The Illinois Federation of Teachers is coordinating Labor Walks and phone banks to reach out to Illinois union members and voters in advance of the November gubernatorial election. GEO card-signing members and their families can earn $12/hour helping with their efforts. There is an urgent need for members to join this Saturday’s Labor Walk, 10:00-2:00 p.m. at Heat and Frost Local 17, 18520 Spring Creek Drive, Tinley Park, IL. Lunch is provided, and transportation can be arranged if needed. If you are interested in joining this Saturday please contact us: More opportunities are listed below.

IFT supports Pat Quinn for Governor, and opposes Bruce Rauner’s anti-labor platform. More about the election and how it will affect unions in Illinois can be found on the IFT website. Below is a breakdown of the issues at stake.

Pat Quinn for Governor

  • Quinn supports the rights of teachers and public employees to bargain collectively and strike.
  • Quinn’s budget avoided cuts to public schools and increased funding for early childhood education and increased student access to college.
  • Quinn wants to raise the minimum wage to more than $10/hour and believes that no one working 40 hours a week should be living in poverty.

Bruce Rauner for Governor

  • Rauner is a huge supporter of so-called “education reform” groups, one of which he helped organize in Illinois where they tried to eliminate collective bargaining rights and take away the right to strike.
  • Rauner’s budget would force dramatic cuts to education and public services, layoffs,
    (1 in 6 teachers!) and property tax hikes by local communities to stay afloat.
  • Rauner made more than $53 million in 2012 but said he was “adamantly, adamantly” opposed to an increase in Illinois. In fact, he actually supports lowering the minimum wage and said that public employees are overpaid by nearly 25%.

More opportunities:

Labor Walks

Saturday, Sep 27
Heat and Frost Local 17
18520 Spring Creek Drive, Tinley Park, IL

Saturday, Oct 4
Sheet Metal Workers Local 73
4550 Roosevelt Rd, Hillside, IL

Saturday, Oct 11
IUPAT Local 194
3015 N Austin, Chicago, IL

Saturday, Oct 18
Heat and Frost Local 17
18520 Spring Creek Drive, Tinley Park, IL

Saturday, Oct 25
IUPAT Local 194
3015 N Austin, Chicago, IL

Phone Banks

Monday Nights

Tinley Park Location – Mondays
When:     Starts Sept. 8th, 4 to 8 pm
Where:    Heat and Frost Insulators Local 17
18520 Spring Creek Drive,  Tinley Park, IL 60477

Tuesday Nights

Downtown/near China Town –  Tuesdays
When: Starts Sept. 9th, 4 to 8 pm
Where:  I.U.O.E. Local 399 Hall –
2260 S Grove St, Chicago, IL 60616

Wednesday Nights

Countryside Location – Wednesdays
When:   Starts, Sept 10th, 4 to 8 pm
Where:  Local  I.U.O.E. 150
6200 Joliet Road, Countryside, IL, 60525

Thursday Nights – 2 Locations

UPI Office – Thursday Nights
When:   Thursday, Sept. 11, 4 to 8 pm
Where: UPI Office, 11 E. Adams,
Suite 1106, Chicago Ill 60603

IBEW Local 134 – Thursday Nights
When:   Starts, 9/18 and these following Thursdays:  9/25, 10/9, 10/30
Where:   IBEW Local 134,
600 W Washington Blvd, Chicago, IL 60661

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Join fellow GEO and United Faculty members for a joint meeting this Wednesday, September 10th at 4:30 pm at the IFT Office (850 W. Jackson, Suite 220–bring your ID to enter the building).  We’ll be joined by Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery as he discusses the upcoming elections season.  If you’re interested in knowing more about what’s at stake in this election, or you’d like to get involved, come on out!

Fill out the GEO’s new survey and tell us about your experiences at work!
The GEO will begin bargaining for a new contract in early 2015. Tell us about your working conditions, health care, and financial hardship—you can fight for a stronger contract that addresses your concerns! 
Your answers will be kept anonymous and confidential. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at

Join your fellow GEO members for a discussion of and vote on the annual GEO budget during this General Membership meeting. We will look at the proposed discretionary budget for the 2014-2015 year and then vote on the planned budget.  It’s an important vote since this will direct what your union should focus monetary resources on for the coming year!  We’ll be in room 302 of Student Center East on Wednesday, September 17th from 5-7 pm so come one, come all.

If you’re not able to attend but are interested in looking at the planned budget, please contact the GEO at


The Graduate Employees Organization, Local 6297, AFT-IFT, is deeply dismayed to learn of the horrifying racial discrimination that Chuck Conner, a fellow University of Illinois-Chicago employee, has faced on the job. All workers on campus deserve safe, fair working conditions, and a just and swift grievance process. It is utterly unacceptable that Mr. Conner has continued to face discrimination and bullying on the job in spite of an ongoing UIC investigation. We urge the University to expedite its investigation and bring Mr. Conner’s harassers to justice.

We are also disturbed to learn of the University of Illinois- Urbana-Champaign’s rescinding of a job offer letter to a professor, Steven Salaita, on the basis of his personal politics. Academic freedom is vital to the well-being of the university. In silencing a voice it disagreed with, UIUC compromised the quality of academic discourse and scholarship on its campus.

These are but two of many cases that highlight the dysfunction within the University of Illinois system. For U of I administrators, PR optics take precedence over academic freedom, and the well-being of employees and their workplace safety is hardly a priority.  We are in dismay that the University administration would stand idly by and allow for, and support, this assault on academic freedom.

In Solidarity,

The UIC Graduate Employees Organization Steering Committee

Welcome to the Graduate Employees Organization!  We represent around 1500 Graduate Assistants and Teaching Assistants at UIC and are a member-run, volunteer-run, democratic labor union.  We’re holding a series of GEO 101 events in the next two weeks. These will be basic introductions to the union, describing what we do and how you can get involved in more depth than we were able to go into at orientations. We have three dates planned–if you can’t make any of these, let us know! We’ll be adding more.  These will be held at the GEO office (815 W. Van Buren, Suite 203).


Tuesday, August 26th from 10 am-11 am 
Wednesday, August 27th from 12 pm-1 pm 
Tuesday September 2nd from 2 pm-3 pm 
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Summer isn’t over until we say it is! Join the GEO for a Welcome Back Block Party on 28 August, from 3-7 PM. It will take place on Green Street, south of Van Buren (behind the GEO office). We’ll have tacos from Big Star, beer, and games. Stop by to catch up with colleagues you haven’t seen in a while, eat some food, have some beers, and relax. Let’s enjoy the summer before the polar vortex returns!  Check out our Facebook event page here and please RSVP; this way, if we need to order more tacos, we can prepare! 


UIC announced this past week that they will eliminate 250 full-time employees at the Medical Center starting August 15th but have been vague about where those cuts will come and whether or not they will affect patient care areas.  In order to protest these cuts, SEIU will be joining with the Illinois Nurses Association at a rally outside of the UIC hospital (1740 W. Taylor) on Wednesday, July 30th from 6-8:30 am and 3-5 p.m.  Join your fellow workers to demand that the UIC administration stop balancing the budget on the backs of workers! 


Provide event planning and program support for Asian American Studies. This graduate assistantship is a 25% appointment, which is an average of 10 hours/week, and carries with it a tuition waiver.

Duties include, but are not limited to:
– Coordinating publicity, reservations, catering, and other event planning needs
– Supporting ASAM programming, including faculty meetings, colloquia, teaching collaborative sessions, Knowledge Bowl, and ASAM Expo
– Maintaining via Sitefinity

One year of work experience either on- or off-campus, ideally in an office setting. Must be a responsible self-starter who follows through on tasks effectively and efficiently, has strong interpersonal skills, yet excels in independent work. Ability to learn Sitefinity required, and familiarity with Google Drive preferred.

This Graduate Assistantship is for Fall 2014 with the possibility of
continuing for Spring 2015. A flexible schedule is desired, and occasional pre-scheduled evening hours may be necessary to staff events.

To apply, please email Jill Huynh, Assistant Director, at with 1) your resume, 2) an explanation of why this position interests you and what your qualifications are, and 3) your full availability for a 20-minute interview the week of August 11. The position is open until filled, but review of applications will begin Tuesday, August 5.

Note: While students who have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ( are eligible for student employment at UIC, we regret that DACA students are not eligible for employment in this program. Unfortunately, international students are also ineligible for this appointment.

Dear GEO members,
The GEO is launching a campaign for a stronger contract, and we invite you to join us as we fight for better wages, working conditions, and fewer fees for graduate workers. We plan to officially begin contract negotiations with the University in the Spring of 2015.
You can get involved by coming to the first Bargaining Research Committee Meeting at the GEO Office (815 W. Van Buren, Suite 203) at 3 pm on Wednesday, June 4.
If you are interested and have questions or can’t make a meeting, you can contact Becky Bivens (Bargaining Chair)
In Solidarity,
Becky Bivens
PhD Student, Art History
What do members involved with bargaining do? They may invest a little or a lot of
their time by…
-Researching wages, fees and tuition differentials, healthcare and trans-health
issues, sexual harassment, anti-discrimination, etc.
-Building a survey to find out what our membership wants
-Distributing the survey and talking with fellow members
-Helping develop a new platform of demands for the next contract
-Organizing teach-ins, rallies, and demonstrations
-Collectively writing a new contract (beginning in the Fall)
-Participating in negotiations (beginning in the Spring)