The members of GEO received a major message of support yesterday from none other than Dr. Cornel West, well-known social justice activist, author, and professor. He says:
“I wholeheartedly support my brothers and sisters of the UIC GEO! Stay strong and stand tall!
Thanks, Dr. West, for the message of solidarity!
March 12, 2013
Dear Chancellor Wise and the Board of Trustees,
The University of Illinois at Chicago Graduate Employees Organization (UIC GEO) is writing on behalf of its 1500 members to demand that you respect the collective bargaining process and immediately reach an agreement with Service Employees International United Local 73 (SEIU).
It is our understanding that the UIUC administration has engaged in bargaining that has been slow and unprofessional. Considering that SEIU has been without a contract since July 2012, we are very skeptical of your arguments that fair wages are simply unacceptable and unreasonable. While your administration typically argues that UIUC has no money, there have been Board of Trustees reports saying that the university has a $3 million reserve fund and, as such, we do not see any insurmountable hurdles to overcome for a fair contract. Ultimately, it is your role as an employer to provide job and economic security for your employees, and you can provide that by settling a contract now with SEIU. They are an integral part of the university’s function and deserve your respect both in the process of negotiations and their working conditions.
Everyone involved shares an interest in the quality of education and employment at UIUC, and you have the power to demonstrate that you value the contributing members of your institution by prioritizing their needs at these basic levels of providing them with fair wages at your institution.
On behalf of UIC GEO, we strongly urge you to return to the bargaining table and take the necessary steps to negotiate a proper contract.
The Member of UIC Graduate Employees Organization