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Strike Fund for UIC GEO Local 6297

$30,048 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 606 people in 3 months
No Longer Accepting Donations
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Created February 24, 2019
The UIC Graduate Employees Organization (GEO) needs your help and solidarity!  Over 1500 Teaching Assistants and Graduate Assistants at the University of Illinois at Chicago have been working without a contract for over 5 months, and GEO has been in negotiations with the university administration for over 1 year. Grad workers at UIC live in a state of constant financial anxiety, often not knowing whether we will continue to have a job appointment each semester, and making as little as $18,000 while simultaneously having to pay $2,000 in university fees, even when serving as the lead instructor for classes of up to 60 undergraduate students.  

On March 19, we will begin an indefinite strike to win a fair contract! We're asking for donations to our strike fund to ensure we can hold out against the university administration for however long it takes to win living wages, fee waivers, and transparent appointment policies.

https://www.facebook.com/uicgeo/

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- Thank you once more for your support! If you have not already heard, we ended our strike after 18 days, winning a $2,550 increase to the campus minimum salary over 3 years (the largest raise in GEO history), a reduction by half of the International Student Fee, significant reductions to our General and CampusCare fees, a guarantee that any new fees will automatically be waived, partial coverage of the cost of healthcare for dependents, a requirement that departments create and follow transparent hiring and re-hiring guidelines that will be grievable, and non-discrimination on the basis of immigration/citizenship status and arrest record. And all our fees except the transportation pass fee are in essence frozen, meaning the University will have to negotiate any increases in the future. While this doesn't solve all of our problems, we know that it is certainly much more than what we would have gotten if we had not gone on strike. And since the contract is in effect for 2 more years rather than the 4 that the administration proposed at one point, we can keep organizing for the next fight relatively soon.

- There were so many factors that allowed us to win the victory that we did. Undergraduates organized a walkout and kept the pressure on the administration to not make them pay the cost of its greed. Faculty honored our picket lines and wrote letters of support to the Provost and Chancellor. Other unions stood with us on the picket lines, spoke and played trumpet at our rallies, and lent us a giant inflatable rat. Supportive Chicagoans brought us muffins and spread the word. The list goes on. But in this society, money, as you may know, is a big deal! Your donations helped give us a very real sense of security that we could hold out against the pressure of the administration, at the same time that we could see the depth of our support across the country.

- More concretely, some of our strike budget went to legal fees so the administration could not trick us, besides all of the signs, leaflets, food, and other supplies that we needed on the picket lines. While we are pushing to get the University administration to hold to its agreement to let striking grad workers take on extra hours of work to earn back the pay lost during the strike, we are using what is left to make sure that workers whose supervisors are violating this agreement do not have to suffer a loss in wages because of it. Beyond that, any left-over donations will be very helpful in making sure our union can continue to meet its expenses in the new legal situation created by the Janus vs. AFSCME decision, which presents challenges for small, high-turnover locals to take in enough dues to stay solvent.

- And there are more Chicago strikes brewing! UIC faculty has given a deadline of Tuesday for the administration to agree to a fair contract or else they will walk out. Chicago Symphony Orchestra members are still on the picket lines after 6 weeks. Workers at 5 Chicago charter schools just voted to authorize a strike if need be. Fellow grad workers at Loyola and Northwestern have been demonstrating for union recognition. We will try to support these and other fights and hope you will too.

- In solidarity,
- UIC GEO Local 6297
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Dear supporter,
As we move into the second week of our strike, we want to thank you for the help you have given us. Seeing all of the donations and messages of support roll in from undergraduates, faculty, staff, family, alumni, fellow union members, and allies from all across the country, we have known that we are not alone in facing a university administration that does not value our labor. Besides keeping our picketers fed, our signs waving, and our megaphone batteries charged, your donations have also given striking grad workers more confidence that they are protected from HR’s threats to dock their pay.
We were prepared for a long fight, and since the administration has certainly made no real move to change anything, we may be out for some time yet to come. For this reason, you will notice that we are raising the cap on donations to our strike fund, which, thanks to your help, has already almost reached our initial goal. If you know of any others who may be inclined to support our strike, please pass along the link. And thank you for your contribution to the fight to uphold the dignity of labor!
In solidarity,
UIC GEO Local 6297
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$30,048 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 606 people in 3 months
No Longer Accepting Donations
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Created February 24, 2019
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