BARGAINING, Announcements, Events, and Updates May 15, 2017

Table of Contents:

    • Fourth Bargaining Session
      • Ways to be Involved with Bargaining
      • Call for Testimonials
    • Healthcare Update
    • Wear It Wednesday
    • Healthcare Town Hall
    • Grievance Committee
    • Stewards’ Council
    • Communications Committee
    • Solidarity Committee
    • Coordinating Committee
    • Health Care Working Group



Fourth Bargaining Session

GEO’s fourth bargaining session with the UIUC administration will be on Tuesday, May 23, 9:00am-12:00pm, at the Illinois Fire Service Institute (11 Gerty Dr, Champaign, IL). All members are welcome! Refreshments will be provided for members in attendance.

The Administration still hasn’t shown us their comprehensive proposal, even though we presented our comprehensive proposal to them at the first bargaining session in March. By bringing members out in force to our next session, we can help put more pressure on them to quit stalling and give us a comprehensive proposal. The few things they have proposed they have given us would harm employees: they have so far ignored our attempts to expand our non-discrimination clause, and gave us a proposal to remove deadlines from appointment letters, because they have difficulty complying with them! On Friday, May 12, we flyered at Swanlund and other central campus buildings to call on the UIUC Admin to “work with us”!

This is why we need you! Come to the bargaining session to see how the Administration responds to us.

Directions and Travel Information to Fire Service Institute (FSI):

  • Carpool: the Bargaining Team has organized a carpool for members. If want to attend and need a ride, please email Carpools will travel between the GEO Office and FSI. Please let us know a few days in advance if you’d like a ride.
  • Parking: it is free to park in the designated visitor section of the FSI lot.
  • Bike: there are at least two bike racks available in front of the FSI main building.
  • Bus: the bus line is 1 Yellow and drops off in front of the Water Survey building.

Here’s a link to the Facebook event for the fourth bargaining session.

If you can’t make it to the bargaining session, you can still keep up with bargaining updates by attending GEO committee meetings and general membership meetings, following GEO on social media, and reading GEO emails.

Here are summaries of our third (May 2), second (April 17), and first (March 30) bargaining sessions.

Join the Bargaining Team at their next meeting on Wednesday, May 17, 3:00-5:00pm, at the GEO Office. All members are welcome!

See the GEO event calendar for future Bargaining Team meetings, bargaining sessions, and other events. Add it to your Google calendar by searching for Bargaining Team meetings and bargaining sessions are open to all members. Please contact the Bargaining Team ( with any questions.

Call for Testimonials

One powerful tool in bargaining is member stories, and we want to hear from you! If you have a story related to our contract, email to share it with the Bargaining Team.

Our pillars of bargaining are protecting tuition waivers, raising wages and eliminating fees, ensuring quality healthcare, and promoting access and equality, which includes creating childcare support, strengthening our nondiscrimination statement, and expanding parental, bereavement, and visa/immigration leave. If you have an experience to share about these (or other!) issues, please consider coming to the bargaining sessions and voicing it. If you do not feel comfortable speaking in the session, that is OK too. With your permission, someone else can read your written statement without mentioning you as the author. You can indicate to the Bargaining Team how you want your story shared.

Healthcare Update

Beginning May 13th, the University begins its Summer insurance plan which continues healthcare coverage from the Spring. McKinley spring service ends May 27th. Depending on your enrollment and funding status, insurance options may vary. The Summer Health Coverage for Graduate Students page provides a rundown of various graduate statuses and health care options associated with them. If you are a waiver generating employee and you do not register for classes, to continue health insurance you must sign up. The deadline for this extension is June 2, 2017.

If you are taking courses over the summer you must either purchase an extension or opt out with proof of insurance coverage. For more information on the health care requirements review the Graduate College’s FAQ, visit the Office of Student Health Insurance or contact

If you are worried about the continuing coverage provision of the new AHCA healthcare bill, you may consider another option. If you do not want or cannot afford summer coverage, a local organization called Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) can help you sign up for Medicaid. Medicaid is much cheaper (no monthly premium and reduced out of pocket expenses) and CCHCC actually argues it’s better coverage than what we get through the university!

For more information about the GEO’s Health Care Working Group see below.





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”! Take a photo and post it with the tag #WearItWednesday to share with us on Instagram or Twitter.

Healthcare Town Hall

Do you have questions about healthcare? GEO is ready to answer them! Come to our town hall meeting on University health care coverage for graduate students, July 19th, 4-6 pm, at the Asian American Cultural Center Lounge (1210 W Nevada St., Urbana, IL 61801). Free food will be provided! Here is the link to the Facebook event.




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 who are planning to stay in Champaign-Urbana over the summer. 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, May 23, 5:00-7:00pm, at the GEO office.

Communications Committee (Comm Comm):

We’re looking for new members to join our committee! Our meetings are open to all GEO members and no prior experience with communications is necessary. Please contact Communications Committee at if you have questions about the meeting. All members are welcome! The next meeting is on Wednesday, May 24, 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 Committee at regarding summer meeting times.

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 Coordinating Committee at with any questions about the meeting. The next CC meeting is on Thursday, May 25, 5:00-7:00pm, at the GEO office.

Health Care Working Group (HCWG):

The Health Care Working Group works to educate graduate employees on their healthcare rights and benefits, as well as facilitating conversations about healthcare on campus between different stakeholder groups. For more information about meeting times and other information, please contact



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