In addition to being a member, there are many ways to participate in your union. Volunteers do almost all the work of negotiating and enforcing our employment contract and advocating for a more equitable university for graduate workers and students.
General Membership Meetings (GMMs)
GEO holds at least two GMMs during the fall and winter semesters. These meetings are an opportunity for GEO to provide information and gather feedback from the wider membership. All GEO members should try to attend GMMs regularly to ensure that their voice is represented in the decision-making process of their union.
Every department should hold regular department meetings to learn about the rights and benefits we have as GSIs and to discuss department-specific issues GEO might address. 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 members 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 | email@example.com
Members of “OC” support stewards in their efforts to represent their departments, work to increase member participation throughout campus, and plan actions around issues that matter to our members. If you’re interested in thinking about how to reach new members, get in touch to learn more about our organizing efforts!
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. See below for information on SPAC’s sub-committees: the Electoral Action Committee & the Policing Working Group.
Communications Committee | email@example.com
Comms is in charge of the union’s messaging to members. 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 fully online or hybrid world, we want you!
Grievance Committee | firstname.lastname@example.org
Grievance is responsible for enforcing the contract and assisting members in managing workplace issues – also known as the “problem solving committee.” They 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
The Contract Committee supports efforts related to contract education, platform development, and bargaining. This year, the committee will focus on educating members about rights under our new contract and maintaining the momentum around issues that arose last year during bargaining. Get in touch to learn more!
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.
Caucuses, Campaigns, and Sub-Committees
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 member can form a caucus to address issues or topics they care about including, but not limited to, students of color, disability access, women, the environment, master’s 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.
COVID Caucus | email@example.com
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!
BIPOC Caucus | BIPOCchair@geo3550.org
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.
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.
International Students | email@example.com
This caucus troubleshoots issues specific to International GSIs (IGSIs). 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!
Queer and Trans | firstname.lastname@example.org
This caucus is advocating for trans accessible healthcare coverage for graduate students and the wider trans community.
Parents and Prospective Parents | email@example.com
The Parents’ 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. This year, they are focusing on ongoing concerns around COVID and remote teaching.
North Campus Organizing Committee | firstname.lastname@example.org
North Campus OC is a sub-committee of the Organizing Committee focusing on awareness of and participation in GEO on North Campus as well as identifying Campus-specific concerns. If you’re on North Campus, we need you!
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.
The Electoral Action Sub-committee operates under the purview of the Solidarity and Political Action Committee. They help educate the membership on politics in Michigan and the labor movement!
Policing Working Group | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Policing Working Group is part of the Solidarity and Political Action Committee (SPAC) focused specifically on issues related to policing, as well as police unions. They work on educating membership, fighting for changes in policing on campus and within the community, and to remove police unions from the wider labor movement.
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. If you’re interested in running for a leadership position in GEO, please reach out to email@example.com for more information on the nomination and election procedures.