– April 13th, 2022 –

GEO has now been in contract negotiations with UIC administration for over a year. We have made progress on some topics and GEO is committed to finding compromises, but the university’s bargaining team still refuses to address some of the union’s most pressing concerns. UIC is proposing salaries of $3000/yr less than what GEO is asking (and less than what grad workers at other Chicago schools make), no fee relief whatsoever, and increased health care costs. UIC still reserves the right to lock grad workers out of their offices, labs, and classrooms and will not include the union in the accommodations process for survivors of discrimination, harassment, and bullying. It is for all these reasons and more that GEO has called for a graduate worker strike. Grad workers at UIC will be going on strike starting Monday, April 18th.

Please show your support by signing on to our letter-writing campaign here consider donating to our strike fund here.

– April 1st, 2022 –

Voting closed earlier today and the results were decisive. A larger percentage of members came out to vote to authorize a strike than in 2019 and 97% of voters voted to authorize. The message was loud and clear–GEO is ready to strike, and we will win.

Read the letter from GEO’s president, Jared O’Connor, to the membership below:

Dear members of GEO,

After three days of in-person and virtual voting to authorize a strike, the results are finalized!
We had a large percentage of our membership turning out for the vote and overwhelmingly our members voted in FAVOR to authorize a strike if necessary.
This means that the membership has authorized the GEO steering committee to call a strike if it becomes necessary.
Thank you to everyone who voted in this important matter. We are proud of the membership turnout and believe these numbers show the commitment of our members to fight for a living wage, elimination of fees, and protections for survivors. Our union is only as strong as our membership, and our union is strong!
We will be meeting with the university for our next Bargaining Session on Thursday 4/7 from 12-6pm. We hope the university’s proposals will reflect the will of our membership. The link for this meeting will be available in our weekly newsletter.
But for now, we hope you enjoy your weekend!
In solidarity,
Jared O’Connor

– March 9th, 2022 –

In a letter to the membership today, GEO’s steering committee called for a vote to authorize a strike. Read the letter below:

Dear graduate worker,

We’ve been hearing recently from faculty allies that the university is telling them to prepare for a GEO strike. This can only mean one thing: the university has no intention of ending these negotiations in any way other than a strike.

And it shows. We’ve been in bargaining for almost a year and there’s still a lot of daylight between us. We’re still demanding $5000 more per year than they’re offering. We’re still demanding full fee elimination while they haven’t brought a single proposal on fees yet. We’re still demanding universal nine-month appointments and sorely needed protections for survivors of sexual assault, harassment, and discrimination–they have simply thrown up their hands at these proposals, eager to maintain their dysfunctional status quo.

The university administrators hope they can just dig in their heels and wait for us to give up; they have no intention of giving grad workers a fair contract. But we can make them. If it’s a strike they want, it’s a strike they’ll get.

Today, GEO’s steering committee is formally calling for a strike authorization vote. The vote will be held both online and in-person between Wednesday, March 30th and Friday, April 1st. GEO members make up 10% of UIC’s entire workforce and over half of its teachers. UIC cannot function without graduate labor and we need to show them that a strike would grind UIC to a halt by getting out to vote in huge numbers.

Voting is limited to members only. If you aren’t yet a member, you can sign a membership card here: https://uic-geo.net/mainsite/?page_id=2325

If a strike is authorized it does not automatically mean GEO will be on strike, and we will continue to try to resolve our differences at the bargaining table. Indeed, the more people who come out to vote, the less likely it’ll be that we have to go on strike: the university will be able to see the writing on the wall.

In Solidarity,
GEO Steering Committee