In addition to being a member, there are many ways to participate in your union. Volunteers do almost all the work of negotiating and enforcing our employment contract and advocating for a more equitable university for graduate workers and students.

General Membership Meetings (GMMs)

GEO holds at least two GMMs during the fall and winter semesters. These meetings are an opportunity for GEO to provide information and gather feedback from the wider membership. All GEO members should try to attend GMMs regularly to ensure that their voice is represented in the decision-making process of their union.

Department Meetings

Every department should hold regular department meetings to learn about the rights and benefits we have as GSIs and to discuss department-specific issues GEO might address. To find out when your next department meeting is, contact your steward. A full list of current stewards is available at the Stewards Directory.

Stewards’ Council

Stewards are the first point of contact between graduate workers and the union. They represent the interests of their department within GEO and they keep their department updated and informed on GEO activities and events. Ideally, there is one steward per fifteen members in a department. Stewards can represent a whole department or multiple stewards can represent their own subfields or cohorts, depending on the department culture. You can reach out to your steward for any questions or concerns regarding your employment or graduate student experience. Find your current stewards at the Stewards Directory. Don’t have a steward? Consider becoming one! Email occhair@geo3550.org for more information.

Committees

Grievance Committee | grrrchair@geo3550.org

The Grievance Committee represents graduate students whose rights have been violated by the university. If you feel your rights have been violated or if you want to advocate for others, contact the Grievance Committee.

Organizing Committee | occhair@geo3550.org

Members of the Organizing Committee, or “OC,” fall into two groups. Some OC members support stewards in their efforts to represent their departments, while other members work on increasing participation in underrepresented departments throughout campus. Get in touch to learn more and help with organizing efforts!

Solidarity and Political Action Committee (SPAC) | solidarity@geo3550.org.

SPAC takes on solidarity campaigns and political actions that the members have voted to support. They maintain solidarity with other labor unions, social justice organizations, and local candidates for public office and show support by providing resources, labor, space, and time. SPAC is also committed to strengthening inclusivity practices within GEO.

Communications Committee | commchair@geo3550.org

Communications is in charge of the union’s messaging to members. Members of this committee contribute to the creation of materials that communicate union goings-on to the membership and the wider community. If you have a creative side or have a knack for social media, get in touch for more information.

Finance Committee | treasurer@geo3550.org

The Finance Committee and the Treasurer oversee all the financial activity of the union and report to the membership regularly. If you’re interested in the union’s budget and financial decisions, email the Treasurer.

Bargaining Committee & Team | umgeo@geo3550.org 

During bargaining years, the Bargaining Committee and Team work together to write and present the contract language we propose during negotiations. If you’re interested in helping to research and write bargaining proposals or want to present these proposals at the bargaining table, consider joining. Our next contract campaign begins in Fall 2019. Email umgeo@geo3550.org to stay up to date.

Caucuses

GEO caucuses work to address a variety of issues affecting graduate students at the University of Michigan. Caucuses vary in their activity level and they work to address specific issues graduate students are experiencing in the moment. Any GEO member can form a caucus to address issues or topics they care about including, but not limited to, students of color, disability access, women, the environment, master’s students, and GSRAs. If you would like to work on a particular issue, don’t hesitate to reach out. The following caucuses are working on active campaigns.

International Graduate Students (IGSI) | igsi@geo3550.org

The IGSI caucus works to address the needs and experiences of international students. In the 2017 employment contract, GEO achieved additional hours protections for international students who have been at risk of violating their visa restrictions. This caucus is working at the department level to ensure equal hours treatment for international and domestic students, specifically how to achieve a universal hard cap and preempt any discrimination. They also work to ensure that international students have strong advocates within GEO and the university.

North Campus | northcampus@geo3550.org

This caucus is working to increase outreach and better represent the needs of graduate students on UM’s North Campus.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Campaign | deicommcore@geo3550.org

This caucus is focused on getting graduate students more agency in the university’s DEI Initiative, which was created in response to growing concerns over campus climate. The caucus believes students know best our own needs for inclusion. During bargaining in 2017, we won DEI-specific Graduate Student Staff Assistant (GSSA) positions to help carry out the university’s DEI strategic plans. Currently, we are supporting those GSSAs in their work and helping individual departments create unionized positions to do diversity and inclusivity labor.

Queer and Trans | transhealth2017@geo3550.org

This caucus has been continuing its work to win accessible health care coverage for all graduate students through a special conference with Human Resources to talk about trans health care coverage under GradCare.

Parents and Prospective Parents | parentscaucus@geo3550.org

This caucus is working to address inefficiencies in the childcare subsidy application and disbursement process.

Leadership Positions

At the end of each academic year, the GEO membership elects Constitutional Officers and the Stewards’ Council elects Committee and Caucus Chairs. The four constitutional officers are President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary. If you’re interested in running for a leadership position in GEO, please reach out to secretary@geo3550.org for more information on the nomination and election procedures.