October 8, 2012

As of today, you have been working without a contract for 51 days. On Wednesday, October 3, after another long bargaining session during which little progress was made, the bargaining committee informed the University that GEO intends to file for mediation. The GEO bargaining committee has been meeting with the University since May 16th. On that day, the committee presented a comprehensive proposal to the University. As of today, almost five months later, the GEO has still not heard a comprehensive response. The University’s representatives have repeatedly shown up to bargaining sessions unprepared to negotiate, delaying any conversation on issues important to our members—tuition waivers, wages, fees, and health care. By filing for mediation, we are sending a message that GEO wants the University to work with us to make progress and reach an agreement.

Does that mean we don’t need to show up for bargaining sessions any more?
No. Now, more than ever, we need all our members to attend sessions with the mediator to make sure we win a fair contract that represents the needs of all our members. We will be meeting with the University to continue negotiations while we wait for a mediator to be assigned. Join us for the following events:

Next Bargaining Session:
Wednesday, October 10 at 1:00 in UH 650

Letter writing campaign to Board of Trustees:
Join us to write the Board to help us win a fair contract:
Wednesday, October 10, 12 – 2 pm, UH at Port Center
Thursday, October 11, 12 – 2 pm, Daley Library
Monday, October 15, 12 – 2 pm, BSB

Below is more information on mediation for your reference. If you have any questions or concerns about this process please don’t hesitate to contact us. I look forward to seeing you all there!

Best wishes,
Marissa Baker
Co-President & Bargaining Committee Member
UIC Graduate Employees Organization

Mediation FAQ

What is mediation?

Mediation is an occurrence in bargaining in which one or both of the parties agree to bring in a certified, third-party mediator who will help facilitate negotiations between the two sides in order to reach an agreement.

What are the benefits of mediation?

The mediator is there to ensure that negotiations move forward smoothly and that a final agreement is reached. The mediator provides a neutral communicator who can help get to the bottom of the issues being discussed. Rather than finding ourselves bogged down by miscommunications in bargaining, the mediator will help find common ground among each party’s concerns.

Who will be the mediator?

We will be requesting a mediator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service because they’re very well-trained mediators that are provided free by the federal government. They will be a neutral third-party who is trained in resolving disputes related to collective bargaining.

What will mediation look like?

It will appear slightly different from the bargaining sessions that you’ve attended in the past. Instead of sitting in the same room the whole time, we will meet with the University and the mediator and agree on issues to be discussed during that bargaining session. Then we will go to separate conference rooms to meet with our team and the mediator. The mediator will act as a go-between, communicating questions and proposals from us to the University and vice versa. The mediator can also hold conferences jointly, and everything discussed in the conferences is confidential unless otherwise stated and agreed upon.

Can I attend mediation?

Absolutely and you are encouraged to attend! Member involvement is crucial. Members who attend will have a direct say and vote in the caucus on the issues before us. Even more so, a larger presence is important to let the administration know that we are engaged and ready to win the strongest possible contract for our members. Please take the time to attend to support this important effort.

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