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Updated 10:00 AM March 14, 2005




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GEO contract update

As bargaining continues toward a new contract for graduate student instructors, the Graduate Employees Organization (GEO) has sent out ballots to its members asking them to authorize a one-day walkout on March 24 if satisfactory progress is not made by that date. The union also has raised the possibility of an open-ended strike beginning April 4.

A number of significant counterproposals were exchanged during bargaining on March 11, but details were not available as of Record press time. Major contract issues still under discussion include salaries, benefits, child care and nondiscrimination. An update on the specific proposals made by the University and GEO can be found on the Web at

Provost Paul N. Courant says he is concerned about the possibility of a walkout.

"A work stoppage would seriously disrupt our teaching and learning activities, and has the potential to harm our undergraduate students," he says. "The University has responded substantively to the needs expressed by the union during bargaining. I do not believe GEO needs to engage in a walkout in order to arrive at a fair contract that improves the circumstances for all its members."

Under Michigan law, it is illegal for public employees to strike. At time of publication, GEO had not yet reported whether union members have voted to authorize a walkout.

The current GEO contract expired Feb. 1, and was extended to Feb. 24. Since that time, members have been working without a contract. They continue to be paid and conduct their work under the provisions of the old contract. Additional bargaining sessions between the University and GEO are scheduled for March 15 and 18.

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