2014 GEO Officer Election Results

Co-President: Jen Phillis (English) and Karen Cralli (Hispanic and Italian Studies)

Secretary: Ben Linder (Anthropology)

Treasurer: Dan Ingebretson (Math)

Organizing Chair: Andrea Herrera (Latin American and Latino Studies)

Communications Chair: Neri Sandoval (English)

Bargaining Chair: Becky Bivens (Art History)

Grievance Chair: Marissa Baker (Art History)

Chief Steward: Aaron Finley (English)

Outreach Chair: Jes Cook (Sociology)

Congratulations, 2014 GEO officers!

 

End-of-Year GEO Social TONIGHT, 6:00pm to 8:00pm, Dugan’s (128 S. Halsted)

Free drinks and food! All GEO members are welcome.

 

Please take GEO’s Campus Care/UIC Medicine Survey

Our Health Care Working Group is meeting with Campus Care administrators next month to discuss concerns about Campus Care and we need YOUR input! We are especially interested in hearing from people who use Campus Care for prescription and medical benefits related to chronic illnesses or trans*/gender variant health care. Please take this brief (10 min.) and anonymous survey: 

The following questions were submitted from the GEO membership to David Wurster, Director of Campus Care, for the February 25th General Membership Meeting in which he answered the questions in person.  Some questions were not covered due to Wurster needing to leave the meeting.

We hope to address the remaining questions in the upcoming Labor Management Meetings.  If you have questions or concerns with your Campus Care coverage, please let the GEO know!  We can help.  Also, if you’d like to improve the quality of Campus Care through the GEO’s Health Care Working Group, we’re always looking for new members.  Email geo@uic-geo.net to learn more.

 

Campus Care Questions and Answers from meeting on 2/26–compiled

 

 

  • Why can’t Campus Care cover birth control over the summer?  We understand that it’s covered under the Student Health Services Fee during the regular school year, but we don’t understand why Campus Care can’t add coverage for this basic care during the summer.

 

    1. If contraceptives were added to Campus Care, there would have to be a $50 increase in the premium per semester.
    2. This is something we can advocate for if enough of our members want to.

 

 

  • We understand that the maximum amount of coverage was recently increased to 2 million per year and Campus Care experienced some losses as a result of that caused the maximum amount of coverage to go back down to $500,000 lifetime.  Was there no middle ground considered here, like $500,000 per year or 2 million lifetime?  It’s such a huge leap to go from 2 million per year to only $500,000 lifetime – we would like more information about how these decisions are made and why we can’t take steps toward providing more coverage without doing it in an unsustainable way, which is what seemed to happen with the large increase to 2 million per year.  

 

    1. It seems unlikely that the lifetime limit will be increased because the losses to monetary reserves that happened when they increased the limit to 2 million yearly.  Campus Care must have a certain amount of dollars in reserve to cover claims, and they have decreased the lifetime limit back to $500,000 to meet this requirement.

 

 

  • How can we request changes to coverages like those mentioned above?

 

    1. In order to understand the decision-making process better, we can try to speak to student representatives on the Campus Care Oversight Committee, which is a part of the Student Fee Advisory Committee.  The SFAC is comprised of 4 students and 9 faculty/staff members.  If we make a request that the SFAC wants to take up, they will make a recommendation for a change in coverage, which must then be approved by the Board of Trustees.
    2. The GEO will also be pursuing

 

 

  • The Campus Care website is confusing to us regarding emergency coverage at Advocate Hospitals in the Chicago area.  Are we correct in understanding that we would be covered for the same cost as going to a University Hospital unless the care is performed by an independent contractor at Advocate?

 

    1. Facility charges assessed by employed doctor or facility are considered IN NETWORK.
    2. Any charges incurred by independent contractor physicians: students have to pay OUT OF NETWORK.

 

 

  • Why does Advocate have independent contractors who are billed separately?  Can this be changed to make billing more transparent and fair?

 

    1. The independent contractor setup is the result of a ruling by the Federal Trade Commission.  While we don’t have all the details, Campus Care representatives made it clear that due to this law, no changes in the way independent contractors are billed would be forthcoming.

 

 

  • How can patients easily determine who is an independent contractor at Advocate Hospitals?

 

    1. You can’t. There is no way of determining who is an independent contractor without asking.
    2. There are over 2500 independent physicians in the Advocate system (about 50% of their total physicians), most of which are hospital-based providers like anesthesiologists and radiologists.
    3. If you have a claim that exceeds $5000, you can contact Campus Care to see if they will negotiate on your behalf to get a reduction in charges.  If Campus Care negotiates a reduction in charges, it will apply to your deductible.  For example, if there is a 30% discount, that discount will apply to your deductible so you will pay 30% less.
    4. You can also try to contact Advocate to ask if they will write off the costs of health care since we are students who are not paid very much.

 

 

  • What sort of sensitivity/diversity training do employees of the University Hospitals and Family Medicine Centers receive?  

 

    1. Ethics training (like all University employees)
    2. Wurster recommends that if a member feels s/he was treated with insensitivity or was discriminated against, first contact: Dr. John Hickner of Family Medicine, and if the problem is not resolved, then contact the Office of Access and Equity to make a formal complaint.
    3. While Dr. Wurster suggests contacting Dr. Hickner or the Office of Access and Equity, the GEO recommends contacting our office before filing any complaints with those the university.  The GEO can help walk you through the process and be an advocate who only has a vested interest in helping you, as opposed to Dr. Hickner and the Office of Access and Equity, who have a vested interest in protecting the University/Campus Care.

 

 

  • What laws govern Campus Care?  They don’t have to comply with ACA, or the state it seems, so are there any laws that do govern it?

 

    1. Campus Care is governed by the Religious and Charitable Trust Risk Pooling Act, the details of which are available here:  http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=1271&ChapterID=22.
    2. The GEO will be working to better understand how this act operates and whether areas exist for improving coverage as a result of it.
    3. Campus Care is NOT, in general, governed by the Affordable Care Act.  There are some areas in which coverages offered by Campus Care are mandatory because the Affordable Care Act mandates that any entity providing a “minimal essential coverage plan” adhere to certain standards, but they are not a legal insurance company, so most of the provisions of the ACA do not apply to them.
    4. Dr. Wurster suggested that changes to the laws in this area are forthcoming as a result of the Affordable Care Act, and would be effective during the 2015-2016 academic year.

 

 

  • What are the legal financial responsibilities of Campus Care, since they’re not a legal insurance company?

 

    1. Dr. Wurster was vague on the details, but we do know that Campus Care must abide by the act listed above, which requires that they have a certain amount of dollars in reserve in order to cover claims.

 

 

  • Why are the premiums to add dependents so high (more than twice to add a spouse, almost twice to add a child)?

 

    1. This is the case for most insurance plans offered by employers for employees.  The employer subsidizes the costs for the employee more than they do the costs for additional dependents.

 

 

  • How much do other comparable programs to Campus Care cost at other universities?

 

    1. All of this premium information comes from Campus Care itself, so we may want to take it with a grain of salt:
      1. University of Wisconsin:  $2200 for students, $6500 for spouses, and $7500 for children.
      2. Rush University:  $2300 for students, $5600 for spouses, $4500 for one child, and $6800 for multiple children
      3. University of Chicago:  $3000 for students, $5100 for spouses, and $5100 for children.
      4. Northwestern University:  $3800 for students, $7600 for spouses, and $4795 for children.
      5. All of these plans have deductibles of $250 or more and coinsurance of 12%, except for the University of Chicago, where the coinsurance is 10%.

 

  • Counseling center lifetime limit – why is it so short?

 

    1. For mental health services, students receive 20 free sessions (additional sessions granted on a case-by-case basis; the clinician can make an appeal to continue seeing patient)
    2. Students who require additional therapy/mental health services will be referred to the Neuropsych Institute (NPI), though there are some capacity and staffing issues. Any member for whom mental health services would be medically/clinically necessary will receive treatment
      1. If the patient cannot be treated in-network, they will be provided with the necessary care out-of-network at in-network rate

 

 

  • Why aren’t biological sera (blood, red blood cells, platelets, plasma, etc) covered by Campus Care on an outpatient basis? These are often medically necessary, and when withheld, result in the need for re-hospitalization/medical emergencies. (See p. 18 of the 2013/2014 Certificate of Coverage)

 

    1. Too expensive
    2. Wurster mentioned that the policy seemed strange, but it remains on the books.
    3. This might be an area in which we can make a request for increased coverage.

 

 

  • Is it possible to set up an online scheduling program for Family Medicine Center?  

 

    1. No

 

 

  • Are students covered during the winter break?

 

    1. Yes.
    2. Coverage ends at midnight the day before spring semester begins, and coverage for spring semester begins at 12:01 a.m. on the first day of spring semester, so there should be no gaps in coverage during the regular school year.

 

  1. Referrals outside of network for unavailable or overbooked specialists – are they available and how do we access them?  Sometimes it takes a long time to a specialist.  What are our options and how do we ensure that we’re covered if we go outside the system?
    1. Campus Care does approve referrals for outside specialists, but you must have prior approval.  This can happen when a specialist is not available in-network, or the wait to see an in-network specialist is too long (as determined by medical necessity).
    2. Who to call for this

 

 

  • Why is the prescription cap so low when prescriptions are filled in house and don’t cost UIC as much?

 

    1. 1% of students are hitting the max for prescriptions.  Campus Care pays the pharmacy the average wholesale price, so it’s not cheaper in that regard, but they pharmacy doesn’t charge a dispensary fee as most pharmacies do, so it’s slightly cheaper in that regard.   The pharmacy will work with students to help them find cheaper alternatives.
    2. Changes to the limit may be forthcoming as the Affordable Care Act may say all health plan providers have to increase the coverage limit.

 

 

  • Why are visits to nutrition and wellness centers not covered under Campus Care?

 

    1. These are covered under the Student Health Services Fee.

 

 

  • Why can’t we access the state employee pool insurance?

 

    1. There is a law stating students cannot join that pool.

 

Questions that remain unanswered:

  1. Continuity in care:  how can you ensure that you have the same doctor when you go to Family Medicine Center?
  2. Lack of available services for pregnant women; we know several members who had to wait until around 4 months to receive a sonogram due to Campus Care’s coverage.  Why are they expected to wait so long to receive this necessary care?
  3. Can we have a formal appeal process for denied coverage or other Campus Care complaints?
  4. We understand that foot orthotics aren’t covered as a matter of course, but why aren’t they covered when they’re needed as a result of surgery?
  5. Can patients request a pediatrician specifically for newborns/children, or must they see a general practitioner at Family Medicine?
  6. Are there mental health services on West Campus?  By seeing a therapist, will our deductible drain faster?
  7. Billing is confusing – can we get a simplified explanation of benefits that’s made available through the Campus Care website?
  8. Why isn’t there urgent care during the day?  What are coverage benefits for urgent care?
  9. Why is birth control so expensive?  Why are IUDs covered but my BCP is $50 a month?
  10. Why is Campus Care not a licensed insurance plan?  How can we trust it if our coverage is so subjective?
  11. Why does it take longer to get an appt at Family Medicine if you have Campus Care as compared to if you have other insurance?

GEO Elections and General Membership Meeting

On Tuesday, April 22 from 4-5:30 pm in room 140 of Behavioral Sciences Building (BSB) the GEO is holding a general membership meeting to review the year’s activities and elect our new Steering Committee. The GMM is open to all members; the elections are open to card-signing members.   

The Steering Committee is a member-run governing body of the GEO that helps to oversee other committees, plan and run events, and make decisions for the everyday functioning of the union. Below is a list of individuals who have been nominated as Steering Committee officers. Nominations will also be accepted on the floor of the meeting as write-in candidates.

Additional voting will be held on Wednesday, April 23rd from 1-4 pm and Thursday, April 24th from 9-2 in the GEO office (815 W. Van Buren Suite 203—enter on Halsted). VOTE! 

Co-President
Karen Cralli 

Short Bio:
Karen Cralli is a PhD Student in the Department of Hispanic and Italian Studies.

Candidate Statement: 
I am running for Co-President of the GEO because I want to play an integral part in improving working conditions for UIC graduate employees. I have experienced first-hand some of the terrible deficiencies of our student health care plan, Campus Care, and have witnessed the disrespect and derision with which the university and its representatives treat us, their graduate employees.

If elected Co-President, I will continue my efforts to improve Campus Care so that no member is ever denied medically-necessary care; so that basic, comprehensive health care is available to members; and so that we, as paying members of a self-funded student health plan, have a voice in determining what services are and are not covered by our health plan.

I will also work to increase GEO membership and participation in preparation for our upcoming 2015 contract campaign. The administration’s response to United Faculty and SEIU’s labor actions sends the unequivocal message that we will need to be an even stronger, louder, and more active union if we want to obtain the contract we deserve. An active membership and an employee culture in which regular union participation is the norm are vital for the protection of our rights and working conditions. With my fellow Co-President, I will work to foster the active membership we need to win our contract battle in 2015.

Jen Phillis

Candidate Statement:
I will be starting my seventh, and hopefully final, year at UIC in the fall. I have been here for two contract campaigns and have spent the past year serving on the Steering Committee as co-Chief Steward. Much of my focus this year has been on building participation in our membership so that we can go into bargaining with a strong base ready for action.

Organizing Chair:
Andrea Herrera 

Short Bio:
I am a first year Masters student in the department of Latin American and Latino Studies. I am currently the steward for the LALS Department. I am currently living in Aurora and commute to UIC.

Candidate Statement:
I had first heard of the GEO when I was an undergraduate at UIUC. As an undergraduate I participated in the strike of 2010 by going to the picket lines in my free time. Other undergraduates and I often worked with the GEO on various issues, like supporting the SEIU during contract negotiations. The GEO also supported our organizations and events. So, I was really excited when I came to UIC knowing I was going to be an official member of the UIC GEO. I am interested in running for Organizing Chair, because I would bring some of my experience with outreach and awareness to the position. I previously worked at the Office of Volunteer Programs at UIUC and my job was to plan volunteer events, recruit people to the events, make sure they ran smoothly, and spread awareness on volunteering. I also have experience in organizing around immigration, recruitment and retention, etc. Also, whether grad students agree or disagree with the union it is important that they know their rights as employees of the University and that they know what the GEO has to offer I am committed to making sure that happens next year.

Treasurer: 
Dan Ingebretson 

Candidate Statement:
I’m looking forward to staying on as treasurer for the next year. In addition to my responsibilities of running the finances for the GEO, I plan to be active in raising support for the upcoming contract campaign.

Communication Chair:
Neri Sandoval

Short Bio:
Neri Sandoval is wrapping up his third year in the Department of English’s PhD program. His research areas include American Realism, Naturalism, and Modernism. He is also interested in the relationship between technological innovation and Aesthetic form in the context of print, television, and digital forms of distribution.

Candidate Statement:
Neri hopes to blend his prior administrative experience in the Department of African American Studies with his knowledge of Adobe’s Indesign and Photoshop programs into his term as communications chair. Because this next year will be our first official steps into contract negotiations, Neri hopes to work towards presenting the union’s communications in a professional, strategic light since public image becomes crucial in the late phases of the negotiating process. What this means in terms of specifics is tailoring communications with an awareness of the diverse structures that condition each of our respective disciplines, our working conditions as graduate students and the future employment as researchers and educators that most PhD students hope to achieve. Currently, Neri serves on the organizing committee and is developing a solidarity based Teach-In for the fall of 2014.

Chief Steward:
Aaron Finley

Candidate Statement: 
After serving as a steward for the English Department for the past three years, regularly attending bargaining sessions, and serving as a member of the organizing committee, I am running for the position of Chief Steward on the GEO Steering Committee.  I have been in regular contact with the current co-Chief Stewards concerning the achievements of the Stewards Council over the past years and have collaborated on strategies for continuing the successes of this crucial committee in the GEO.  In the coming academic year, I hope to increase the number of active stewards and work to improve the lines of communications between the Steering Committee and the various stewards who represent departments across our campus.  Over the last year, I have met personally with graduate employees in many departments, and have played a role in welcoming new stewards into the GEO.  I have no plans of stopping there; and I know that I can bring energy and experience to this leadership position as we enter into the final year of our contract.

Grievance Chair
Marissa H. Baker

Candidate Statement: 
I am currently Co-president of the GEO seeking election as Chair of the Grievance committee. I began as a steward for my department in 2011, and joined the Bargaining Committee for the 2012-13 Contract Campaign. I served as a spokesperson for the GEO during negotiations and participated in organizing during the Strike Drive. I served as Co-President for two years hoping to build on the momentum of the campaign to build a stronger, member-driven union with a strong institutional memory. During my second year as Co-President, I was a member of the grievance committee and participated in informal and formal grievance hearings. I believe I can continue to be an asset to the GEO with my experience and extensive knowledge of our contract.

Outreach Chair
Jes Cook

Short Bio:
Jes is a TA and fifth year PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology.

Candidate Statement:
I have been very involved with the GEO since starting at UIC – in my first and second year as the Organizing Chair on the Steering Committee, (also on the strike organizing committee my first year).  In my third year I continued on as a co-steward in my department and served as a liaison in various labor and immigration movement related work, including the CANG8 organizing for the NATO protest in May 2012.  This past 2 years I have served as a steward in my department and on the Steering Committee again as the Outreach Chair, a representative on the Campus Worker and Student Coalition.  I want to continue on as the Outreach chair, to continue to build on our current alliances and foster new relationships with other unions and labor related folks in seeking their support in our struggles and to support them in theirs. I am already doing some of this work through my dissertation research and through the connections I have built over the years so think I can continue to be helpful to our union if re-elected.

Secretary
Benjamin Linder

Candidate Statement:
I am a second-year PhD student in the anthropology department. If elected to next year’s GEO Steering Committee, I would look forward to engaging with the union leadership on ways of increasing support and activism, particularly in departments that have been under-represented over the past two years. As we move closer to another round of contract negotiations, it is imperative to build broad support among our bargaining unit, which we can leverage to maximize our bargaining power.

Bargaining Chair
Becky Bivens

Candidate Statement:

I hope to build a bargaining team that will write the first draft of the GEO’s demands for the next contract. The team will further communicate with the GEO membership in order to better represent employees’ interests and viewpoints–thus contributing to a stronger, more energized union that can win a fight for better wages and working conditions.

Yesterday, United Faculty reached a tentative agreement for both the tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty contracts. Details will be discussed at membership meetings (times TBD) and will be released to the public after the members vote. As a result, the strike has been averted.

Congratulations to all of the United Faculty members!

http://uicunitedfaculty.org/2014/04/strike-averted-uic-united-faculty-uic-administration-reach-tentative-agreement-first-contracts/

Being a Department Steward for the GEO presents a unique set of tensions and challenges. On the one hand, stewards are tasked with collecting and reporting on the various concerns of colleagues in the department. Simultaneously, however, stewards also impart critical information in the other direction—namely, from the GEO leadership to the general membership in individual departments. My own department (Anthropology) has a generally supportive disposition towards the GEO. We have a history of strong attendance at meetings, rallies, and GEO-sponsored social activities. This support, however, is naturally counter-balanced and mitigated by the pressured demands of graduate school. This particular tension has led me to view my stewardship position as one primarily concerned with facilitation rather than political proselytizing.

When it came to my attention that the GEO’s database did not have listed many colleagues I was sure were interested in being card-signing members of the union, I drafted the following letter politely requesting that the recipients fill out a new yellow membership card. Below is a slightly edited version of that letter:

Dear _______________,
If you are receiving this message, it means that the Graduate Employee Organization (GEO) does not have your membership information in their database. Although many of you support the union, GEO does not currently have a record of you having signed the card. If you have not signed a card, but are interested in becoming an active member, we would really like to have you. If you have filled out a card previously, I apologize for the inconvenience. Nevertheless, please take the time to fill out the yellow membership card I have enclosed, even if you have already done this before. These cards give you a voice in the union, so you are not accepting additional responsibilities by filling them out. The union represents you whether you support it or not; these cards simply ensure that you can vote and make your opinions heard.

This should be a quick and easy process, so please take a few minutes and fill this out at your earliest convenience. When you have completed the card, please return it to me ASAP. In person, on my desk, or in my mailbox are all fine. Thanks, and please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. I am happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have about becoming a card-signing member of GEO.

Sincerely,

Ben Linder
Graduate Employee Organization
Department Steward for Anthropology

I placed this letter in the recipients’ office mailboxes. While many (most?) of my anthropologist colleagues harbor generally union-friendly attitudes, the same can certainly not be said for all departments at UIC. Stewards in other departments face a different set of challenges, and these might be better met with more proactive organizing efforts. However, for many of us, stewards must carefully choose their battles. Many of our departmental colleagues are highly engaged and highly informed, though not always supportive of GEO. For this reason, antagonistic rhetoric aimed more at fashioning support through antagonism has limited value. Despite my own enthusiasm for the GEO, I must actively avoid the temptation to over-saturate the inboxes of my friends and colleagues. Many humanities and social science departments (such as Anthropology) do not represent the frontier of our organizing efforts; rather, it represents a standing army of supportive GEO members. My own efforts aim to grease the wheels of participation. Stewards in similar situations can write letters like this to make participation in union proceedings easier. Where support already exists, the steward’s role is primarily one of constant maintenance. Where support does not exist, reaching out to colleagues by direct, personalized contact will work.

When I left the above letter in my colleagues’ mailboxes, I enclosed a yellow card with personalized fields (Name, Department, etc.) already filled in. In addition to making this easier on the recipient, it simultaneously gives the (accurate) impression that I put some amount of time and effort into this mini-campaign. These are, after all, friends and colleagues. They respect personal outreach more than impersonal listserv emails.

Within a couple of days of initiating this strategy, over half of the recipients returned completed cards. Many more continued to trickle in over the course of the next two weeks. In the GEO’s continued outreach efforts, the union wants to avoid mass emails in favor of personalized forms of communication. Keeping the big picture in mind—social justice, fair contracts, safe workplaces, public universities, etc.—is crucial. But most of my time as steward is not spent discussing the big picture. The day-to-day efforts of stewards do not always require appeals to such lofty ideals. Sometimes, participation is about the signature on the yellow card. By tailoring our efforts in this way, I’m confident that we can engender the continued support of department – this is certainly the case for Anthropology . This is critical as another round of contract negotiations looms just over the horizon. When the negotiations resume, Anthropology will be there to provide input and support. By undertaking a few concerted but relatively simple tasks, we can incorporate more of our members’ voices. We would encourage interested members to take moment to send out a similar letter to the one above to their colleagues.

Yesterday, April 11th, our union brothers and sisters in Service Employees International United (SEIU) Local 73 at UIC officially filed a notice of their Intent to Strike. They have been working without a contract for almost two years yet the University has constantly stalled negotiations and have bargained unprofessionally. We are calling on all GEO members to stand in solidarity with SEIU as they fight for a fair contract.

SEIU represents the most underpaid workers on campus yet the University is offering them no raises after the top 28 University of Illinois administrators received an average 5.86 percent wage increase over the last two years on top of their already six figure salaries. The work of the clerical, technical, and maintenance workers is vital to the day-to-day operations of the University and its hospital. Without them, there would be no clean classrooms or facilities for faculty and teaching assistants to teach in, less support for patient care in the hospitals, and far less efficiency in the administrative offices across campus. UIC will not be a “World Class University” as long as it continues to depress the wages of the workers who are integral to the University’s basic functions while bloating the salaries of redundant administrators at the top.

Recently, the University of Illinois has adopted a more aggressive stance towards unions on campuses, spending increasing amounts on anti-union lawyers. Workers and unions across the country are standing up–from the University of California grad employee strike to the research assistants organizing in Michigan and the hospital workers now on strike at John Hopkins University–and fighting corporatization and austerity measures in higher education that only serve to undermine the strength of the university. But we are strong when we stand together, when we stand up for public higher education. UIC works because we—the students, faculty, and workers—do!

In solidarity,

Steering Committee
Graduate Employees’ Organization
University of Illinois at Chicago
Local 6297 IFT-AFT, AFL-CIO
www.uic-geo.net

Marissa Baker, Co-President
Gina Gemmel, Co-President
Lydia Hou, Secretary
Daniel Ingebretson, Treasurer
Davis Smith-Brecheisen, Co-Communications Chair
Jesse Holzman, Co-Communications Chair
Alyssa Greenberg, Grievance Chair
Jes Cook, Outreach Chair
Jen Phillis, Co-Chief Steward
Edgar Bering, Co-Chief Steward

President Janet Napolitano
University of California
Office of the President
1111 Franklin Street
Oakland, CA 94607

April 7, 2014

Dear President Napolitano,

The University of Illinois at Chicago Graduate Employees Organization (UIC GEO) is writing on behalf of its 1500 members to demand that you end the continuous Unfair Labor Practices against the workers of United Auto Workers Local 2865 and respect their collective bargaining agreement.

It is our understanding that the UC administration has been unwilling to bargain over key aspects of members’ employment, including class size and the number of terms (quarters, semesters) employees are able to work. These are such basic issues of working conditions and require zero monetary concerns for the university, so we do not see any insurmountable hurdles to overcome for including these in the contract. Ultimately, it is your role as an employer to provide job and economic security for your employees, and you can provide that by ending the illegal intimidation against graduate workers, and negotiate issues such as class size and the number of terms of employment. These workers 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 in the UC system, and you have the power to demonstrate that you value the contributing members of your institution by prioritizing their needs at these basic levels by providing them with fair working conditions 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 fair contract.

In Solidarity,

The Members of UIC Graduate Employees Organization

On Tuesday, April 22 from 4-5:30 pm in room 140 of Behavioral Sciences Building (BSB) the GEO is holding a general membership meeting to review the year’s activities and elect our new Steering Committee. The GMM is open to all members; the elections are open to card-signing members.

The Steering Committee is a member-run governing body of the GEO that helps to oversee other committees, plan and run events, and make decisions for the everyday functioning of the union. The list of Steering Committee officers is as follows:
Two Co-Presidents
Treasurer
Secretary
Grievance Chair
Communications Chair
Outreach Chair
Organizing Chair
Chief Steward
Bargaining Chair (At Large Officer)

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

To nominate yourself, please send an e-mail with a short biography and the position you’re running for to the Elections Committee at elections@uic-geo.net by Friday, April 18th in order to appear on the paper ballot. Nominations will also be accepted on the floor of the meeting as write-in candidates.

Additional voting will be held on Wednesday from 1-4 pm and Thursday from 9-2 in the GEO office (815 W. Van Buren Suite 203—enter on Halsted). Due to the impending United Faculty strike and possible SEIU strike, the additional voting locations have been moved off campus in solidarity with them. Vote!

Once the elections are over, please join your fellow members for the GEO End of Semester Social at Dugan’s on Halsted (128 S. Halsted) on Thursday, April 24th from 6-8 pm. All members are welcome.

If you have questions or concerns, please e-mail elections@uic-geo.net.