Negotiations continue apace and the GEO Bargaining Team can report that they are close to reaching a tentative agreement (a preliminary agreement on contract language that will later be ratified by the membership) on Article VI: Union Rights. This article, which gives GEO access to orientations for new GSIs, now has stronger protections to ensure that GSIs and GSSAs get the information they need about their rights and benefits.
The University HR team has responded to GEO’s proposals addressing climate/housing justice and the right to a demilitarized workplace. While the HR team admitted they found these concerns “noble,” they have argued our proposals are not labor issues that can or should be addressed in the GEO contract and have rejected them. The GEO Team disagrees with this characterization of our important proposals, and they will be collaborating with the relevant working groups over the next few days to decide on next steps. The GEO Team is committed to realizing the goals set by our membership and will continue to fight for them.
The GEO Team has also received language from HR that would forbid the use of University listservs for any non-University business. This would mean GEO stewards could not communicate with our members using department listservs, but it is also supposed to prohibit anyone from using U-M listservs to look for roommates, invite classmates to parties, or really discuss anything not related to official University business. Members made it clear at our January GMM that this was a laughable proposal, and the GEO Team has said as much to University HR.
The GEO Team has also had substantive conversations with the HR team around salary increases, hours fractions, protections against sexual misconduct, and protections and accommodations for graduate workers with disabilities. We are still waiting for concrete responses from the University on these issues, and will update the membership as soon as we hear anything new. The HR team has committed to reaching an agreement with the GEO Bargaining Team by March 1, so we anticipate those counterproposals are coming soon.
To get involved with any of the issues that come up at the bargaining table, email the Bargaining Committee Co-Chairs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about the bargaining process, including a summary of GEO’s planks, see this slideshow.