Did you know that the minimum wage and hours of work specified in the GEO contract are valid all year? You should be paid at least as much as the contract minimum for Summer TA and GA appointments, and a 50% FTE appointment is still equivalent to 20 hours of work (on average) per week. If your appointment letter says something else, come to our Appointment Letter Clinic and contact our Grievance Chair immediately at grievance@uic-geo.net.
Members of the GEO Grievance Committee will be available to meet with members to review your summer and fall appointment letters to ensure that they are compliant with the contract. Clinics will be held on Tuesday, May 1 from 1:00 to 3:00 pm and on Wednesday, May 2nd from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm in the GEO office (815 W. Van Buren, Suite 203). You can also bring your appointment letter to Tuesday’s grade-in and someone will review it with you there.

While currently most GEO members do not pay into the state pension plan, it’s certainly possible that at some point in the near future members may find themselves part of the state system and will be adversely affected by Governor Quinn’s plan if it goes into effect.  With this plan, an increase in employee contribution, along with an increase in the retirement age, means a prolonged struggle for those who have to wait even longer to retire.  Please see the attached document for more information about Governor Quinn’s plan and please see below for a message from IFT President Dan Montgomery about how we as GEO members can address this problem that could end up affecting a majority of us in the future.

 

Dear IFT Members,

You have undoubtedly heard by now that Governor Quinn proposed a plan last week that would make significant changes to the state’s public pension systems. His proposal is an unfair assault on your benefits, and would largely shift the cost and obligations of fixing Illinois’ retirement systems – about $85 billion – onto the backs of the members who have contributed to them faithfully while the state has failed to pay its share.

Immediately after Quinn’s announcement, IFT and the “We Are One Illinois” coalition (IEA, AFSCME, SEIU and other unions) issued a statement<http://www.ift-aft.org/news/dailynews/12-04-20/Labor_Coalition_Blasts_Pension_Proposal.aspx> reiterating our continued willingness to work with the governor and lawmakers to find a fair, constitutional solution to the funding crisis that will result in a secure and sustainable system.

As IFT president, I want to keep you informed about efforts moving forward. You should know that, in Springfield, we are working on this critical issue. On Wednesday, April 25, I and key IFT staff will be meeting with our coalition partners to discuss coordinated next steps in our campaign to protect your pension. On April 26 and 27, the coalition will meet with representatives of the governor and key leaders in an effort to determine whether any progress can be made toward a bill that will secure the future of our pension systems.

But we must be ready to fight any unacceptable proposals that will harm your retirement security and that of other IFT members in the state funded systems. To be effective, we will need your help!

HERE ARE TWO SIMPLE THINGS YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW TO PROTECT YOUR PENSION:

*   UPDATE YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION!  Visit the IFT Web site<http://www.ift-aft.org/news/dailynews/12-04-24/Register_or_Update_Your_Contact_Information.aspx> now to securely register or update your home e-mail address and phone numbers. The next several weeks will be critical, and we must be able to reach you to keep you informed and let you know how to help. This is particularly important for our K-12 and higher education members who may be on summer break beginning as soon as May.

*   CHECK YOUR INBOX AND THE IFT WEB SITE<http://www.ift-aft.org>. Electronic updates are the fastest way to get news about pension actions in Springfield, scheduled events, Action Alerts and more. Regularly check your email and the IFT homepage<http://www.ift-aft.org> for the latest information. (Again, be sure we can reach you, now and in the weeks ahead, by securely registering or updating your home e-mail address and phone numbers online<http://www.ift-aft.org/news/dailynews/12-04-24/Register_or_Update_Your_Contact_Information.aspx>.) Stay connected to your local as well by talking with your elected leaders, visiting your local or council Web site, reading your newsletter and other sources of local or council information.

Things change quickly in Springfield, and I will work to keep you informed every step of the way. Thank you for doing your part by making sure we can get you the information you need about this issue that is so critical for us all.

In Solidarity,
Dan Montgomery, IFT President

This message has been sent by the
Illinois Federation of Teachers.
500 Oakmont Lane
Westmont, IL 60559

 

Quinn’s Epic Pension Proposal 04-20-12

As you probably know, graduate students at private universities are not currently allowed to unionize, and Graduate Students United at the University of Chicago have been waging a campaign against the National Labor Relation Board’s (NLRB) 2005 Brown ruling in solidarity with New York University’s GSOC, asking the NLRB to reverse the 2005 ruling.

The NLRB got the petition from NYU’s Graduate Student Organizing Committee 23 months ago, and has yet to issue a ruling.  They also did a petition demanding a ruling last fall – at gradlaborcounts.org – that got almost 3000 signatures.  The day after we delivered that petition to the Chicago office of the NLRB (you can check out a video here!), President Obama announced the recess appointments of three new members for the NLRB, and the board has been functioning all through 2012. And a bunch of NYU’s GSOC’ers traveled to DC to protest outside the NLRB’s headquarters on February 3, 2012.  And they’ve been writing letters to the NLRB.  However, apparently, the NLRB isn’t yet listening.  These graduate employees need help to get the NLRB’s attention!  Check out the solidarity letter attached here that you can edit if you want, print, and mail to the NLRB to demand that they let graduate employees at private universities unionize!

 

#2 solidarity letter to NLRB (DP final)

All GEO members and allies are encouraged to attend this important event.  Meet in the GEO office on Wednesday, April 18th from 5-7 p.m. to talk about what it means to organize your colleagues, what do these conversations look like, and what do we ask of our fellow graduate employees when it’s their contract that’s at stake also?  We will be planning how to organize around the contract campaign for the summer and into the fall. Let’s build some momentum for bargaining! Remember, the greater the level of membership involvement, the faster we’ll have a new and better contract.

Come join your fellow GEO colleagues for an exciting afternoon of workplace visibility! It’s the start of the contract campaign and it’s also finals week, so bring your grading or other work to do and show the university that UIC works because we do. Wear your red GEO shirt for extra visibility and if you don’t have one, stop by the GEO office (815 W. Van Buren Suite 203) to get one!

Come vote for the leadership positions in YOUR graduate employees’ union.

All current members of the bargaining unit are entitled and encouraged to vote.

We’ll be selecting members to serve in the following positions:

President (or two Co-Presidents)
Treasurer
Secretary
Grievance Chair
Communications Chair
Outreach Chair
Organizing Chair
Chief Steward

For a description of each position, check out our constitution: http://uic-geo.net/mainsite/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/100416_GEO_Constitution_Revised1.pdf

If you would like to nominate yourself or a colleague, please send an e-mail to <elections@uic-geo.net>. Names submitted by Friday, April 20 will appear on the prepared ballot, but nominations may be made up until voting time on April 23.

Can’t make the election meeting? No worries. You can also stop by the GEO Office (815 W. Van Buren, Suite 203) to cast your vote on Tuesday, April 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or Wednesday, April 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

If you have questions or concerns, e-mail <elections@uic-geo.net> or call 312-733-9641.