Guidance on Faculty Conduct During a Grad Worker Strike

08 Mar Guidance on Faculty Conduct During a Grad Worker Strike


The UIC Graduate Employees Organization (GEO), which represents Teaching Assistants and Graduate Assistants, intends to begin their indefinite strike on Tuesday March 19th, 2019 (assuming contract negotiations continue to be stalled). This guide describes how faculty can support GEO, as well as the legal rights of striking workers which must be respected.

The following activities are both legally permissible and recommended by UIC GEO and UICUF for faculty who wish to support striking graduate workers:

  • Avoid crossing picket lines between ~9am and 4pm (detailed hours and location of the pickets below)
    • Consider alternative forms of teaching (e.g. on-line/virtual meeting)
    • Move classes to either evening hours, to an off campus location, or to non-struck buildings, if possible and allowed under your unit’s policy.
  • Don’t perform, or hire replacement workers to perform, duties assigned to TAs or GAs
  • Join GEO members on picket lines when not working.
  • Donate to GEO’s strike fund and share this link among your personal social networks.
  • Wear GEO pins, shirts and other items that demonstrate solidarity in your workplace.
  • Talk to students about why GEO is striking, including fair wages, fee waivers, and appointment transparency.

Union membership, organizing in the workplace, and taking part in a strike are all legally protected activities. Broadly, participation in these activities cannot be punished, interfered with, restrained, or discouraged by an employer. We recommend that faculty be especially mindful of the following legal protections for striking grad workers:

  • It is unlawful to fire, discipline, or retaliate against grad workers for participating in a strike or union activity.
  • It is unlawful to ask grad workers to inform anyone in advance of participating in a strike or union activity.
  • It is unlawful to record or threaten to record the names of grad workers participating in a strike or union activity.
  • It is unlawful to discriminate against, restrain, or coerce grad workers regarding union membership or activity.  


  • Picket lines will be at the following days and times:
    • 8:50am-12pm and 1pm-4pm Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays
    • 9:20am-12:30pm and 1:30pm-4:00pm Tuesdays and Thursdays
  • The buildings that will be struck between the hours of 9am and 4pm are as follows:
    • University Hall (UH)
    • Behavioral Sciences Building (BSB)
    • Lecture Centers A, B, C, D, E, and F
    • The East Campus Library
    • Grant, Douglas, Lincoln, Taft, Burnham, Adams, and Stevenson Halls (GH, DH, LH, TH, BH, AH, SH)
    • Science and Engineering Labs (SEL)
    • Science and Engineering South (SES)
    • Engineering Research Facility (ERF)
    • Education, Theatre, Music, and Social Work (ETMSW)
    • Public Health

As fellow union members, we thank you in advance for respecting the rights of organized graduate employees during any upcoming labor actions, and encourage you to lend your support outside the classroom as you are able.

If you have any questions, please email