***August 15, 2017 — Our contract expired today!***
Table of Contents:
- CONTRACT EXPIRATION
- Tenth Bargaining Session on August 15th
- Ways to be Involved with Bargaining
- Call for Testimonials
- Press Release for Contract Expiration and Rally for a Fair Contract on August 16th
- Rally for a Fair Contract on August 16th
- Wear It Wednesday
- Work-In Wednesday
- Coffee Cart
- CONNECT WITH GEO
A Message From the GEO Bargaining Team: Our Contract Expires Today–What Does That Mean For You?
The GEO has been bargaining with the administration since March, working hard to secure a new, more equitable contract based on the four pillars our membership voted on last spring: Tuition and Fee Waivers, Healthcare, Wages, and Access and Equality.
Because we are still negotiating with the Administration, we are entering the fall semester without a new contract. However, the expired contract includes a clause stating that it will remain in effect during negotiations, so you can go to work as you normally would.
GEO is committed to winning a better contract for all our members, but our power is directly determined by our membership. We won our first major victory a few weeks ago by expanding our non-discrimination clause to include ethnicity, gender expression, visa and immigration status, and arrest record as protected categories. We were only able to achieve this because members organized around this issue, and came to bargaining sessions to show their support –and there’s a lot of work still to be done! If you haven’t been involved with GEO in the past, now is the perfect time to join a committee, become a Steward for your department, or come to a bargaining session. Together, let’s win our best contract yet!
Read on for information about our Rally for a Fair Contract on Wednesday, August 16th.
Here’s some information that our Bargaining Team research group compiled on the surprising state of university finances: Setting the Record Straight on University Finances.
Tenth Bargaining Session
GEO’s 10th bargaining session with the UIUC Administration will be on Tuesday, August 15, 9:00am-12:00pm, at the Illinois Fire Service Institute (11 Gerty Dr, Champaign, IL). All members are welcome! Refreshments will be provided.
Come to the bargaining session to help us fight for a contract that protects our rights as workers!
Directions and Travel Information to the Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI):
Take Neal Street to Gerty Drive, turn by the Credit Union, and go to the end of Gerty Drive (past the stop sign). The Illinois Fire Service Institute will be on your left.
- Carpool: the Bargaining Team has organized a carpool for members. If want to attend and need a ride, please fill out the carpool signup form on our website. Carpools will travel between the GEO Office and IFSI. 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 IFSI lot.
- Bike: there are at least two bike racks available in front of the IFSI main building.
- Bus: the bus line is 1 South Yellow to Water Survey and the stop is the Water Survey building. Be sure your bus is labeled Water Survey, not Lot E-14 or Savoy Wal-Mart.
Here’s a link to the Facebook event for the tenth 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.
You can also find more information about bargaining on our website.
More Ways to be Involved with Bargaining:
- Talk to your GEO department Steward
- Attend a Bargaining Team meeting
- Attend bargaining sessions
- Talk to your GEO colleagues
If you have questions about bargaining or the BT’s proposal, attending a BT meeting is the best way to address them. To find out about future meeting times, check the GEO events calendar or contact us at email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 immigration/visa leave. If you have an experience to share about these (or other!) issues, please consider sharing it with the Bargaining Team. 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.
Note: When choosing to have your testimonial read at a bargaining session, the GEO’s bargaining team wants to ensure you know and understand your rights. Interactions that happen at the bargaining table become part of a record that may be referred to later in legal decisions that determine the intent, meaning, and scope of new contract language. As an official action at the bargaining table, your testimonial will be a part of that record.
To ensure that the Administration does not misrepresent your words, the Bargaining Team requests your permission to deliver printed copies of your testimonial to the administration’s bargaining team. While your testimonial is being read, notetakers on both bargaining teams will be taking notes, but providing a paper copy of your testimonial ensures that the Administration cannot misrepresent, misquote, or twist your words at a later date. Testimonials can still be made and submitted anonymously.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: GRADUATE EMPLOYEES’ ORGANIZATION (GEO) CONTRACT WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT URBANA-CHAMPAIGN EXPIRED! RALLY FOR A FAIR CONTRACT NOW ON AUGUST 16th, 2017, AT 12PM
Urbana-Champaign (August 15, 2017): The Graduate Employees’ Organization (GEO) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is holding a rally on August 16th on the main quad of campus. This rally is to demand a new contract for GEO as soon as possible, while criticizing the Administration’s approach to bargaining. As of August 15th, GEO’s current contract with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has expired without a new contract being signed. The GEO took numerous proactive measures to push for a new, fair contract within a reasonable time frame, months before the August 15th expiration.
The GEO presented its full comprehensive contract proposal in March, provided data and narratives to justify its proposals, and gave forthright answers to the Administrations’ questions at every bargaining session. In return, the Administration has repeatedly stalled bargaining and put forth regressive proposals which would negatively impact graduate employees, particularly by reducing tuition waiver protection and not offering wage increases over time. Beginning in March, the GEO presented its comprehensive contract proposal to the Administration, based on four pillars voted on by membership: Wages, Tuition and Fee Waivers, Healthcare, and Access and Equality (which includes visa and immigration leave, childcare support for grad employee parents, expansion to the non-discrimination clause, and bereavement leave). Many members’ testimonials and the data the GEO’s Bargaining Team presented in negotiation sessions have demonstrated repeatedly that these are not only reasonable components for a fair contract, but that they are crucial to the livelihood, health, and productivity of graduate employees on this campus.
With the start of the fall semester approaching, the Administration has placed graduate employees in a precarious position with an uncertain future by willfully stalling labor negotiations–they are jeopardizing pay, healthcare, workplace safety, tuition waivers, access to resources, and other basic and necessary protections that graduate employees need and deserve as workers. Graduate employees are crucial to University operations, and the Administration’s actions at the bargaining table only weaken our campus and communities and negatively impact graduate employees’ living and working conditions.
If the Administration continues to stall, graduate employees will have no choice but to force them to bargain a fair contract by organizing GEO members, allies, community members, and other campus unions to disrupt campus operation in multiple coordinated protest actions. The GEO refuses to allow the Administration to diminish the rights of its members and destroy their ability to live and work as graduate employees and members of this university. The GEO asks that you stand in solidarity with this struggle and join the Rally For A Fair Contract, which will take place the day after GEO’s contract expires. The GEO will hold the rally in tandem with other campus labor unions to declare that “The University Only Works Because We Do”! All community members are invited to the rally on the main quad on Wednesday, August 16, from 12:00 to 1:00pm Central Time, to stand up for the rights of graduate workers and to demonstrate unity and power, while sending a message to the Administration to “work with us” at the bargaining table to secure a fair contract for all graduate employees. There will be multiple speakers from GEO, NTFC, SEIU, and AFSCME. Attendees are invited to wear a GEO shirt and bring a sign. From 11-11:45am, GEO members will be in the Courtyard Cafe of the Illini Union with materials to make signs and posters, and the rally will begin at noon.
The Graduate Employees Organization (GEO) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, AFT/IFT Local 6300, celebrated its 20th birthday on May 1, 2017. After several years of collective organizing, UIUC graduate employees voted to establish GEO as their official union representative in the spring of 1997. The University of Illinois refused to recognize the results of the election but years of organizing and civil disobedience, alongside a legal battle, culminated in an occupation of Swanlund Administration Building in 2002 and subsequent negotiations with University officials. The first contract was signed in 2003.
Since then, GEO has successfully bargained three additional contracts, secured tuition waiver protections, won improved wages and more affordable healthcare, established a grievance procedure to protect graduate employee rights, and much more. In GEO’s official twenty-year history, it has become famous among labor organizations nationwide for its strength and commitment to democratic principles, and a 2009 strike that brought more than 1,000 people to campus picket lines.
The Graduate Employees’ Organization, AFT/IFT Local 6300, AFL-CIO, The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, represents approximately 2,700 Teaching and Graduate Assistants on the UIUC Campus. In November 2009, over 1,000 GEO members successfully went on strike to secure a fair contract and more accessible UIUC. With an active presence in the community, the GEO continues to work for high-quality and accessible public education in Illinois.
For more information, please contact GEO’s Communications Officer at email@example.com. More information can also be found on GEO’s website at www.uigeo.org.
Rally for a Fair Contract
Demand a fair contract! On Wednesday, August 16th, 12:00-1:00pm, we will be having a rally on campus to demand a contract that protects our members’ rights as graduate employee workers. Here is a link to the Facebook event for the rally. Wear your GEO swag and bring a sign! Everyone is welcome. #FairContractNow
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.
We have a weekly work-in on Wednesdays at the Courtyard Cafe in the Illini Union, 11:00am-1:00pm. Come on out and bring some work or your lunch and spend some time in solidarity with your fellow employees. Work-ins are a great way to increase visibility and demonstrate our solidarity to the entire campus, as well as to ask questions and learn more about bargaining, future work actions, and how you can get involved. All are welcome. And don’t forget–it’s Wear-It Wednesday, so wear some GEO swag if you can! Tag photos from the work in with #WorkInWednesday to share with us on social media.
The GEO coffee cart is coming to you! Grab a free cup of coffee, some GEO swag, and chat with GEO members about current issues facing graduate employees as the cart makes its way around the quad and into nearby buildings every week! Follow us on social media to find out where the cart is. If you’d like us to visit your building, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you see us, take a photo and post it with the tag #CoffeeWithGEO to share with us on social media.
See a full schedule of GEO meetings and events here, and contact email@example.com with any questions.
CONNECT WITH GEO!
Facebook: @uigeo @geosolcomm
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.