FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
News from Graduate Employees’ Organization 3550
August 11, 2023
Contact: Lina Alam, GEO Communications Committee Co-Chair, (504)-338-5255
Amir Fleischmann, GEO Press Spokesperson, (734) 476-4632
Graduate Workers Vote to Pass Comprehensive Counterproposal to U-M HR at Aug 10 General Membership Meeting
ANN ARBOR— On Thursday, August 10, graduate workers, organized through the Graduate Employees’ Organization AFT Local 3550 (GEO), voted to pass a comprehensive counterproposal to U-M Human Resources (HR) in response to the comprehensive package they offered on August 2 for graduate workers’ three-year employment contract. This follows months of contract negotiations between GEO and U-M. Grad workers began their strike for a living wage on March 29, 2023.
“Members were in agreement that the August 2 offer gets us very close to settlement,” said GEO Lead Negotiator Evelyn Smith. At the meeting, members expressed willingness to accept the pay raises proposed in the August 2nd offer, but wanted to push more for equity for our most marginalized members, including proposals such as pay parity for grad workers on U-M Flint and Dearborn campuses, an accessible childcare subsidy, better disability accommodations, and first-class gender-affirming care. “These are low-cost proposals that will have an outsized impact on these members and would make the University of Michigan a place where anyone can thrive as a grad student,” Smith continued.
This comes after graduate workers collectively agreed that U-M’s August 2 offer required further discussion than the University’s proposed deadline for response of August 4. During the intervening week, over 300 workers participated in extensive conversations regarding U-M HR’s offer.
“Given Admin’s stated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and the small costs associated with these proposals, I hope these outstanding issues will not be a barrier to an agreement,” said GEO President Jared Eno. “Grad workers are eager to get back in the classrooms this fall, and we are looking forward to management’s response.”