Today was our 28th bargaining session, the sixth since the strike began.
As mentioned in yesterday’s bargaining update, today’s session was proposed to GEO at the last minute, so we agreed to only meet for an hour. The administration told us they still will not consider waiving, capping, or freezing fees, except to offset the planned $50-per-semester increase to the General Fee with a matching increase to the campus minimum wage next year only. They also didn’t offer us any new proposal on wages or healthcare.
We informed them this wasn’t acceptable, and we did not schedule another meeting. Continuing their game of tag over who gave the last proposal, they asked us to stay an extra 15 minutes so they could give us the exact same proposal they gave us yesterday, before leaving. We then emailed them our same proposal from today, reminding them the ball is still in their court so there would be no confusion.
This game of “who handed the last proposal” is juvenile and inane. The reality is that we are on strike and will remain on strike until the administration takes serious action on both fees and wages, and the admins already know this very well. The people who get paid handsome sums of money to run this university have the responsibility and the authority to end this strike by giving us a fair contract, but they simply refuse to do it.
Further, it was recently brought to our attention that the administration is telling department heads to urge faculty to take on the duties of grad workers. This has already resulted in some department heads sending out innocuous-sounding emails over the last couple days asking if there’s anything they can do to support TAs or their students. This is obviously strikebreaking, but the administration is describing it as “serving our undergraduates.” But undergrads have overwhelmingly expressed their support for our strike and have directly asked the chancellor and provost to settle a fair contract. If admins really want to serve the undergraduates, they should start listening to them.
This Monday, April 1st, marks GEO’s return to regular picket lines after spring break (updated logistics document here). On Monday, we’ll have a rally in the quad at 12 followed by a free performance at 12:15 by striking musicians with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra outside the Science and Engineering Laboratory (SEL).
Everyone should return to the regular shifts they signed up for before we went on strike as well as come out for shifts at any other times they can make it. This week will be crucial to our success!
GEO Bargaining Team