ICPJ Supports UM Grad Workers

Most of the University community doesn’t know that GSIs are paid only $24,053 a year. We’re asking you to circulate the letter (https://bit.ly/SupportGEO) among your departments, coworkers, classmates, and unions. ICPJ has signed the letter to support UM Grad Workers, the below is a March 13th update from the Graduate Employee Organization (GEO).

Dear GEO Allies,

In a disappointing about-face, Academic Human Resources took a step backward in negotiations last Friday. After promising discussions on topics including trans healthcare and union rights at our bargaining session on Feb. 24, HR reverted to language GEO members expressed was unacceptable. They also packaged proposals where we were close to an agreement with those where we remain far apart, making the proposals dead on arrival. In an escalatory move, AHR also called for a state mediator to return to negotiations at our next bargaining session.

After months of bargaining, grad workers want to finish our contract – and yet it feels like we’ve never been further apart. How are we supposed to negotiate when the University won’t even consider our proposals? Grads are fed up. On Tuesday, March 7, 100+ grads and supporters picketed President Ono’s inauguration to draw attention to the University’s rejection of our proposals.

Next up: the possibility of a strike. To date, organizers have collected close to 1,500 strike pledges. GEO members will meet next week to decide on a strike authorization vote. Should a strike authorization vote pass, GEO leadership will be empowered to call a strike if the University fails to meet grad workers’ needs – most importantly, a living wage for all grad workers. 

Here’s what we need allies to do: 

Instructors/Staff: In the event of a strike, we ask that you do not pick up GSI/GSSA instruction, office hours, mentoring, committee work, or grading. All faculty, staff, GSRAs, grads on fellowship, and IAs are asked to sign: https://bit.ly/GEOHoldTheLine

Undergraduates: Attend the upcoming Undergrad Labor Solidarity meeting, Thursday, March 16 at 6 PM, 1511 East Quad (701 E. University Ave): http://bit.ly/undergrad_solidarity

Everyone! Sign and share our open letter: https://bit.ly/SupportGEO. To date, over 700 individual supporters have signed and more than a dozen organizations have endorsed. Add your name and share widely! 

Mark your calendars! Important Solidarity Events

March 20: GEO Solidarity Meeting, 6 PM, meeting at the School of Social Work. Our next allies meeting will take place in person. We will be planning solidarity pickets, strike fundraising, and more. Message spacchair@geo3550.org if you can attend!    

March 21: Attend the U-M Community Strike Town Hall, 12-1, Zoom to hear about campaign developments, next steps, and solidarity asks: https://bit.ly/UMStrikeTownHall

March 23: Living Wage Now! Pack the Regents Meeting, 4-6 PM, Ruthven. GEO and allies will attend the Regents Meeting to #ShowUp for a living wage. RSVP at https://bit.ly/RegentsMeeting. All out! Wear purple! 

Followed by the Undergrad Labor Solidarity meeting at 6 PM at 1511 East Quad (701 E. University Ave).

March 24: Show Up for Open Bargaining, 9 AM – 5 PM, at Palmer Commons/Zoom. All friends of GEO are invited to observe open bargaining between Human Resources and GEO Bargaining Team. This could be the last session before a possible strike, so it promises to be spicy! https://bi.tly/bargsesh_allies

Wear purple!