FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
News from Graduate Employees’ Organization 3550
August 22nd, 2023
Contact: Amir Fleischmann, email@example.com, (734) 476-4632
GEO Members Vote to Reach Tentative Agreement
In an overnight vote, members of the Graduate Employees Organization, AFT-MI local 3550, have voted to authorize their bargaining team to reach a tentative agreement with the university. This comes after GEO members requested the University’s ‘last, best, and final offer’ on August 18th. Graduate workers at the University of Michigan, organized through GEO, have been on strike since March 29th, demanding a living wage and safety and dignity in the workplace. According to GEO President Jared Eno, “members’ decision to authorize the bargaining team to reach a tentative agreement reflects the major gains we’ve won in this campaign. With an effective 80% raise, harassment protections for all grad workers, and new benefits for parents, international students, and transgender workers, members are finally seeing months of striking and hard work pay off.”
Members discussed the administration’s latest offer at a hybrid mass meeting on Monday night. Alfredo Cabrera, a PhD student at the School of Music Theatre and Dance, spoke in favor of reaching a tentative agreement, saying “I will be voting yes for the dignity and right to healthcare of my queer and trans siblings. I will be voting yes tonight and tomorrow for our parents and caregivers, who are entitled to the same privileges as any other university employee.” Cabrera continued, “I will be voting yes for them and so many others, and yet, I must choose to vote yes despite myself and my peers at SMTD, Stamps, and Dearborn being left behind in this contract”.
According to GEO’s lead negotiator, Evelyn Smith, “The offer on the table contains historic wins. The administration wants to take credit for these wins, but we know it wasn’t their generosity that got us here, but the power of an unprecedented member-driven long haul strike. Regardless of the outcome of the ratification vote, one thing is certain: our fight will continue long after this contract is settled.”
Once the bargaining team officially reaches a tentative agreement with the university, GEO members will vote to ratify the contract. This vote will last until Friday, when the results will be announced at a press conference on the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor campus. Media advisory to follow.