GEO Local 6300 IFT/AFT AFL-CIO at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

News and GEO-L

Member Communications

Welcome Back Party, First GMM of the Semester, and More


***September 5, 2018***

Table of Contents:

  • Welcome New Members

  • Coffee and Contracts on the quad today (9/5)

  • Welcome Back Party on 9/14

  • Marching with (Union) Pride on 9/15

  • First General Membership Meeting on 9/20

  • Labor Day Parade Grand Marshals!

  • Questions about Healthcare

  • Get Involved in a Committee!



Between classes, research, and teaching, we know the beginning of the semester as a new graduate employee and student can feel like an avalanche of stress, but GEO connects us to the world beyond our office windows. The GEO community supports us as we move through graduate school, because we’ve all been there, navigating new lives amidst the cornfields of Illinois. There are so many ways to get involved, a few of which we’ve outlined below, but however you choose to #stickwithyourunion, we can’t wait to meet you!

Orientation is over, but our work is not done! We believe that every graduate student deserves to be heard, so our organizers will be visiting your offices (or labs!) to talk to you one-on-one about your union. Do you know your department/program has a GEO steward? Feel free to approach them to learn more! You can always email us at or message us on Facebook or Twitter.

You should also feel welcome to visit the GEO office at any time, which is located in the Geneva Room of the McKinley Foundation on 5th and Daniel. Though the office is often open during normal business hours, the best time to stop by without an appointment is Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1pm to 4:30pm. Our Co-Presidents, Bruce Kovanen and Hilary Gross, will also be holding an open coffee or tea hour on Thursdays at 2pm. Ask questions, share ideas, voice concerns, or just have a chat! Your GEO officers and staff work for you, so don’t be afraid to stop by.

For an electronic version of our orientation materials, please follow the link to the PDF here. This packet has important information about your union, your contract, your healthcare, your rights as a parent and/or international student, and much more. You may also find our “Unofficial Guide” useful as you navigate life in Chambana.



GEO officers will be tabling today, September 5th, from 10 am to 2 pm in the Anniversary Plaza on the Main Quad for Contracts & Coffee! Come grab a cup of (iced) coffee and a copy of our contract and have all your important questions answered. We’ll also be handing out GEO swag -- just in time for #WearItWednesday! For more information on the event check out our facebook page.



Join us at the GEO Welcome Back Party at 8:30 PM on Friday, September 14th at the Independent Media Center IMC (202 S Broadway Ave, Urbana). Here is the facebook event. There will be free snacks (veggie, vegan, and gluten-free options included) and free local beer. If you're new to campus, this will be a great opportunity to meet other UIUC grad students! 

This party is for GEO members only (and their +1s), but if you aren't a member, don't worry, you can sign up at the door. Here's an online sign up if you would like to do this in advance:

The Green, Grey and Silver bus lines will drop you off at the Lincoln Square Garage, which is right across the street from the IMC. Go ahead, take the night off, and have a fun evening with your peers!



Join the GEO as we march in solidarity in the C-U Pride Parade on September 15th at 5:00 PM. The march will take place in downtown Champaign for the UP Center’s Pridefest 2018. Look for more details on GEO social media as we get closer to the 15th. If you’d like to sign up now to march in the parade and help represent the union, you can fill out the sign-up form here.



Our first General Membership Meeting will be held on September 20th at 6:00 PM at the Channing Murray Foundation. We will be voting on our annual budget, and discussing our next steps after our recent victories in the Spring strike. Please attend for more information about GEO and to learn how to get involved. 



In honor of our strike victory last spring, GEO acted as Grand Marshals of the Annual Champaign County Labor Day Parade! Despite the heat, our members showed up and showed off. And marching through the Urbana streets, chanting, and singing songs sure brought back some wonderful #StrikeMemories!



We know you have questions about what healthcare options are offered by our current contract, and we remain committed to guaranteed accessible and affordable healthcare for all graduate students. Our Healthcare Working Group is a member-led caucus that works towards informing members and organizing around our healthcare. If you have any questions about your healthcare or are interested in working towards improving it, you can contact the Healthcare Working Group at!  



We are a member-run union! GEO Committees have a lot of important work to do and need your help! Below you’ll find details about what each Committee committee does and how to contact them. No special knowledge is required. You can follow the calendar of events on our website for the date and time of upcoming meetings: Meetings are open to membership, and coming to a meeting does not commit you to joining a committee. 

Communications Committee
The Communications Committee produces GEO-Ls and flyers, manages GEO’s social media, responds to interview requests, designs and orders swag, and more! They need people with a variety of skills, and they’d love to have you! You can help with writing and editing GEO-Ls, managing our social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook), being our media liaison, and archiving our history. The next Communications Committee meeting is on Thursday, September 13th at 5 PM at the GEO Office, but make sure to check the calendar for up to date information! If you are interested in joining the Communications Committee, email or just come to a meeting! 

Grievance Committee
The months after a contract is signed are the busiest time for the Grievance Committee. They are working hard defending members who are already experiencing violations of the new contract. As one of our smallest committees, they could use your help doing this essential work! Make sure to check the calendar for up to date information about their next meeting. If you are interested in joining the Grievance Committee, email or just come to the next meeting.

Stewards’ Council
The Stewards’ Council (SC) is the primary organizing and planning body of GEO. This is where representatives from across campus come together to discuss the needs of our membership. Right now, stewards are getting started with office visits and organizing beginning-of-year events. Become a steward and help GEO organize across campus! Their next meeting time is being scheduled, so make sure to check the calendar for up to date information. If you are interested in becoming a Steward, email or just come to the next meeting!

Solidarity Committee
The Solidarity Committee performs crucial outreach both across and beyond the labor community. SolComm is especially important in a post-Janus world and could use some more members! Over the summer, SolComm worked on various summer community events and statements of solidarity. The next Solidarity Committee meeting is on Monday, September 10th at 5 PM at the GEO Office. If you are interested in joining the Solidarity Committee, please email or just come to the next meeting.

NEW Constitutional Committee
Interested in structure and community values? Like clarifying procedures and logistics? Just want to know more about GEO? Join the newly formed Constitutional Committee to work on updating our Constitution and By-Laws! The Constitutional Committee needs members who are interested in developing a proposal to present to our general membership in the fall for review and ratification. Contact if you’re interested in getting involved.

NEW Finance Committee

The newly formed Finance Committee is tasked with accounting, reporting to members on how dues are spent, fundraising, and connecting members to emergency financial support provided in the community. Email if you would like to pitch in!




Twitter: @geo_uiuc

Facebook: @uigeo  @geosolcomm

Instagram: @geo_uiuc

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In Solidarity,

Graduate Employees’ Organization

809 S. 5th St., Geneva Room

Champaign, IL 61820


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