GEO Elections and General Membership Meeting

On Tuesday, April 22 from 4-5:30 pm in room 140 of Behavioral Sciences Building (BSB) the GEO is holding a general membership meeting to review the year’s activities and elect our new Steering Committee. The GMM is open to all members; the elections are open to card-signing members.   

The Steering Committee is a member-run governing body of the GEO that helps to oversee other committees, plan and run events, and make decisions for the everyday functioning of the union. Below is a list of individuals who have been nominated as Steering Committee officers. Nominations will also be accepted on the floor of the meeting as write-in candidates.

Additional voting will be held on Wednesday, April 23rd from 1-4 pm and Thursday, April 24th from 9-2 in the GEO office (815 W. Van Buren Suite 203—enter on Halsted). VOTE! 

Karen Cralli 

Short Bio:
Karen Cralli is a PhD Student in the Department of Hispanic and Italian Studies.

Candidate Statement: 
I am running for Co-President of the GEO because I want to play an integral part in improving working conditions for UIC graduate employees. I have experienced first-hand some of the terrible deficiencies of our student health care plan, Campus Care, and have witnessed the disrespect and derision with which the university and its representatives treat us, their graduate employees.

If elected Co-President, I will continue my efforts to improve Campus Care so that no member is ever denied medically-necessary care; so that basic, comprehensive health care is available to members; and so that we, as paying members of a self-funded student health plan, have a voice in determining what services are and are not covered by our health plan.

I will also work to increase GEO membership and participation in preparation for our upcoming 2015 contract campaign. The administration’s response to United Faculty and SEIU’s labor actions sends the unequivocal message that we will need to be an even stronger, louder, and more active union if we want to obtain the contract we deserve. An active membership and an employee culture in which regular union participation is the norm are vital for the protection of our rights and working conditions. With my fellow Co-President, I will work to foster the active membership we need to win our contract battle in 2015.

Jen Phillis

Candidate Statement:
I will be starting my seventh, and hopefully final, year at UIC in the fall. I have been here for two contract campaigns and have spent the past year serving on the Steering Committee as co-Chief Steward. Much of my focus this year has been on building participation in our membership so that we can go into bargaining with a strong base ready for action.

Organizing Chair:
Andrea Herrera 

Short Bio:
I am a first year Masters student in the department of Latin American and Latino Studies. I am currently the steward for the LALS Department. I am currently living in Aurora and commute to UIC.

Candidate Statement:
I had first heard of the GEO when I was an undergraduate at UIUC. As an undergraduate I participated in the strike of 2010 by going to the picket lines in my free time. Other undergraduates and I often worked with the GEO on various issues, like supporting the SEIU during contract negotiations. The GEO also supported our organizations and events. So, I was really excited when I came to UIC knowing I was going to be an official member of the UIC GEO. I am interested in running for Organizing Chair, because I would bring some of my experience with outreach and awareness to the position. I previously worked at the Office of Volunteer Programs at UIUC and my job was to plan volunteer events, recruit people to the events, make sure they ran smoothly, and spread awareness on volunteering. I also have experience in organizing around immigration, recruitment and retention, etc. Also, whether grad students agree or disagree with the union it is important that they know their rights as employees of the University and that they know what the GEO has to offer I am committed to making sure that happens next year.

Dan Ingebretson 

Candidate Statement:
I’m looking forward to staying on as treasurer for the next year. In addition to my responsibilities of running the finances for the GEO, I plan to be active in raising support for the upcoming contract campaign.

Communication Chair:
Neri Sandoval

Short Bio:
Neri Sandoval is wrapping up his third year in the Department of English’s PhD program. His research areas include American Realism, Naturalism, and Modernism. He is also interested in the relationship between technological innovation and Aesthetic form in the context of print, television, and digital forms of distribution.

Candidate Statement:
Neri hopes to blend his prior administrative experience in the Department of African American Studies with his knowledge of Adobe’s Indesign and Photoshop programs into his term as communications chair. Because this next year will be our first official steps into contract negotiations, Neri hopes to work towards presenting the union’s communications in a professional, strategic light since public image becomes crucial in the late phases of the negotiating process. What this means in terms of specifics is tailoring communications with an awareness of the diverse structures that condition each of our respective disciplines, our working conditions as graduate students and the future employment as researchers and educators that most PhD students hope to achieve. Currently, Neri serves on the organizing committee and is developing a solidarity based Teach-In for the fall of 2014.


Grievance Chair
Marissa H. Baker

Candidate Statement: 
I am currently Co-president of the GEO seeking election as Chair of the Grievance committee. I began as a steward for my department in 2011, and joined the Bargaining Committee for the 2012-13 Contract Campaign. I served as a spokesperson for the GEO during negotiations and participated in organizing during the Strike Drive. I served as Co-President for two years hoping to build on the momentum of the campaign to build a stronger, member-driven union with a strong institutional memory. During my second year as Co-President, I was a member of the grievance committee and participated in informal and formal grievance hearings. I believe I can continue to be an asset to the GEO with my experience and extensive knowledge of our contract.

Outreach Chair
Jes Cook

Short Bio:
Jes is a TA and fifth year PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology.

Candidate Statement:
I have been very involved with the GEO since starting at UIC – in my first and second year as the Organizing Chair on the Steering Committee, (also on the strike organizing committee my first year).  In my third year I continued on as a co-steward in my department and served as a liaison in various labor and immigration movement related work, including the CANG8 organizing for the NATO protest in May 2012.  This past 2 years I have served as a steward in my department and on the Steering Committee again as the Outreach Chair, a representative on the Campus Worker and Student Coalition.  I want to continue on as the Outreach chair, to continue to build on our current alliances and foster new relationships with other unions and labor related folks in seeking their support in our struggles and to support them in theirs. I am already doing some of this work through my dissertation research and through the connections I have built over the years so think I can continue to be helpful to our union if re-elected.

Benjamin Linder

Candidate Statement:
I am a second-year PhD student in the anthropology department. If elected to next year’s GEO Steering Committee, I would look forward to engaging with the union leadership on ways of increasing support and activism, particularly in departments that have been under-represented over the past two years. As we move closer to another round of contract negotiations, it is imperative to build broad support among our bargaining unit, which we can leverage to maximize our bargaining power.

Bargaining Chair
Becky Bivens

Candidate Statement:

I hope to build a bargaining team that will write the first draft of the GEO’s demands for the next contract. The team will further communicate with the GEO membership in order to better represent employees’ interests and viewpoints–thus contributing to a stronger, more energized union that can win a fight for better wages and working conditions.

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