15 Mar Updated Guidance: Supporting Grad Workers on Strike
From our grad worker colleagues and fellow union members with UIC GEO, further guidance on how you can support them as they prepare to strike for a fair contract.
UIC GRAD WORKERS DEMAND A FAIR CONTRACT NOW!
The Graduate Employees Organization (GEO) is the union representing over 1500 Teaching Assistants and Graduate Assistants at UIC. We have been negotiating a new labor contract with the University administration since March 1, 2018, and we have now announced our intent to strike on March 19. The administration has until then to respond with a fair contract with living wages, more take-home pay, and clear hiring policies.
Specifically, we are fighting for:
● Living wages: Grad workers at UIC are among the lowest paid grad workers in Chicago, making $10,000 less than our colleagues at other Research 1 universities in the city.
● Fee waivers: UIC grad workers have to pay nearly $2,000 in fees every year. That’s over 10% of our income, amounting to wage theft. We shouldn’t have to pay to work here!
● Appointment/reappointment policies: Grad workers often have no idea how hiring/rehiring decisions are made, leading to favoritism, discrimination, and retaliation in our departments.
Of these the demands, the university has outright refused to give us any proposal on fee waivers and re-appointment policies, and has offered us a “raise” that does not keep up with the cost of inflation, which would actually be a pay decrease in real dollars. We deserve better.
Here’s how your union/organization can help:
● Donate to/share our strike fund: We have set up a strike fund to make sure we can outlast the administration. If your union/organization could please donate to our fund and share this widely to help us get donations, that would be a HUGE help. You can also mail a check donation to the following address:
C/o Noah Glaser
815 W Van Buren, Ste 203
Chicago, IL 60607
● Send a statement of support: Please send your statement of support to either Jeff Schuhrke or Anne Kirkner, our co-presidents, at firstname.lastname@example.org or to our Executive Director Dawn Tefft at email@example.com
● Join us on the picket lines: Unless the administration decides to give us a fair contract before we intend to strike, we will be out on the picket lines starting Tuesday, March 19, and every day afterwards, until we get the fair contract we deserve. We will be on the picket lines from 8:50am-4:00pm on M/W/F, and 9:20am-4:00pm on T/TH. If you can, please join us on the picket lines in solidarity with us!
● Come to our rally: We are planning to hold a big rally on East Campus on March 20 around noon. Please come to support during this rally if you can.
We call on the administration to listen to our demands and build a better UIC for graduate student workers! #WeNeedGEO #WeSeeUIC #FairContractNow #uicUnionPower