I just got off the phone after talking with Ashli Anda, media liaison for the Graduate Employees Organization (GEO) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
The GEO has been on strike at the campus for 10 days.
Yesterday they began an occupation of President Killeen’s office in the Henry Administration Building.
“The important point people should know is that this is not just an over night thing. We are occupying until we get a contract.”
The administration building opened for regular business this morning at 8am.
“We expect that this will disrupt things,” Anda told me.
A bargaining session was scheduled for this morning but Anda said that the bargaining team has no interest in sitting in a room all day if administration is not planning on engaging in serious bargaining.
On Monday, Patrick Kimutis, a graduate employee in the English department and GEO bargaining team member, had the following to say about the state of bargaining:
“The GEO bargaining team is always willing to meet if it will move bargaining forward. We made it clear that our strike is strong and we are not backing down from our position on tuition waivers: if someone is employed doing bargaining unit work, they must receive full compensation, including a full tuition waiver, regardless of what department they are employed by or study in.The Administration knows that the stakes are high, but our strike is going strong and we will stay out as long as it takes to save our union, protect tuition waivers, and ensure access to education for all!”
MacArthur Prize winning activist Ai-jen Poo, who’s also the Executive Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) and director of Caring Across Generations, spoke at a rally yesterday.