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.
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 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 email@example.com for more information.
Organizing Committee | firstname.lastname@example.org
Members of the “OC” support stewards in their efforts to represent their departments, work to increase member participation throughout campus, and plan actions around our contract campaign. Get in touch to learn more and help with organizing efforts!
Communications Committee | email@example.com
Comms 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, we want you!
Grievance Committee | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Grievance Committee is responsible for enforcing the contract and assisting members in managing workplace issues. They also work on assisting others in the creation of new contract language to present to the University during bargaining. If you feel like your rights have been violated or if you want to advocate for others, contact us.
Solidarity and Political Action Committee (SPAC) | email@example.com
The Solidarity and Political Action Committee (SPAC) works keeps GEO rooted in local political work and county, state-wide, and national labor solidarity. SPAC is committed to making GEO inclusive and affirming for all members.
Finance Committee | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Finance Committee advises and makes decisions with the Treasurer on matters concerning the financial health and sustainability of the union. If you’re interested in the union’s budget and financial decisions, this committee is a good fit for you.
Bargaining Committee | email@example.com
In the 2019-2020 academic year, GEO will be renegotiating the employment contract for GSIs/GSSAs. In preparation, this committee is drafting contract language, arguments, and strategies around the issues members care about. The elected Bargaining Team will advocate for these issues at the negotiation table. There is no experience needed for helping develop new contract language, so if you are interested in helping, get in touch!
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.
Feminist Caucus | firstname.lastname@example.org
The feminist caucus’s primary focus is improving campus climate and culture around gendered violence, harassment and discrimination. This year, they will be working on finding improvements both inside and outside of our employment contract.
International Students | email@example.com
This caucus gives voice and troubleshoots issues specific to International GSIs (IGSIs) within GEO. The caucus runs regular meetings where they work together to protect the interests of IGSIs. This year, they will work on contract issues related to international students and make sure international student voices are represented during bargaining!
Queer and Trans | firstname.lastname@example.org
This caucus is advocating for trans accessible healthcare coverage for graduate students and the wider trans community.
Parents and Prospective Parents | email@example.com
The Parents’ Caucus meets as needed, either online or in person, to advocate for the needs of grad students with dependents. Join the listserv to share experiences and needs of parents, prospective parents, carers of adult dependents and expectant carers of dependents.
North Campus Organizing Committee | firstname.lastname@example.org
The North Campus Organizing Committee is a subcommittee of the Organizing Committee that focuses on increasing awareness of and participation in GEO on North Campus. If you’re on North Campus, we need you!
Disability Caucus | email@example.com
The Disability Caucus works to address all three Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) components when it comes to GSIs and students with disabilities at UM. This year, they are working to ensure that workers with disabilities have everything they need to be teachers and researchers.
Electoral Action Sub-committee | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Electoral Action Sub-committee operates under the purview of the Solidarity and Political Action Committee. They help educate the membership on politics in Michigan and the labor movement!
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 email@example.com for more information on the nomination and election procedures.