Fellow Graduate Employees,

The United Faculty strike is here. After months of negotiations the administration continues its stand against better wages and working conditions for its faculty. While GEO employees cannot legally sympathy strike, we do encourage everyone to join the faculty and show support in whatever way they can. Here is some useful information about the labor action and ways you can get involved:
UF website has a wealth of information about picketing times and actions, including the location of warming stations, etc: http://uicunitedfaculty.org/2014/02/uic-united-faculty-strike-details-logistics/
Wear blue to show solidarity with UF on Tuesday and Wednesday.
For those who have to cross the picket line to complete their duties, they can get blue armbands at Hull House, SEO 776, and UH 1827. Armbands are a way of displaying solidarity even if you have no choice but to cross the picket line.
UF is trending on twitter, use #UICstrike. A list of ideas for tweets and other social media support is available on the GEO website: http://uic-geo.net/mainsite/?p=1212
Take “strike selfies” in your empty classrooms to show how strong undergrad support is for the strike.
Here’s a set of strike graphics you can share on your Facebook wall. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.674831679226963.1073741845.523003031076496&type=3
Here is an FAQ that will help clarify the GEOs responsibilities during the work stoppage: http://uic-geo.net/mainsite/?p=1210
Here is an article in the Jacobin about the strike that succinctly explains the position of UF: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/02/faculty-on-strike

The United Faculty fight is our fight. Turn out and let the administration know that we are serious when we say UIC works because we do.

Solidarity,

GEO

On February 18, the tenure track and non-tenure track faculty who make up the University of Illinois-Chicago faculty union UICUF Local 6456 will walk out of the classroom and onto the picket line for a two-day strike. Barring a dramatic change-of-heart by university administrators at the bargaining table the weekend, it will be the first faculty strike at a major research university in a very long time.

There are a number of ways to support them over social media.

Here’s a set of strike graphics you can share on your Facebook wall. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.674831679226963.1073741845.523003031076496&type=3

We’re holding a Twitter Storm using the hashtag #UICStrike on the evening of Tuesday, February 18th between 7-9PM (Central Time). During that window, send out tweets and Facebook messages using that hashtag to get it trending.

Here are some sample tweets. Feel free to write your own tweets, modify these, or simply copy and paste them. If you have any original content from the strike (photos, videos, etc) it would be great to post during this window. Retweet and share other people’s #UICStrike posts. By no means must you wait until the 18th to start your social media support. You can show solidarity today!

Sample Tweets:

“Administrators at UIC have increased by 10%, while tenured faculty positions have decreased by 1%.” http://ow.ly/tDMSp #UICStrike

Tuition has increased by 25% since 2007, while student enrollment is up by more than 10%. http://ow.ly/tDTDF #UICStrike

Small class sizes, individualized instruction, support for research, well equipped classrooms and labs http://ow.ly/tDTOr #UICStrike

The point of #UICStrike is to help fulfill UIC’s mission — providing quality education for working class students. http://ow.ly/tDEZt

UIC United Faculty President Joe Persky explains #UICStrike to Chicago Tonight on @WTTW http://ow.ly/tDI6q

Professor Lenny Davis explains why he’s striking http://youtu.be/ke9moptBV4Q and in Jacobin Magazine http://ow.ly/tDL2S #UICStrike

Looking for ways to show solidarity with #UICStrike? We have details here. http://ow.ly/tDLjq

UIC Professor Dick Simpson is striking for the future of teaching! #UICStrike Here’s his video —> http://youtu.be/3BlSK6NOxB0

“We’re losing faculty to universities willing to pay a fair salary; it’s our students who pay the price.” http://ow.ly/tDMEy #UICStrike

UIC Professor Gerry Gorman on union voice and #UICStrike Video —> http://youtu.be/QaaRikZ63Ns

Professor Bill Watkins Explains Why He’s Going on Strike http://ow.ly/tDLTK #UICStrike

Here are some links to news stories on the strike:

Chicago Tonight featuring UIC Faculty Union President Joe Persky http://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2014/02/13/uic-faculty-union-threatens-strike

Jacobin Magazine https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/02/faculty-on-strike/

Chicagoist http://chicagoist.com/2014/02/13/teachers_at_uic_may_strike_next_wee.php

The News-Gazette http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2014-02-13/uic-faculty-union-sets-strike-date-next-week.html

UICUF Press Release: http://uicunitedfaculty.org/2014/02/uic-faculty-union-plans-two-day-strike-fair-contract/

Follow
@IFTAFT (Illinois Federation of Teachers)
@UICUF (UIC local twitter)
@kenzoshibata

Also on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/UICUF

and

https://www.facebook.com/iftaft

Dear GEO Members:

United Faculty, which represents all full-time UIC faculty (tenure and non-tenure), is planning a two-day walkout for Tuesday, February 18th and Wednesday, February 19th. This is an exciting opportunity for graduate employees and other campus workers to show our solidarity with the faculty in their contract negotiations. Faculty members cannot prohibit you from participating in the strike or other solidarity activities when you are off the clock. Nor can they require you to participate in union activities. We want to make sure all of our members know their rights and responsibilities in the event of another union’s labor action on campus.

The GEO contract contains a “no strike” clause that legally bars us from endorsing a sympathy strike and subjects any GA or TA to disciplinary action if they choose to withhold their labor in solidarity with UF. (RAs, graduate hourly employees, and graduate students on fellowship are not covered by our contract. While that means they are not legally prohibited from sympathy striking, it also means that they are not entitled to union representation. We do not know what the consequences will be, if any, for RAs, grad hourly employees, or fellows who honor faculty picket lines.) There are, however, a number of ways you can support the faculty:

• March with faculty during your off-hours.
• Respect picket lines whenever possible (i.e., don’t cross the line unless you absolutely must in order to complete your job duties).
• Explain the issues to your students, colleagues, friends, and family.
• Hang a “Proud Union Office” or “Proud Union Lab” on your door. If you would like one of these, please email the GEO at the email address below and we will make sure you get one.
• Tell a faculty member that their fight is our fight.

Whether or not any member chooses to cross the picket line is a matter of personal conscience. That said, GEO wants all members to understand that you may face disciplinary action for violating the “no strike” clause only if you choose to participate in the faculty strike by withholding labor (for example, canceling classes and office hours, refusing to report to work for GA hours, or intentionally ignoring student emails). These disciplinary penalties for violating the “no strike” clause could include dismissal. If, as the result of their participation in the faculty labor action, GEO members are subject to disciplinary action, they should immediately contact GEO: all union members are entitled to union representation.

If you have any questions or concerns about the strike, please contact us at geo@uic-geo.net.