At the most recent General Membership Meeting for the GEO, members voted in favor of sending a resolution of support (attached below) to the striking Walmart Warehouse Workers in Elwood, IL who recently walked out of the warehouse due to intimidation and retaliation after a lawsuit was filed on behalf of the workers by the group Warehouse Workers for Justice (part of the United Electrical Workers). The lawsuit was filed due to non-payment of wages and overtime, in addition to being paid below minimum wage. After the lawsuit was filed, supervisors told the workers they were suspended. You can find out more information about the strike here:
Why is this important and what can you do to support them? Although this particular warehouse is run by a contractor, it still provides services for the Walmart Corporation, which is one of the largest, most notoriously anti-union companies in the United States. With the support of fellow labor unions, the warehouse workers have a chance to successfully address their issues with the company and win a major victory for organized labor, especially in the face of such a gigantic company. On October 1st, join the Warehouse Workers in Elwood, IL for a solidarity action at their work location. There is transportation from Chicago; buses are leaving at 12 noon from Workers United union hall at 333 S. Ashland which is closest to the blue line. They will return back to Chicago around 6pm. Email or call 269-873-1000 to reserve a spot.
You can also sign their petition, calling for proper compensation for their work:

Interested in helping the GEO decide on solidarity resolutions or have questions? Email Jes Cook, our outreach chair, at

Be sure to check out events and other items on our Facebook page:

Support Resolution for the Warehouse Workers for Justice

September 27, 2012

The University of Illinois at Chicago Graduate Employees Organization (UIC GEO, IFT/AFT Local 6297, AFL-CIO), the union of 1400 Teaching and Graduate Assistants at UIC, supports the workers at the Walmart Distribution Center in Elwood, IL who are on strike to protest illegal retaliation, wage theft, discrimination, and dangerous working conditions. As such, we resolve that the leadership and members of the UIC GEO will support these workers by endorsing and attending solidarity actions, signing related petitions and making calls on industry leaders and lawmakers as needed by the workers. Furthermore, we call on CEO Michael Duke of Walmart to ensure that:

· Workers receive a living wage and are paid for all hours worked in accordance with the law;

· Workers have consistent, regular work schedules in order to care for their families;

· Workers have a safe workplace with better training and safety equipment;

· There is an immediate end to all intimidation and illegal retaliation against workers for exercising their rights.

In Solidarity,

The Members of UIC GEO, IFT/AFT Local 6297, AFL-CIO

Fellow grad students and GEO members,

As of this morning, Monday 9/10, the Chicago Teachers’ Union (CTU) is on strike. That means that workers at 600+ public schools across the city will not be reporting to work. After decades of attacks on public schools in Chicago CTU is standing up and saying, “Enough is enough!” Mayor Emanuel and his unelected school board have closed down neighborhood schools, opened privately operated charter schools, imposed a longer school day, and want to link teacher pay with students’ performance on standardized test — thus shredding tenure. On the other hand the CTU is fighting for schools Chicago’s students deserve. They’re asking for: a better school day with more time for physical education and art, less time on test prep, and smaller class sizes. They are fighting for better schools that have more social workers, nurses, and counselors. They are fighting for fair compensation; for working a longer day, and for those who have experience and have achieved higher levels of education.

Their fight is our fight! Fair compensation for our work is something we in the GEO are fighting for right now in our contract negotiations with the UIC administration. As Teaching Assistants we know that our working conditions are our students’ learning conditions. Many of us plan on teaching as a faculty member at a university or college after our time at UIC. If tenure can be shredded at the primary and secondary levels then it can be done away with at the post-secondary level. A victory for the CTU would be a blow against the onslaught of budget cuts and the stratification of education. These issues effect us right here right now at UIC. This is a public university that has seen its share of budget woes and tuition and fee increases. A fighting and victorious labor movement in Chicago can only help us in the GEO. As a result, the GEO Steering Committee passed a resolution in support of the Chicago Teachers’ Union and their struggle which you can find on our website:

What can you do to help?
Join the teachers on the picket line. Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Board is attempting to keep some schools open during the strike. There are many schools near UIC. Stop by a picket line before classes or work, show solidarity with the teachers on strike, and let them know that the GEO supports them. For a complete listing of pickets click here. Picketing starts at 6:30am every morning. Wear your red GEO shirt and support our sisters and brothers in the CTU.

Come to the Teachers Solidarity rally on Campus. It will be on Tuesday, Sept. 11 at Noon. It will be held in the Lecture Centers Quad. This will be a great place to plan solidarity among other UIC students, GEOers, grad students, and under grads. You can find out more information and RSVP here:

Join thousands at daily afternoon rallies. Today’s rally will be at the CPS Head Quarters (125 S Clark St.) and begins at 3:30pm. Daily mass rallies will be held during the duration of the strike. The more people there every day the more pressure the CPS Board will feel to give the CTU a fair contract.

In Solidarity,

Steering Committee of the UIC Graduate Employees Organization

CTU Support Resolution
Whereas all students deserve the right to a quality public education in their neighborhood school, and
Whereas all students deserve smaller class sizes to receive adequate attention from teachers, and
Whereas all students deserve access to a broad and diverse curriculum that includes art, world languages, computer literacy, and physical education, and
Whereas all students deserve support including fully-staffed libraries in all schools, access to social workers, school nurses, therapists and psychologists, and
Whereas teachers deserve to be adequately compensated for their work, and
Whereas the revenue necessary to fund a quality public education can be substantially realized by reallocating resources that go to mostly non-union Charter schools and the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts, both of which currently siphon revenue from public schools, and
Whereas teachers deserve protection against arbitrary dismissal and a fair recall procedure so that the talents and expertise of experienced teachers can be put to the best use serving the students of Chicago, and
Whereas the Chicago Board of Education, among other concessions, is demanding “merit pay” for teachers based on student test scores, despite a consensus among researchers that such scores to not reliably measure a teacher’s ability, and
Whereas the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) is standing up for the children of Chicago and for all public employees and unions in this time of budget cutting and union busting, and
Be it resolved that the Graduate Employees Organization (GEO) at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Local 6297 of IFT-AFT, AFL-CIO supports the Chicago Teachers Union in its fight to negotiate a contract that addresses all of these issues with the Chicago Board of Education.
Be it further resolved that the Graduate Employees Organization, Local 6297 contribute a sum of $250 to the strike fund of CTU.
Be it further resolved that the Graduate Employees Organization, Local 6297 endorses local solidarity events in support of the CTU.
Be it further resolved that the Graduate Employees Organization, Local 6297 communicate such support to its members, including asking them to sign petitions and communicate their support for CTU and its demands to the Chicago Board of Education and Mayor Rahm Emanuel.