GEO Officer Election Nominations and Newsletter April 3, 2017

Each year, GEO members elect new officers. All members are able to run for any position, and committee positions can have co-chairs, meaning that there is the option for two people to run together and hold the chair position as a team. These elections will occur at a General Membership Meeting (GMM) in late April. For more information about the committees, see the Committees/Working Groups page on the GEO website and the descriptions below.

Positions up for election:

  • Co-President (2 positions): Lead the Union; serve as a liaison to other committees, supervise GEO staff; chair the Coordinating Committee.
  • Treasurer: Manage GEO’s budget; prepare budget proposals and reports; pay bills.
  • Grievance Officer: Protect our contract; defend the workplace rights of TAs and GAs all over campus; file grievances for discrimination, overwork, tuition waiver reductions, etc.
  • Solidarity Officer: Organize in solidarity with other unions, community organizations, etc; engage in social justice actions for environmentalism, gender and racial justice, etc.
  • Communications Officer: Send out mass emails, manage the website and social media, manage internal communications on listservs, design promotional materials including posters and t-shirts, write press releases, function as a spokesperson for press interviews, etc.
  • Stewards’ Council Chair/Co-Chair*: Includes working with department Stewards to build membership, organize around member issues, facilitate communication about contractual rights, and run issue-based campaigns.
  • Officer at Large (up to 3 positions): Represent the GEO and pick an issue or issues to focus on (e.g. healthcare, international student rights, bargaining, etc).

* Stewards’ Council chair/co-chair will be elected independently by the Stewards’ Council at their committee meeting. All members are still welcome to run.

If you would like to run for one of the following GEO officer positions, please send your name and a short statement about why you want to run to GEO staff at by Friday, April 7th.


Bargaining Team:

The BT and the Administration agreed to meet for our next bargaining session on Monday, April 17, 2017, 12:00-3:00pm. The location is still being confirmed, so please watch for a future email or check our website for updated information closer to the date. For information on carpooling, parking, or bus routes please email

Please attend the next bargaining session because we will be discussing the Administration’s response to our comprehensive proposal and negotiating future meeting locations. 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.  

We asked the Administration to present a comprehensive response to our proposal next time, but they did not confirm whether or not they will have one. A summary of the first bargaining session is posted on our website.

The next BT meeting is on Wednesday, April 5, 5:00-7:00pm, at the GEO office in the McKinley Foundation Sun Room (809 S. Fifth St., Champaign–enter through the Presby Hall doors on Fifth St.). All members are welcome to the meeting. If you have questions about bargaining or the BT’s proposal, attending this meeting is the best way to address them.

More ways to be involved with bargaining:

  • Talk to your GEO department Steward
  • Attend a BT meeting
  • Attend bargaining sessions
  • Talk to your GEO colleagues


Grievance Committee:

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. We meet every Tuesday at 7pm at the GEO Office.


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 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 in the departments of Chemistry, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences and the College of Engineering. Please contact 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, April 11, 5:00-7:00pm, at the GEO Office.


Solidarity Committee (Sol Comm):

Sol Comm is committed to working on issues of social justice and supporting them through various means such as financial endorsements, statements of support, and collaborations. To that end, the Solidarity Committee allows the creation of research groups to efficiently strategize around issues of social justice. Groups such as the Environmental Justice Research Group, the Gender Justice Research Group, and the Anti‐Police Brutality Research Group work on these issues and report to the Solidarity Committee. Please contact the Solidarity Co-Chairs Isis Rose, Daniel Gonzalez, and Efad Huq at

The next meeting is on Friday, April 7, at 6:00pm, 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‐President, Shawn Fields, at with any questions.

The next meeting is on Thursday, April 6, 7:00pm, at the GEO Office.


Communications Committee (Comm Comm):

We’re working hard to message about bargaining and are looking for new members to join our committee. Our meetings are open to all GEO members. The next meeting is on Wednesday, April 12, 6:00-8:00pm, at the GEO Office. Please contact Maria Garth at if you are interested in attending, or with any questions.


See a full schedule of GEO meetings and events here, and contact with any questions.

Wear your GEO shirt or pin on Wednesday for “Wear it Wednesday”!

The Future of Higher Education Funding
On Monday, GEO, NTFC, and CFA are co-sponsoring an event hosted by State Representative Carol Ammons, with Ralph Martire of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability.

Monday, April 3, 5:00-6:30pm, in Lincoln Hall 1022.

“Fighting Through the Law: Immigration Lawyers on their Profession and the Current Crisis””
Discussion with alums Daissy Dominguez and Irakere Picon
Thurs, April 6, 5:00-6:30pm
Location: 1207 W. Oregon, Room 103, Urbana

“Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, Jr. Lecture Series: “Citizenship Trumped: Walls & Sovereignty on the U.S. Mexico Border”
Dr. Miguel Diaz-Barriga & Dr. Margaret Dorsey, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Wed, April 12, 4:00-5:30pm
Location: 319 Gregory Hall

Teach-Out for Illinois Higher Education
Attend the Thursday, April 27 Teach Out and join Illinois Federation of Teachers, UIC United Faculty Local 6456, UPI, and UIC Graduate Employees Organization to demonstrate that you’ve had enough!

IFT, AFT, UPI Local 4100, IFT Local 1600, Community colleges, Jobs with Justice, Immigration Rights groups, working family groups, all are involved. If you’re interested in attending, please email

The AFT Higher Ed Conference on April 28th – 30th in Detroit, MI
The Higher Ed Conference is a great way to learn more about the how higher ed. labor movement across the country, from grad employees, to NTTs, professional staff, and tenure track professors. This year, there will be 4 workshop tracks to follow surrounding the following topics:  sanctuary campus, adjunct equity, free college, and free inquiry. It is also when AGEL elections occur. If you’re interested in attending, please email



University of Michigan Graduate Employees Hold Sit-in over Contract
Source: MLive
Members of the Graduate Employees’ Organization at the University of Michigan held a sit-in over contract on Tuesday, March 28, at the Fleming Administrative Building.

Yale Grad Student Workers Unionize
Source: Inside Higher Ed
Graduate assistants at Yale University successfully voted to unionize. Read more here.

University of Chicago Grad Workers Will Vote on Unionization
Source: Chicago Maroon
A “Unionization 101” event was organized by Graduate Students United, the graduate worker organization fighting for a union at the University of Chicago.



Twitter: @geo_uiuc
Facebook: @uigeo  @geosolcomm
Instagram: @geo_uiuc

Text Updates: 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.