- LEO Bargaining Kick-off
- Petition for Regent Weiser’s Resignation
- COVID-19 Vaccine Info Page
- Pull Over Prevention Event
- Call for Washtenaw County Health Dept to freeze evictions
- Commitment to Protecting Democracy
- Winter 2021 FAQs for GSIs
- Winter 2021 Solidarity Dues
- BIPOC Caucus Call for Members
- Join Comms!
- Interactive U-M GEO Strike Timeline
Happy New Year and welcome to the Winter semester! We sincerely hope you’ve all found ways—small or large—to rest during the university break. As we start this new term, we’re excited to bring a reinvigorated spirit to our work, including solidarity with our sibling union, LEO, as they begin bargaining. As many of us prepare for new appointments as GSIs, GSSAs, GSRAs, or as we prepare for another semester of classes and research, we want to commend all of our members who have done tremendous work—including university labor, domestic labor, community care, self care—while living through a global pandemic, failing political and social systems, and increasingly flagrant instances of anti-Black racism, anti-Semitism, and other forms of discrimination. You’ve all done an amazing job at navigating previously unimaginable circumstances, and we’re excited to move forward into the new year together.
Below are several updates on U-M and community goings-on. In addition to the email version of this message, we’ve made a Google Doc version (with bookmarks) available, for increased accessibility.
Take care, mask up, and solidarity forever.
(Did you know that you can suggest content for our newsletters? Fill out the form at bit.ly/GEOAnnounce, and we’ll figure out if/ how we can circulate the announcements, events, fundraisers, etc., you’d like to pass to wider membership.)
LEO Bargaining Kick-off
Our sibling union, Lecturers’ Employee Organization begins their bargaining season THIS FRIDAY! They are having an event to kick off bargaining; allies are welcome to join from 9:30-10:15. It’s really important that we show solidarity with the lecturers, and it will be powerful to see a strong GEO presence at the event! You can register here.
Petition for Regent Weiser’s Resignation
Following Regent Ron Weiser’s comments downplaying the violent pro-Trump riot at the U.S. Capitol last week, a petition has been started asking for Weiser’s resignation (check out this Michigan Daily article for more details). GEO has endorsed this petition alongside other organizations on campus, including Central Student Government leadership, Climate Action Movement, U-M’s Roosevelt Society chapter, and the One University campaign. If you’d like to add your signature, the petition can be found here. A separate open letter, created by U-M faculty, can be found here.
COVID-19 Vaccine Info Page
GEO has created a resource page with information about the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination efforts at U-M. It includes general resources, information about Michigan Medicine’s process, and lays out the vaccination phases and current timeline. If you haven’t completed the BlueQueue survey to sign up for the vaccine (or if you do not have a confirmation email and would like to reaffirm your status in the queue), please visit this link to complete the survey. Any questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pull Over Prevention Event
This Saturday, SE Michigan Pull Over Prevention will be hosting a free car repair and community coat drive event! While just a minor inconvenience to some, a busted tail light can result in deportation or death for others. SE MI Pull Over Prevention has gathered volunteer mechanics to help. There will be headlight and break light replacement, as well as fluid checks and refills, all at no cost. They’ll also be collecting coats and cold-weather gear for the community. There will also be snacks, household cleaning kits from the Washtenaw County Health Department, and relevant education materials. The event will take place 12-4pm on January 16, at 315 S Ford Blvd in Ypsilanti.
Call for Washtenaw County Health Department to Freeze Evictions
Health for All and The Community Voices for Health Equity Team are organizing to demand that the Washtenaw County Health Department use its emergency powers and freeze evictions through the end of the school year. In support of this effort, we are asking GEO members to please sign and share this petition and attend the Washtenaw County Board of Health’s January 22 meeting. The Zoom link for this meeting will be available on the Board of Health website.
Commitment to Protecting Democracy
As the U.S. House of Representatives again debate impeachment of Donald Trump, in the wake of January 6th’s deplorable riot at the U.S. Capitol, and leading up to next week’s inauguration, GEO reaffirms its commitment to work with allies in the community and in the labor movement to fight for and protect democracy. Read our statement from November here.
Winter 2021 FAQs for GSIs
GEO’s Grievance Committee has compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions that are helpful for those teaching next term.
The International GSI Caucus previously put together a FAQ for internationals students regarding potential visa issues if classes move fully online.
The International Center continues to offer comprehensive information at https://www.internationalcenter.umich.edu/travel-guidance-international-students
Don’t forget to submit a GradCare off-site registration form if you aren’t going to be located in Michigan! If you are currently living out of state it is advisable that you complete and return a GradCare Off Site Registration form to your department. You will need to complete the offsite form for each semester. Please enter complete dates for the semester (MM/DD/YYYY) in the specific program duration field.
Winter 2021 Solidarity Dues
Will you be employed by the university next semester, but not as a GSI or GSSA? Automatic dues deduction only occurs for members who are currently employed as a GSI or GSSA, so consider paying solidarity dues! Many of the benefits from the strong contract GEO has negotiated over the years still apply (for example, GSRA’s have the same medical benefits as GSI’s and GSSA’s do). You can sign up to contribute here.
Have you contributed solidarity dues before? Why not let us know through our Solidarity Dues & Membership Campaign? We’ll be happy to use your testimonial to show other members why they should continue to support GEO even in terms when they are not employed as a GSI or GSSA.
BIPOC Caucus Call for Members
We would like to announce the creation of the BIPOC Caucus and put out a call for members. To get involved, email 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 necessity for this caucus became most clear in the time leading up to and during the GEO strike. During this time, GEO made outward and undeniably earnest commitments to fighting for racial justice, but failed to center the voices and needs of people of color in the articulation of their demands.
The seeds for this caucus were planted by the efforts of a handful of grad students of color who worked tirelessly during the last days of the strike to create actionable demands that followed through on GEO’s commitments to racial justice and incorporated the asks and needs of the undergraduate Students of Color Liberation Front (SoC LF).
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.
Are you looking for a way to get more involved with GEO? Do you have a knack for talking to press, writing public-facing content (like this newsletter!) and op-eds, social media promotion, and/ or photo and video editing? Then Comms is the committee for you!
The Communications Committee is always welcoming new members. If you’d like to join us, send us an email at email@example.com.
You can contact other committee chairs about joining their committees if you are interested!: https://www.geo3550.org/about/contact/
Interactive U-M GEO Strike Timeline
Check out this awesome interactive timeline chronicling GEO’s organizing through 2020!