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Mediated Negotiations Continue as Graduate Student Union Files 10-Day Notice of Intent to Strike

Dear students, faculty and staff,

The University of Illinois Chicago continues its negotiations with the Graduate Employees’ Organization (GEO Local 6297), the labor union that represents more than 1,500 graduate teaching assistants and graduate assistants. Since April 2021, the university and union have held more than 30 bargaining sessions and, recently, an independent mediator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service was engaged to assist the parties in working toward resolution.

On April 7, 2022, the GEO filed a Notice of Intent to Strike with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board (IELRB). While this action means that the GEO can opt to strike any time after a 10-day waiting period, no sooner than April 18, it does not mean that a strike will occur. We believe much can be resolved through continued dialogue and have a session scheduled with the mediator before the earliest potential strike date.

To date, the university and the union have reached a tentative agreement on 21 of 27 contract articles, including grievance procedures, union rights and worker rules. In January, the parties first began exchanging wage proposals.

In addition, the parties continue to discuss our shared commitment to ensuring that university policies regarding discrimination, harassment and bullying are fully implemented and enforced for the protection, safety and well-being of all members of our campus community, including graduate workers.

It is important to note that, while the current collective bargaining agreement between UIC and GEO expired on August 15, 2021, graduate assistants have and will continue to receive compensation and certain benefits under the terms of the existing contract until a new agreement is reached. It is not uncommon for bargaining to extend well past the end of a labor contract.

While we will do everything in our power to prevent a strike, should a work stoppage occur, our primary objective will be to continue normal operations for the benefit of our students, including minimizing the disruption of instruction, meeting course objectives and ensuring timely grading. Students and other members of our campus community will be provided with additional information, if needed.

The university is committed to finding a resolution with the GEO through continued dialogue.

Michael D. Amiridis

Javier Reyes
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs