University outlines operational plans during GEO strike


The University of Michigan will continue to hold classes as scheduled following the Graduate Employees’ Organization’s announcement of a planned strike.

The union has indicated its intention to go on strike at 10:24 a.m. today, March 29.

School, college and department leaders are planning for substitute instructors, alternative assignments and other means for delivering instruction as required.

U-M is committed to ensuring all students receive accurate grades for their coursework and ensuring all graduating seniors can participate in commencement, Provost Laurie McCauley said in a March 28 email message to the Ann Arbor campus community.

McCauley said the university will continue to work hard to achieve an agreement with GEO through the negotiations process.

“The university recognizes the essential contributions of GSIs and GSSAs to our academic community, and we are disappointed that GEO believes this step is necessary,” she wrote.

In a March 28 press release announcing the planned strike, the union said agreement on the majority of its proposals remains elusive.

 “This action represents graduate workers’ determination to fight for a U-M for all and a contract that is focused on equity, dignity and a living wage for graduate workers,” GEO President Jared Eno said in the release.

Here are the key messages being conveyed by the university administration:

  • Classes are continuing as scheduled.
  • There are many weeks left to negotiate before the contract expires May 1. The university’s intention is to continue bargaining with GEO regardless of a strike.
  • The U-M bargaining team has offered to meet as many days as possible to resolve the negotiations and reach an agreement. The next scheduled negotiation date is March 31.
  • A strike violates GEO’s own agreement with the university. The current contract includes language specifying that the union agrees not to strike while the contract is in effect.
  • While negotiators have made progress on some issues, the union has failed to move on most of its key demands, McCauley said, even as GEO continues to attempt to negotiate issues that are outside of the scope of this contract.
  • Visible activism on the Ann Arbor campus is expected. The university respects the right of any group to peacefully advocate for its positions. All members of the U-M community are urged to respect each other’s decisions. Everyone within the university community has the right to travel safely throughout campus.

More information is available on the University Human Resources website, including background informationguiding principles and important chronological updates from each bargaining week. Updates will also be posted on the Twitter account @UMichHR


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