News from Graduate Employees’ Organization 3550
August 25, 2023
Contact: Amir Fleischmann,, (734)-476-4632

Graduate Workers Rally and Ratify New Contract

ANN ARBOR— On Friday, August 25, 2023, members of the Graduate Employees’ Organization (GEO), American Federation of Teachers Local 3550, held a rally and press conference to announce the ratification of their new contract. 97% of members voted in favor of ratification. Following members’ decision to reach a tentative agreement with the University of Michigan on Tuesday, August 22, GEO members took part in an online vote from August 22 to August 24 to ratify the contract. This ratification settles the longest strike in GEO’s half-century history, which began on March 29. Graduate workers are set to return to work on Monday, the start of the new semester.

Scores of members rallied in front of the Ruthven Administrative building and marched to the Rackham Graduate School ahead of the press conference. The ‘Fight for the Future’ march was a celebration of the new contract and the struggle to win it, but also an acknowledgement that this fight isn’t over. According to Amir Fleischmann, a spokesperson for GEO, “There are still things—important things—left to be won. But the strike and the solidarity among our members has led to a historic contract, one that I think is the best this union has ever achieved.”

Evelyn Smith, lead negotiator for GEO, emphasized that “Every gain made in this contract was the result of the sacrifices, risks, and dedication of grad workers on this campus. Through their collective action, they forced the university to commit over $20M in new compensation and benefits in the first year of the contract, and to bargain over topics they claimed for months were dead ends.” Meg Burt, a PhD candidate in Political Science and rank and file GEO member spoke at the press conference, saying that “our care for one another, our organizing efforts, and our unwillingness to back down from getting what we need has carried us through to this moment. All of this is so that someone like me, who doesn’t come from family wealth, can attend and work for this university with dignity.”

Jared Eno, GEO President, stated, “Today, we celebrate the end of a contract campaign that has shown the power of workers who share the conviction that we have the right to real democratic control over the places we live and work. We deserve more, and we can build the power to take it. Now we are faced with the questions: What kind of campus do we want? And are we willing to commit to each other deeply, creatively, and generously enough to build it? These are questions that we can only answer together.”



Comments are closed

GEO on Facebook
GEO on Twitter
GEO Events