Winning strong contracts and advocating for the rights and needs of members between bargaining years takes work from all grad workers, and your participation is crucial for all campaigns and efforts. In addition to participating in mass actions and recruiting coworkers you know to participate in these actions, you can become a department steward or join a committee/caucus.
Below, you can see the type of work each committee undertakes. To take action, fill this form and another grad student will be in touch with you to help you find the most suitable way you can take action!
General Membership Meetings (GMMs)
There will be at least two General Membership Meetings (GMMs) during the fall and winter semesters. All grad workers should attend GMMs regularly; a union of workers will only have power if the decisions are made collectively.
Departmental stewards and active members hold regular department meetings to have a frank discussion about the working conditions in their departments and share information about the rights and benefits we enjoy. To find out when your next department meeting is, contact your steward. A full list of current stewards is available at the Stewards Directory.
Stewards are the first point of contact between graduate workers and the union. They represent the interests of their department within GEO and they keep their department updated and informed on GEO activities and events. Ideally, there is one steward per fifteen grad workers in a department. Stewards can represent a whole department or multiple stewards can represent their own subfields or cohorts, depending on the department culture. You can reach out to your steward for any questions or concerns regarding your employment or graduate student experience. Find your current stewards at the Stewards Directory. Don’t have a steward? Consider becoming one! Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Organizing Committee (OC) | email@example.com
Organizing Committee members are responsible for member recruitment, engagement and participation. We ask nonmembers about their working and living conditions and bring them into the community of graduate workers. We facilitate opportunities for graduate workers to advocate for themselves as a collective and build relationships among union members so we are strong enough to confront University management when we need to.
Solidarity and Political Action Committee (SPAC) | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Solidarity and Political Action Committee (SPAC) keeps GEO rooted in local political work and county, state, and national labor solidarity. SPAC is committed to making GEO inclusive and affirming for all members. SPAC creates solidarity statements, mobilizes members to picket lines and demonstrations, and works in coalition for social, economic, and racial justice. If you want to be involved in your union’s fight for social justice, join SPAC!
Communications Committee (Comms) | email@example.com
The Communications Committee (Comms) oversees external and partner communications, and assists with some internal communications. Members of this committee contribute to the creation of materials that communicate union goings-on to the membership and wider community. If you have a creative side, a knack for social media, or ideas about communicating in a hybrid world, we want you!
Grievance Committee | firstname.lastname@example.org
Grievance Committee is responsible for enforcing the contract and assisting workers in managing workplace issues – also known as the “problem solving committee.” We educate and support members on both formal and informal mechanisms to solve issues. If your rights have been violated or if you want to advocate for others, contact us.
Contract Committee | email@example.com
Contract Committee is responsible for fighting for a better contract for ourselves. In Contract Committee, you can help develop new contract proposals to secure the rights and compensation you deserve! Contract Committee’s focus changes year-to-year, depending on what stage in the contract cycle we are (developing new demands, negotiating the contract, or enforcing it).
Finance Committee | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Finance Committee advises and makes decisions with the Treasurer on matters concerning the financial health and sustainability of the union. If you’re interested in the union’s budget and financial decisions, this committee is a good fit for you.
Tech Committee | email@example.com
The Tech Committee works on technology-related tasks within GEO, including maintaining the GEO website and Discord, facilitating software and hardware needs, and building out codebases for data analysis on GitHub, among others. If you have an interest in doing technical work to strengthen our collective power heading into the next contract campaign, email to join!
GEO caucuses work to address a variety of issues affecting graduate students at the University of Michigan. Caucuses vary in their activity level and they work to address specific issues graduate students are experiencing in the moment. Any GEO worker can form a caucus to address issues or topics they care about including, but not limited to, students of color, disability access, women, gender, the environment, masters students, and GSRAs. If you would like to work on a particular issue, don’t hesitate to reach out. The following caucuses are working on active campaigns.
Abolition Caucus | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Abolition Caucus works toward the realization of a workplace and university community in which campus safety is determined by students, staff, and workers, not the Regents. They develop contract demands, provide political education within the union, and support community campaigns to transform public safety at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, and throughout Washtenaw County. The Caucus developed out of the Emergency Policing Working Group and the September 2020 strike.
Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Caucus | BIPOCchair@geo3550.org
Currently inactive and in need of new leaders.
The Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Caucus is a space for thinking through and organizing around the intersections of race and labor. The BIPOC Caucus exists to amplify the voices of people of color within this union and in the larger University of Michigan community, including but not limited to the voices of undergraduates and staff. Participation in the Caucus is limited to grad students of color.
Climate Caucus | email@example.com
Currently inactive and in need of new leaders.
The Climate Caucus examines how the university contributes to the climate crisis and advocates for greater prioritization of environmental needs. Current projects include working with city council and the University around improving local bike transit corridors and public transportation access, supporting advocacy for public power in Ann Arbor, and partnering with other local unions to consider and prioritize workers in the transition to renewables through Huron Valley Area Labor Federation’s Just Transition Committee.
COVID Caucus | firstname.lastname@example.org
The COVID Caucus advocates for graduate students’ safety in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The caucus works closely with other committees and caucuses to respond to graduate students’ needs and the University’s responses. New members are always more than welcome, so please feel free to join!
Disability Caucus | email@example.com
The Disability Caucus works to address all three Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) components when it comes to GSIs and students with disabilities at UM. This year, they’ll work to ensure that workers with disabilities have everything they need to be teachers and researchers and assist people through the accommodations procedure.
Feminist Caucus | firstname.lastname@example.org
The feminist caucus’s primary focus is improving campus climate and culture around gendered violence, harassment and discrimination. This year, they will work on finding improvements both inside and outside of our employment contract and prepare for a joint committee with the University on a Workplace Free from Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct.
Housing Caucus | email@example.com
The Housing Caucus is dedicated to pursuing housing justice in and around the University of Michigan. The caucus’ largest current project, being pursued in conjunction with Huron Valley Democratic Socialists of America (HVDSA) and Ann Arbor Tenants Union (AATU), is the passage of a just cause eviction law in Ann Arbor, which, if passed by city council, would guarantee renters significantly more housing security within and across leasing cycles. Additional projects include canvassing and supporting graduate students living in the University of Michigan’s Northwoods graduate residences.
International Graduate Students (IGSI) Caucus | firstname.lastname@example.org
The International Graduate Students (IGSI) Caucus troubleshoots issues specific to International GSIs. This year, the caucus is holding meetings to focus on contract issues related to IGSIs and make sure international student voices are represented during conversations around COVID and remote teaching!
Masters Caucus | email@example.com
GEO’s Masters Caucus represents the concerns of masters-level student workers (i.e., folks getting a JD, MA, MBA, MPH, MPP, MS, MSW, or a dual degree) within the Graduate Employees Organization and to the university administration.
Parents & Caregivers Caucus| firstname.lastname@example.org
The Parents & Caregivers Caucus advocates for the needs of grad students with dependents. Join the listserv to attend a future meeting or share experiences and needs of parents, prospective parents, carers of adult dependents and expectant carers. For example, in 2020 – 2021 they focused on concerns around COVID and remote teaching.
Trans Health Caucus | email@example.com
The Trans Health Caucus is advocating for trans accessible healthcare coverage for graduate students and the wider trans community.
At the end of each academic year, the GEO membership elects Constitutional Officers and the Stewards’ Council elects Committee and Caucus Chairs. The four constitutional officers are President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary. The current elected officers are listed on our Contact page. If you’re interested in running for a leadership position in GEO, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on the nomination and election procedures. You may also read through our Constitution & Bylaws.