Communications Chair
GEO member and Communications Chair Mik Czerwinski is heading off to study in Poland. He will be missed so a new Communications Chair will need to be voted on by the membership. The Communications Chair works with fellow members of the Communications Committee to plan a communications timeline, including social media posts and the GEO newsletter, and design posters and fliers. It’s more important than ever to have someone in this position since keeping your fellow members updated on bargaining is a vital part of the contract year. It’s also perfect for someone who likes to do things remotely since much of this can be done from your own computer. Interested or have questions? Email Mik and staff at communications@uic-geo.net.

Bargaining Committee
The member-run Bargaining Committee is on the front lines of the contract campaign and represents the membership at the bargaining table with the University. As part of the committee, you’ll be helping draft contract language, doing research, serving as spokesperson (if you’re interested–certainly not a requirement!), and discussing proposals with fellow members during bargaining sessions. Interested in learning more? Email Cloie McClellan, Bargaining Chair, at bargaining@uic-geo.net
See the Bargaining Team in action at the next bargaining session on Wednesday, September 9th from 12-5 p.m. in University Hall room 650! Even if you can only make it for a short time, stop by!

These positions will be voted on by the membership at the next General Membership Meeting which is Tuesday, September 15th from 6-7 pm at Gallery 400 (400 S. Peoria).

At Wednesday’s bargaining session, the University laid down several aggressive, problematic proposals regarding the following issues:

1. Tuition Waivers: Currently, under the GEO contract, all Teaching Assistants and Graduate Assistants who are covered by the contract receive a guaranteed tuition waiver. Under the University’s proposal, tuition waivers would be guaranteed only for those with appointments at the time the contract is settled. That means that during the following semester if, for example, an employee who worked as an Research Assistant becomes a new TA, a tuition waiver may not be guaranteed––it’s all up to your department and their funding situation.

2. Non-Discrimination: A University administrator is quoted as saying, in regards to the GEO’s non-discrimination proposal, “Non-Discrimination is ridiculous.”

So the question is: what do YOU want in your contract? Do you want guaranteed tuition waivers? Do you want non-discrimination protections? This is your union, your contract, so come have your say! All members are welcome and all card-signing members can vote on proposals that are passed across the table. Join us at the table on Wednesday, September 9th from 12-5 p.m. in University Hall room 650. Even if you can only come for a part of it, join us!

The Graduate Employees Organization (Local 6297, IFT/AFT, AFL-CIO) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC GEO) stands in solidarity with the parents and community members who are now on a hunger strike to protest the closing of Walter H. Dyett High School. We demand that Chicago Public Schools accept the coalition’s proposal to establish the Dyett Global Leadership and Green Technology High School.

CPS has shuttered too many public, community schools in black and brown neighborhoods in order to pass public funds to private firms. Dyett is the last remaining open enrollment high school in Bronzeville. It is unacceptable that many students on the South and West Sides have to commute long distances outside of their neighborhoods just to attend quality public schools. CPS has disinvested in schools in minority neighborhoods while North Side schools, such as Lincoln and Coonley Elementaries, receive millions in funding. The gross disparity in funding allocations and the mass school closings in 2013 demonstrate that Mayor Emanuel and CPS are committed to continuing a legacy of corrupt and racist decisions about public education. We demand that Chicago invest in every neighborhood and every child.

The need for high quality and accessible neighborhood schools that are open to all is a critical concern for Chicago residents. The Dyett hunger strikers have put their bodies on the line in order to be heard by political leaders in charge of our children’s schools. We respect and admire them for their commitment to making a better future for young Chicagoans. CPS must take action immediately to restore access to education in the Bronzeville neighborhood, and must do so in accord with the thoughtful and equitable proposals generated by this coalition.

The GEO is the union that represents teaching and graduate assistants at UIC. Many of our undergraduate students come from Chicago Public Schools. We understand firsthand the importance of a primary and secondary education that will prepare students to be successful in college. Chicago and Illinois need to invest in public education for the future of our state, but even more importantly, because well-resourced and well-funded schools are the foundation of strong communities and a strong democracy.

End the hunger strike by restoring Dyett High School to the Bronzeville community now!