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

To: Indiana University Students, Staff, and Faculty

The UIC GEO stands in solidarity with the IU students, staff and faculty in their pursuit of fair and equal treatment under University guidelines. It has come to the attention of the UIC GEO that individuals at IU have come together to fight for educational justice, a struggle similar to that which we are currently enduring. UIC GEO is currently in its 11th month of bargaining for a new contract. Graduate Employees are currently paid a minimum of about $14,500, even though the administration estimates the cost of living is around $17,900. The University has over $300 million in unrestricted funds, yet will not even agree to an annual cost of living adjustment. We have recently passed an intent to strike vote, almost unanimously, and are now making plans for a strike.

The UIC GEO would like to applaud those at IU who work toward strengthening public education and its access, especially for students of color. We would also like to add that we are paying close attention to the administration’s response to movements on your campus. We find courage and strength in our struggle through your struggle with IU administration on your demands. Please know that we support
your upcoming strike.

In solidarity,
University of Illinois at Chicago Graduate Employee Organization