unions that are currently in negotiations with the SIU administration (the Association of Civil Service Employees, the Non-Tenure Track Faculty Association, and the Faculty Association). We are particularly concerned that the SIU administration is seeking the authority to lay off tenured professors, at the administration’s sole discretion, for financial reasons.  This bypasses and undermines the tenure system. Many of us will become faculty members in the future and feel strongly that the integrity of our universities and the future of our academic careers are dependent on respecting the tenure system.

We know that labor solidarity in education is necessary to protect the future of accessible and quality public higher education.  As university employees and members of the Illinois Federation of Teachers, we send our support for our fellow education workers in the Graduate Assistants United of the National Education Association.

In solidarity,

The members of the UIUC Graduate Employees Organization