GEO strike is over

by Beth Camplain | Mar 10, 2018
12 days after the strike began, GEO ratifies new contract.
Champaign-Urbana, IL - The strike is officially over: the Graduate Employees’ Organization (GEO) ratified a new contract. After our Bargaining Team reached a tentative agreement with the UIUC administration on March 8, 2018, GEO members voted on the proposed contract. The votes were counted late last night and the results are in: 98% of the members accepted the contract.

“Because of the dedication of the members in this union we have a contract,” said GEO Co-President Gus Wood. “Countless hours of organizing made this happen. We held the lines, we stayed positive, and we remained hopeful that we’d get the contract we deserve. I thank all of the GEO members and allies for their support through what is now the longest strike in University of Illinois history.”

American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten congratulated the GEO on their win. “Something is changing in this country because of you. Because of your solidarity, you proved that when we are unified, we are not afraid to take the risk to fight for ourselves, our families and our communities. A union makes possible what is impossible for individuals to do by themselves. You are proving that we can have a world that is fairer and that actually respects the work that working-class people do. I am so proud of all that you’ve achieved.”

“We were so inspired by the graduate workers at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and their fight to make graduate studies accessible to all,” said Dan Montgomery, President of the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT). “Going on strike is never an easy decision, and we know that GEO had exhausted every possible avenue before taking that step. Ultimately, it was their courage which pushed the administration to do what is right for all students. Graduate workers and their students will be going back to class in a new era for UIUC, one where all work is valued.”

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GEO represents approximately 2,700 graduate student employees across the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign campus. GEO’s strong and active membership works to protect high-quality, accessible public education in Illinois.