GEO members ratify new three-year contract with U-M


Leaders of the Graduate Employees’ Organization announced Aug. 25 that union members had overwhelmingly approved a new three-year contract with the University of Michigan.

The new contract, which will run through May 1, 2026, was ratified by 97% of GEO members voting, according to an announcement by the union on social media.

The contract includes annual salary increases, a $1,000 bonus and increased benefits, along with processes to further discuss and deal with various other issues that graduate employees wish to bring before the university administration.  

Approval comes nine months after contract negotiations began and five months after GEO went on strike.

 “It’s very gratifying to have a new contract in place,” said Katie Delong, associate director of Academic Human Resources and chief university negotiator with GEO. “While there remains work to be done, we can move forward together to implement the terms and address any remaining topics within the framework of this three-year agreement.”

GEO represents about 2,300 graduate students who work as graduate student instructors and graduate student staff assistants across the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses. Union officials signed a tentative agreement Aug. 22; the ratification vote was open through midnight Aug. 24.

“Today, we celebrate the end of a contract campaign that has shown the power of workers who share the conviction that we have the right to real democratic control over the places we live and work,” said GEO President Jared Eno. “We deserve more, and we can build the power to take it.”

“Ratification of this new contract will help to assure a smooth start to the new academic year,” said Laurie McCauley, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. Classes for the fall term begins Aug. 28.

President Santa J. Ono thanked the GEO and university bargaining teams for their persistence.

“These teams never gave up on finding a way to reach agreement on a new three-year contract,” the president said. “This contract allows U-M to stand out among our peers and it is a contract that truly benefits our outstanding graduate student workers.”

The agreement includes the following provisions for GSIs and GSSAs in a contract spanning three years: 

  • Annual salary increases of 8% in 2023, 6% in 2024, and 6% in 2025 for Ann Arbor campus employees (20% over three years).
  • Annual salary increases of 3.5% for Dearborn campus employees (10.5% over three years).
  • Annual salary increases of about 9% for Flint campus employees to align its minimum stipend to that of UM-Dearborn at the end of the contract term.
  • A $1,000 bonus to employees on all campuses.
  • Up to 12 weeks of paid leave for employees who are birthing parents.
  • Lower annual out-of-pocket maximums on mental health and physical therapy copays.
  • Expanded gender-affirming benefits.
  • The creation of special conferences between GEO leaders and university officials to discuss gender-affirming care and benefits.
  • The creation of multi-meeting special conferences on disability accommodations and concerns about campus infrastructure and resources available to persons with disabilities.
  • The creation of a three-year pilot program, which provides up to one semester of funding for an employee to transition out of an unhealthy working relationship, including an abusive, discriminatory and/or harassing relationship. The pilot program does not require the employee to report the situation to U-M’s Equity, Civil Rights, and Title IX Office, a sticking point that union leaders have continually identified as a priority in bargaining.
  • The creation of a $20,000 per year International Graduate Workers Assistance Fund. 
  • New requirements for academic units to publish GSI class-size policies.
  • The creation of a dedicated GSI/GSSA employment website.


  1. Leah Bernardo-Ciddio
    on August 25, 2023 at 2:23 pm

    Can Katie DeLong follow up on her comments about remaining topics to be discussed, by discussing: what motivated her to state at fact-finding sessions that the Dearborn and Flint campuses serve a “different class” of student than that in Ann Arbor; whether this was her own opinion or whether she was speaking on behalf of the University of Michigan; and what exactly was meant by this?

    • Jamie Lee
      on September 5, 2023 at 1:08 pm

      Thanks for this. I have an idea of what I hope she might’ve meant, but I think it’s very important, almost critical, for her to clarify that statement.

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