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Media Statement: GEO strike update, April 20

The UIC Graduate Employees Organization (GEO), which represents more than 1,500 graduate employees in collective bargaining negotiations, went on strike Monday, April 18. We sincerely value the contributions made by our graduate employees to UIC’s academic mission and remain optimistic that we will, together, reach a collective bargaining agreement that is fair and beneficial for all involved.

The university has continued normal operations during the work stoppage.

To date, the university has participated in more than 30 negotiating sessions over the past year, including one yesterday, April 19, which was the ninth session held under the guidance of a federal mediator. With 21 of 27 issues agreed upon in our good-faith negotiations to date and sessions scheduled for today and tomorrow, April 20 and 21, we believe much can be resolved through continued dialogue at the bargaining table.

Graduate assistants are hired as part-time employees, with most averaging 20 hours a week at a stipend of $20,615 for nine months. They also receive student fee, health care and tuition waivers, which provide an additional benefit of over $20,000.

Currently, the university is offering a 12% raise over the three-year contract (8% first year, then 2% and 2%) as well as a one-time payment of $1,000; while the union is demanding a 21% raise (15% first year, then 3% and 3%) and significant decreases in what graduate assistants pay for student fees and health care coverage.

We are committed to good-faith bargaining that will provide a fair contract to our graduate assistants while remaining fiscally responsible to the university at large.

You can find additional details on the various proposals and frequently asked questions on our website,