Congratulations on your raise!

Starting on September 1st, GSIs and GSSAs will all receive a 3.3% increase in their pay. This means that those working at a 0.5 fraction (20-hours per week) now take home $10,889.52 per term, up from $9,867.88 last year. Enjoy the extra cash this semester, and remember, hard work (in bargaining) pays off! Read about the rest of your rights and benefits in our GEO Contract Digest.

A few important start-of-term reminders:

  • Track your hours! Make sure your work expectations remain within your appointment fraction. Your department is required to send out a fraction calculation within 14 days of your start date; if you have not yet received yours please reach out to the Grievance Co-Chairs. Keep track of your hours now. Get in touch with GEO if you end up going above your hours during the term. Check out resources for tracking hours on our website.

  • Our newly won $700 annual cap on mental health copays in now in effect! You can track your spending by logging into you healthcare benefits account.

  • If you are a parent who receives the childcare subsidy and are at any time in the year expecting to receive additional grants or other financial support, make sure to update the Office of Financial Aid using this form, if at all possible prior to the receipt of the additional money. This will mitigate a retroactive reduction in the childcare subsidy amount. If you need information on the childcare subsidy or on how or when to fill it out the Budget Re-evaluation form, please email denise@geo3550.org.


Keep your union strong in a bargaining year

Not teaching this term? GEO is a labor union representing graduate student employees, yet many of the benefits we negotiate in our contract become the baseline for graduate student packages and are extended to graduate students even when they don’t teach. These include GradCare, tuition waivers, and annual raises. All graduate students benefit from GEO and have a vested interest in keeping our union strong. See your options for contributing solidarity dues in terms you do not teach!


Joining the Bargaining Committee!

Welcome back, everyone! We’ve spent the summer drafting language for a better contract; now we’re going to spend the fall educating members and organizing them to win that contract. Email bargainingchair@geo3550.org if you’re interested in helping this effort.

  • Look out for the latest round of our Platform Development Survey, launching September 16.


Affected by U-M’s criminal justice related policies?

Umich Behind Bars is organizing a forum to explore how the recently released policy, SPG 601.38, requiring self-disclosure of felony charges and convictions has impacted students, staff, and community members. The forum will also cover the impact of other related UM policies (i.e. criminal history boxes on job and student applications). Relevant UM administrators as well as the general public will be invited to attend.

If you might be interested in sharing your story, fill out this google doc.


Information sessions on new International Student Fee

The University of Michigan recently approved a new $500 per term fee for international students studying on an F or J visa in Ann Arbor. In response to the considerable amount of confusion and concern regarding this new fee, GEO is hosting two informational sessions.

Thursday Sept. 12, 7-9PM
and
Thursday Sept 19, 1-3PM

Rackham Amphitheater
(4th Floor of Rackham Building)


Say Yes! to Labor


Report Back from Coalition for Graduate Employees Unions (CGEU)

Two GEO delegates joined MSU and Wayne State graduate students for the Coalition of Graduate Employee Unions‘ 2019 annual conference in Toronto. This year’s conference, “Building Solidarity Across Movements”, included members of graduate unions from the United States and Canada, as well as members of lecturers’ and postdoctoral workers’ unions and members of undergraduate student unions.

We particularly enjoyed opportunities to learn about organizing efforts at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where the Teaching Assistants’ Association has been fighting as a minority union to protect graduate workers’ rights, GEU at Michigan State University’s recent contract wins in fighting relationship violence and sexual misconduct on the MSU campus, engagement with electoral politics at Wayne State and in New York and Ontario, and STEM organizing efforts throughout the CGEU.

Finally, members of the Korean Graduate Employees Union (KGEU) shared their experiences organizing Korean graduate workers, and many delegates were able to give interviews and solidarity statements for them to take home as they continue their organizing efforts. We are not alone in any of our struggles at UM, and our past and future successes as a union are exciting for our allies in other graduate unions.

Newsletter 9/5: Congrats on the Raise, GEO Welcome Back Party, and More