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!

November 22, 2013

Will County Board,

The University of Illinois at Chicago Graduate Employees Organization (UIC GEO) is writing on behalf of its 1,500 members to demand that you respect the collective bargaining process and immediately reach an agreement with AFSCME Local 1028.

It is our understanding that Will County Board has engaged in bargaining that refuses to offer fair wages and health benefits package. The Board continues to insist that union members receive only a minor increase in pay while health care costs for the members will double. After four years with no pay increase, the members AFSCME Local 1028 deserve a fair contract that will not functionally lower their standard of living.

Everyone involved in bargaining recognizes the importance of the local employees to the day-to-day operations of the county: AFSCME Local represents more than 1,200 employees throughout the county including the court system, health department, and county sheriff. It is time for the board to recognize the work the employees perform by settling a fair contract.

On behalf of UIC GEO, we strongly urge you to take the necessary steps to negotiate with county employees. The GEO commits its support to AFSCME Local 1028 in their effort to negotiate a fair contract.

In Solidarity,

The Steering Committee of the Graduate Employees Organization

November 20, 2013

Alderman Tom Tunney
44th Ward, City of Chicago
3223 N. Sheffield Ave
Chicago, IL, 60657

Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals
121 N LaSalle St #905
Chicago, IL 60602

Dear Alderman Tunney and the Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals:

We are writing this letter to express our support for the youth and homeless services located in your ward and the congregations that sponsor and/or house them. As members of the Graduate Employees Organization, we share the vision of a diverse, united North Side of Chicago where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

We respect the efforts you have made, along with service providers, to encourage community dialogue and agreement. We want to support those efforts in any way possible.

At this point, we know that the issue of Broadway Youth Center’s use of space at Wellington UCC is at the forefront. Howard Brown Health Center and BYC have been community partners and provide a much needed service to young people struggling in our community and city. We value and support their work. Wellington UCC has been a pillar in the community for 103 years, and we support their right to meet their mission and values by housing BYC.

We want to assure you that many people in the community value these services and we encourage you to continue your strong support. Please feel free to contact us at 312-733-9641 or to discuss this further.


The Steering Committee of the UIC Graduate Employees Organization

cc: Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals
cc: Alderman Tom Tunney
cc: Howard Brown Health Center