Header image featuring people on Zoom

At a mass meeting attended by nearly 500 people on Thursday, August 10, grad workers voted to respond to the Administration’s August 2 offer with a counter pushing for more gains. The meeting capped off a week of discussion, in which over 300 members participated in 32 department meetings, more than 14 working group meetings, and multiple, multi-hour sessions to discuss the August 2 offer and determine how we should respond.

The result of these meetings was the comprehensive counter-offer that members discussed at the Thursday GMM. The package that members developed prioritized pay parity for Dearborn GSIs, 12 weeks of parental leave, backpay for W23 GSIs, disability accommodations, harassment protections for all, and gender affirming care as areas where we need to push harder. Though members generally agreed that the August 2 package gets us close to an agreement, there was an even stronger sense that we need to keep working to ensure that our most marginalized comrades are not left behind in the final agreement. At the GMM, only a single person spoke against insisting on more from the University. With nearly 900 members taking part in an asynchronous online vote after the GMM, nearly three quarters voted to fight for more and pass the comprehensive counter offer at Friday’s bargaining session.

Notes from the Bargaining Table

At bargaining on Friday, with nearly 150 members in attendance, GEO members passed back our package. Here’s what members had to say about the session:

Lanora, Sociology

“I appreciated that there was no lecturing about the time it took [for us to make our counter] and recognition [that] it was work and important work.”

A group of people holding signs that say "WE SUPPORT UM GRAD WORKERS" and other text in a smaller font

Katarina, Earth Sciences

“It took 9 months for them to give us their first serious counter, we only took 1 week after that—and there’s 3,000 of us. Unlike us, these people get paid. They have nothing to complain about!”

Put on the Pressure to Win! Join the Week of Action

We do not know how HR will respond to our counter-offer. But given that management has fought us tooth and nail at every step over the past 8 months, we can expect that it will require a more pressure from members. Please keep your eyes peeled for an action planning meeting this coming week, and contact SPACchair@geo3550.org if you’d like to help plan. Our next bargaining session will be on August 13 at noon. Sign up at bit.ly/bargsesh

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