GEO votes to accept university’s offer, end strike


Members of the Graduate Employee’s Organization voted Sept. 16 to accept the University of Michigan’s latest offer regarding issues of mutual concern and end their strike.

GEO said its members would return to their duties beginning this morning. The vote was 1,074-239, with 66 abstentions, and took place during a general membership meeting of the union.

The union represents about 2,000 graduate student instructors and graduate student staff assistants at U-M’s three campuses.

GEO called a strike beginning Sept. 8 and discussions between the university and union continued even as the initial four-day strike was extended into this week.

With GEO’s vote to end the strike, the university is withdrawing its unfair labor practice charge and has agreed to dismiss its request for an injunction.

The revised proposal from the university that was considered Wednesday created a stronger process to address health and safety concerns for GEO members working on campus and enabled GSIs and GSSAs to appeal any decision requiring them to work on campus. The university also improved a proposal to make temporary enhancements to student child care subsidies.

GEO also had shared concerns about policing on campus and other matters that fall outside the parameters of the GEO contract.

Earlier this week, President Mark Schlissel and Provost Susan M. Collins committed to engaging the entire campus community on the topic of policing so that U-M and the university’s Division of Public Safety and Security can be a national leader on campus safety.

In addition, Rackham Graduate School Dean Michael Solomon continues to work with graduate students on ways to provide support for extra time to complete their degrees due to COVID-19 related disruptions to their Ph.D. research.

GEO ratified a new three-year collective bargaining agreement with the university in April. That agreement guarantees GEO members a pay increase of at least 3 percent in each of the next three years, even as many university employees face salary freezes and furloughs.


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