– August 22, 2022 –
GEO is proud to announce that we are launching a new initiative to support our graduate workers. Today, we launch the UIC GEO Hardship Fund, a resource to provide members in acute financial need with one-time grants to cover living expenses. Members in need will be eligible to apply for these grants starting in September 2022.
Although our new contract provides additional salary and protections, graduate worker budgets are still precariously balanced, and a major unexpected expense can topple them. For example, in the spring and summer 2022, grad workers in Chemistry were not paid on time, and this missing pay snowballed into last-minute debt and food insecurity. While we fight to fix such structural and administrative failures, we want to provide direct support to our workers.
If you are interested in supporting this initiative and our workers in need, please use the following link to donate:

 – July 28th, 2022 –

Our strike last Spring was an incredible success. We won what we won together, as grad workers standing in solidarity. We could never have achieved what we did without the efforts of every GEO member, but that is especially true of Matt DeVilbiss.

Matt was a steward in the math department during the 2019 GEO strike, an experience that galvanized them and instilled in them a conviction that unions are critical to advancing justice for workers. In 2020, Matt stepped up and became the Organizing Chair of GEO. Over the following two years, Matt helped develop and execute the organizing plan that buttressed our contract bargaining with the University. Matt was a tireless advocate of grad workers: they planned and coordinated events, they led a team of organizers, they had countless personal conversations with grad workers about their needs and goals. Grad workers at UIC will begin the Fall semester with better pay and stronger protections than ever before, and Matt was instrumental in that effort.

Matt holding the
LOCAL (6297) LEGEND trophy


  • AY 2022-2023: $22,590 (9.58% raise)
  • AY 2023-2024: $23,440 (3.76% raise)
  • AY 2024-2025: $24,200 (3.24% raise)

Retro Pay:

  • $2000 lump sum for those who worked Fall & Spring
  • $1000 lump sum for those who worked Spring

Strike Pay:

  • Stream-lined process to ensure no one loses pay from going on strike

Tuition & Fees:

  • Tuition waiver guaranteed in the body of the contract for the first time ever
  • $65 (50%) waiver and freeze of the international fee in the body of the contract
  • $300 relief for the general fee (incorporated into wages)
  • The right to bargain increases to the general fee in excess of $25/semester
  • Guarantee that newly created fees will be waived in the body of the contract


  • CampusCare Fee Y1: $260 (no increase)
  • CampusCare Fee Y2: $270 
  • CampusCare Fee Y3: $280
  • 25% reduction in the cost of dependent coverage for all dependents (up from 20% for 1st dependent, 10% for each additional dependent).

Leaves & Holidays:

  • 6 weeks paid parental leave (up from 2 weeks)
  • 5 sick days per semester across the board regardless of FTE (an increase of up to 3 sick days depending on FTE)
  • 5 days bereavement leave in the event of the death of an immediate family member (up from 3 days) and 1 day for an expanded list of other relations; greater flexibility to request additional bereavement leave if this policy is insufficient
  • Protections against supervisors informally discouraging grad workers from taking sick or personal days
  • Improved collection of data regarding leaves by departments

Non-Discrimination & Anti-Harassment:

  • Process for assistants who may have experienced sexual harassment or discrimination to request supportive measures with the option of union representation through this process
  • Appeal process if requests for supportive measures are denied with the option of union representation through this process
  • Protection of pay for those receiving supportive measures
  • Greater autonomy over whether reports are filed with OAE
  • Union may represent and advise an assistant who is filing a complaint of sexual harassment or discrimination
  • Notice to those filing complaints that OAE does not represent them
  • Explanation of decision by OAE to not investigate a complaint within 10 business days
  • Denunciation of workplace bullying and commitment to upholding the University Code of Conduct
  • Definition of harassment
  • Prohibition of retaliation for lawfully protected acts
  • Commitment by university to maintain websites listing locations of all gender bathrooms and lactation rooms

Recording Language:

  • University recordings will only be accessible by participants in the course for which they were created during the semester in which they were created
  • Notice will be given if recording is required for an assignment, and assistants will be able to request an assignment which does not require recording

9 Month Appointment Task Force:

  • We will convene a joint task force with the university to draft recommendations to the provost for expanding the availability of 9 month appointments

No Strike/No Lockout:

  • Incorporated a protection against employer lockout of workers into the contract, putting us on par with every other campus union

Grievance Procedure; Discipline & Dismissal:

  • New arbitrator selection process which removes a structural disadvantage for the union
  • Restructured for greater clarity and succinctness


  • Changed to reflect a recent arbitration ruling: joint RA+TA/GAs will be in the unit regardless of what percentage of the appointment is a TA/GAship

Union Rights:

  • Defended union’s access to orientations; prevented the inclusion of “voluntary” language