Graduate Employees Organization Newsletter
Tuesday, October 20, 2015

1. General Membership Meeting (November 11 at 6 pm)
2. Elections for GEO Leadership Positions
3. Staff Transition
4. Grievance Tip
5. Meetings and Announcements

1. General Membership Meeting: Wed. Nov. 11th 6 – 7:30 pm
at the Gallery 400 Lecture Room (400 S. Peoria St)
GEO will have a general membership meeting to discuss the following issues:
Bargaining update:
Negotiations will resume on Wed. Oct. 28th from 12-5 in UH 650. We will begin by hearing a response from the University to our last proposal about Union Rights. Following that will be a discussion of Non-Discrimination to follow up on our conversation with Caryn Bills from the Office of Access and Equity. After those conversations wrap up, we will discuss economic issues, and possibly access to leave, building temperatures, and timely course assignments.
Strike drive authorization vote:
Be part of the next steps of strategy as we move forward in negotiations to ensure we have a strong contract. The Strike Drive authorization vote authorizes our union to start preparing and organizing for the possibility of a strike, but it is not an authorization for a strike. We are going to continue to work hard to communicate our needs at the bargaining table and through campaign actions, but we need to be prepared in case the membership decides we need to strike to get a fair contract. This meeting will provide us an opportunity to discuss the strike drive authorization in more detail before the vote, so we hope you will be able to join us.
We will hold elections for several leadership positions. Please see the item below for information on running for office and getting involved.
2. Elections for GEO leadership positions:
We are eager to get more members engaged in the running of our union. We have some open positions on the steering committee (listed below), which we will vote on at the GMM. But you don’t have to be a Chair to get involved! Please feel free to contact Kristin Ryan ( or Co-President Sarah Patton Moberg ( to find out more.

Bargaining Chair: Responsibilities include attending and facilitating contract negotiations, strategizing with the bargaining team, and reporting back to membership.

Communications Chair: Responsibilities include facilitating Communications Committee meetings (every two weeks), delegating tasks, and having an important role in creating and managing GEO’s messaging and online presence.

Treasurer: Responsibilities include keeping track of all union finances, maintaining budget, and serving as chair for the budget committee.

Co-President: Responsibilities include chairing Steering Committee meetings, working as a liaison to the committees, and being a spokesperson of GEO.
To nominate yourself please send an e-mail with a short biography and the position you’re running for to the Elections Committee at by Friday, Nov.6th in order to appear on the paper ballot for elections at our GMM on November 11. If you would like more information on any of these positions, please contact Kristin at Nominations will also be accepted on the floor of the meeting as write-in candidates.

3. Staff transition announcement from the Steering Committee:
We are very excited to announce that Kristin Ryan has joined us as one of our new union staff, after working in the Chicago area for many years organizing with United Food and Commercial Workers Local 881. We are grateful to have her impressive experience and energy at the GEO, and we encourage you to reach out to her with any questions or just to meet up ( Dawn Tefft, who has worked for UIC United Faculty and the American Association of University Professors, will be joining our staff on November 2. We will miss Liz Sauer and Amy Livingston, our former union staff who contributed years of their hard work and dedication to our union, but we look forward to continuing to work with them in the same broader movement for workers’ rights.

4. Grievance Tip:
All members have a right to union representation at any and all meetings where discipline or dismissal is being discussed. If a disciplinary meeting is scheduled, or if you have any questions about discipline or dismissal, contact the GEO Grievance Committee immediately at

5. Meetings and Announcements:
The Graduate Employee Organization functions most effectively when our membership is engaged. Please consider attending one of the upcoming meetings and being part of positively impacting your workplace.

Pizza parties are being planned by departments all over campus. GEO members are coordinating these gatherings to introduce themselves and talk about what GEO means to them. Want to schedule a pizza party for your department or wondering if there is already one happening? Email Kristin Ryan at

Upcoming Meetings and Events (all meetings are held at the GEO office (815 W. Van Buren, Suite 203–enter on Halsted) unless otherwise noted):

General Membership Meeting: Wednesday Nov. 11th 6:00-7:30 pm in the Gallery 400 Lecture Room (400 S. Peoria St)

Steering Committee Meeting: Thursday Oct. 29th 11:00 am in the GEO office

Organizing Committee Meeting: Thursday Oct. 22nd 4-5pm in the GEO office
Thursday Nov. 5th 4-5 pm in the GEO office

Campus Worker and Student Coalition Meeting: Thursday, Oct. 29th 5:00pm in the Illinois Federation of Teachers Office (850 W Jackson Suite 220)

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