Updates from the GEO
***January 16, 2018 -- 154 days since our contract expired on August 15th***
Table of Contents:
Rally for a Fair Contract this Thursday, 1/18/18
Work Action Survey
Next Bargaining Session
Communications Officer Opening
General Membership Meeting
Wear It Wednesday
CONNECT WITH GEO
On March 18, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stepped into the midst of the bitter Memphis Sanitation Strike alongside 1,300 predominantly African American workers protesting racial hostilities, the lack of worker protections and low pay in the city. Recognizing that only one tactic would secure a better existence for all Memphis citizens, King delivered his “All Labor Has Dignity Speech” to not only strengthen the month-old picket line, but also to build collective solidarity across racial lines, space, gender, and labor:
“I tell you what you ought to do, and you are together here enough to do it: In a few days, you ought to get together and just have a general work stoppage in the city of Memphis…And you let that day come and not a Negro in this city will go to any job downtown…”
With this method, over 45,000 workers and citizens united in Memphis, supported each other’s struggles, and won full union recognition and wage increases for the sanitation workers. We can win too.
We write to you today, GEO members, because we must now consider this method to secure protections for all of us, our undergraduate students, and the quality of education at this university. Regardless of your department or status, our contract fight affects all of us. Therefore, we must combine our individual struggles into one collective solidarity of support for each other as a work stoppage becomes a possible reality. Both our Strike Committee and Bargaining Team are actively discussing filing the “Intent to Strike” paperwork with the Illinois Labor Board if our bargaining session this Thursday does not yield substantial movement. Let us be clear: The University of Illinois Provost, Chancellor, and Bargaining Team pushed us to a potential strike. They refuse to take us seriously. They lack respect for our labor. They disregard our need for economic stability. They pass proposals that reduce our contract protections, refuse to bargain wages, and threaten our tuition waiver protection language. We will continue to seek paths to avoid a strike, including filing an Unfair Labor Practice Charge against the University administration for failing to bargain wages and making substantial movement in our economic proposal.
However, GEO members, we must fully prepare to strike this campus. Starting now, every day of this semester is crucial for our building power through signing up new members, committing to strike if we choose to do so, and supporting each other throughout the campus. Our amazing committees continue to work tirelessly on our plan to secure the best graduate employee contract in the history of the GEO. We need every GEO member and ally to come to the rally this Thursday, commit to securing full support in our departments, educate our undergrads, come to our GMMs for organizing/strike training, and utilize our communication networks to secure the truth about bargaining and the strike. The University Administration will promote false narratives and misrepresentations of GEO over the next weeks; therefore, always look to our GEO-Ls, press releases, and text messages to receive the most accurate and up to date information. We have practiced full transparency throughout these contract negotiations and we will continue to do so.
We thank you all for all your hard work last year and the monumental work we will do together in 2018. This is the year GEO improves the quality of life on campus for all workers, students, staff, and faculty. This is the year that GEO demonstrates that our labor will be respected and our economic stability is primary to the function and business of this university. Believe in each other, support each other, commit to each other, and be accountable: we will win.
Gus Wood and Marilia Correa,
Co-Presidents, Graduate Employees Organization UIUC
Local 6300 IFT/AFT, AFL-CIO
Rally for a Fair Contract
Join GEO for a rally at the Alma Mater at noon on Thursday, January 18, 2018 for a rally, followed by a march to the Swanlund Administration Building. GEO will provide signs, flyers, as well as GEO beanies. Come fight for the fair contract you deserve! For more information, see the Facebook event.
Work Action Survey - Final Reminder
If you are a member of the GEO bargaining unit, you should have received an email with a link to our brief Work Action Survey. This survey allows us to see which issues our members feel most passionately about, and in particular which issues our members are willing to go on strike for. If you did not receive a link, please email us at email@example.com. This survey was initially sent out last semester, so thank you if you’ve already responded.
Next Bargaining Session
Our next mediation session with the Administration is scheduled for Thursday, January 18 at 9am at the Illinois Fire Services Institute (11 Gerty Dr, Champaign, IL 61820). All members are welcome to attend.
Open Position: Communications Officer
We have an opening for the position of Communications Officer. The Communications Officer leads the GEO Communications Committee. The Communications Committee is in charge of keeping the bargaining unit informed, communicating with the press, and organizing GEO’s representation on social media. This is a great opportunity for anyone who is passionate about GEO’s mission. If you have an interest in being the next Communications Officer, please email the GEO at firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact information. All GEO members are eligible to put their names forward for the position.
Celebrate surviving the first week back by unwinding with GEO and playing a few games! Bring a friend and your favorite board game, video game, or card game (if there's anything specific you want to play). We'll have decks of cards, checkers, Scrabble, HALO, child-friendly toys, and more! Food and drinks (non-alcoholic) will be provided. Join us on Friday, January 19th from 6pm-8pm at the GEO Office (809 S Fifth Street, Champaign, Geneva Room). Check out the Facebook event here.
General Membership Meeting
Come to the next weekly General Membership Meeting at the Channing Murray Foundation on Wednesday, January 25 at 6:30 pm. At these meetings, we will work on growing our power to win a better contract through sharing information, organizing training, and more. Pizza will be provided!
Wear It Wednesday
Every Wednesday, wear your GEO shirt or pin for “Wear it Wednesday”! Take a photo and post it with the tag #WearItWednesday to share with us on Instagram or Twitter.
Work-in Wednesdays will be resuming soon. Keep an eye on our Facebook for the next one!
CONNECT WITH GEO!
Text the word “GEO” to 69238 to receive periodic messages concerning crucial bargaining updates and other urgent information. Msg & data rates may apply. Text STOP to 69238 to stop receiving messages. Text HELP to 69238 for more information. Terms & Conditions.
Graduate Employees’ Organization
809 S. 5th St., Geneva Room
Champaign, IL 61820
This is a newsletter for members about our recent news and events. The Graduate Employees’ Organization (GEO), IFT/AFT local 6300, AFL-CIO, is a member-run labor union and represents Teaching and Graduate Assistants (TAs and GAs) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.