Each summer, a couple dozen international grad students participate in a course called ELI 994. The GEO contract guarantees that participants in this program get a $45 a day stipend, but this past summer, U-M argued that they did not need to provide the stipend because the program was online and participants were not in Ann Arbor.
We grieved the issue back in September and U-M continuously refused to settle. We announced plans to take the case to arbitration and it took until one week before the arbitration hearing for U-M to give us a settlement offer.
After many intense rounds of negotiations, GEO has won a deal that guarantees 75% of the stipend to all ELI 994 participants from this past year and 50% of the stipend if the program is online next year.
Given that arbitration is a crap shoot and U-M’s first two settlement offers were considerably smaller (U-M even tried to push for 0% of the stipend for next year’s participants if it’s online), this is a huge win for the ELI 994 participants, guaranteeing them each over $700!
Congratulations to all grievants and to the very persistent Grievance Committee! This victory demonstrates the real importance of union power!