September 9, 2020 — Today, members of Graduate Employees’ Organization 3550 (GEO) at the University of Michigan voted to reject the university’s initial offer and remain on strike for demands calling for a safe and just campus.
Membership previously authorized a four-day work stoppage starting at 12:00 AM on Tuesday, September 8, with potential for reauthorization, until the university issues an offer that adequately addresses our concerns about:
- transparent and robust testing, contact tracing, and safety plans for campus;
- support for GSIs working remotely and an option to switch to remote from hybrid/ in-person;
- flexible subsidies for parents and caregivers including those with school-aged children or care obligations for adults;
- better International Center support for international students and the repealing of the discriminatory, termly international student fee;
- unconditional support for all graduate students in the form of timeline and funding extensions, an emergency grant, and flexible leases and rent freezes at U-M housing.
- a demilitarized workplace
- diversion of funds from campus police (involving a cut of 50% to DPSS’ annual budget)
- and ending any and all ties to local law enforcement (AAPD) and other agencies (ICE).
Tonight, over 1,250 GEO members gathered to discuss the offer made by the university, breaking all previous records for member participation. Membership decided by an overwhelming majority that the university’s offer did not constitute continued progress on these demands.
GEO members will continue to withhold labor over these demands and encourage our allies to join us on socially distanced in-person and remote picket lines. GEO stands in solidarity with U-M’s Resident Advisors who have just declared a work stoppage over COVID-19 safety concerns in their working conditions.
The Graduate Employees’ Organization (GEO) is a labor union that represents over 2,000 Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs) and Graduate Student Staff Assistants (GSSAs) at the University of Michigan. Founded in 1974, it is one of the oldest and longest-running graduate student unions in the United States.
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Leah Bernardo-Ciddio and Cassandra Euphrat Weston
Co-Chairs, Communications Committee
Graduate Employees’ Organization