The University Record, March 22, 1999

GEO strike averted

By Rebecca A. Doyle

Weekend bargaining sessions between the University and representatives of the Graduate Employees Organization averted a March 15 walkout. Photo by Bob Kalmbach
After five months of negotiations, the University and the Graduate Employees Organization (GEO) reached agreement March 13, averting a full strike planned by the graduate student instructors for March 15. GEO members met March 14 to approve the agreement, and a mailed ratification ballot was sent early last week.

"I am very pleased with the work both sides did in order to come to this agreement," said Provost Nancy Cantor.

The three-year agreement includes:

  • A salary increase of 10.5 percent over three years, or the average salary increase of faculty in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, whichever is higher. Salary increases of at least 4.5, 3.5 and 2.5 percent, respectively, are guaranteed in the coming three years of the contract.

  • Reclassication of about 500 graduate student instructors (GSIs) currently appointed at 40 percent time to 50 percent, resulting in a 25 percent wage increase for those instructors. The agreement also reduces the required work hours for 50 percent instructors from a range of 2025 hours per week to 16.522 hours, affecting an additional 500 GSIs.

  • An additional 1 percent tuition waiver for instructors appointed at 20 percent or less.

  • Reaffirmation of a commitment to provide room, board and a $200 stipend for international graduate students participating in a three-week summer English Language Institute workshop, required before they receive a teaching appointment. In addition, international students not in need of on-campus housing would receive $25 per day. The commitment was made in a memorandum of understanding noted in the contract but outside the collective bargaining agreement.

    The agreement adds more than $3.5 million to the contract that expired Feb. 4 for the 1,700 GSIs who teach approximately 34 percent of the U-M's undergraduate classes.