Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Marxism in Action


GEO Strike Informational Meeting for Chemistry Graduate Employees (GAs and TAs): Thrusday, 11/12 at 6pm in Davenport 279.  Pizza and drinks will be provided.

We will discuss the current contract negotiations, potential impacts on Chemistry, and field questions and concerns from Chemistry


Hello all,

You are receiving this email because you are either a current member or past member of the graduate student union (GEO).  If you are currently a TA or GA in Chemistry, then you are part of the bargaining unit for a new contract with the University.  The GEO has been negotiating with the University since last spring for a contract that includes living wages and guaranteed tuition waivers for TAs and GAs.  However, the university has consistently stalled on these demands.  Our contracts expired in August, making it imperative that we obtain a fair contract as soon as possible.

Back in October, the members of the union voted to begin the steps toward taking legal work action in hopes that this would end the stall in negotiations.  This did not work, as the University is adamant to hold onto policies that include extending furloughs (essentially, unpaid work days, which we already undergo for approximately one month in the summer) and the ability to revoke tuition waivers without notice.  These are the two issues that most impact Chemistry, considering that our department recently cut the tuition waivers of undergraduate general chemistry TAs.  Recently, the GEO members voted nearly unanimously to initiate a strike committee that has begun the process of organizing union members in the event of a work stoppage or strike.

I apologize for the short notice, but tomorrow at 6pm in Davenport 279 the GEO will be holding an informational meeting with Chemistry GAs and TAs.  Pizza and refreshments will be provided.  Again, if you are currently a GA or TA, you are part of the bargaining unit, so this meeting is aimed for you.  It will be an open discussion on the current state of contract negotiations, and the GEO board is interested in obtaining feedback from Chemistry.  Currently, we have one of the lowest representation in terms of card-carrying membership.  If you have not signed a card, you can sign one there.

In the event of a strike, Chem Annex is one of several buildings slated to have a picket line.  Noyes may also become targeted, depending on the duration and level of participation.  It is important that in the event of a strike, all GAs and TAs stand in solidarity and discontinue any labor concerning their appointments.  This translates into not holding office hours, not communicating with students, and not grading assignments or exams.  This DOES NOT mean you have to discontinue your research or stop attending graduate courses if you're a TA.  You are still a graduate student, so it is important to differentiate your duties as a student and your duties as an employee.  If you have questions, feel free to email me or come to the informational meeting.

RAs are also welcome to come to the meeting, though the union does not represent them and cannot legally protect you if you decide to withhold your labor during in case of a strike.

I hope to see many of you there.

Best Regards,
Shawn Wilkinson

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