GEO to Begin Strike at U of I Urbana Campus Monday

November 16, 2009

Picket lines are expected in front of an unknown number of University of Illinois Urbana campus buildings Monday morning.

After negotiations Saturday resolved every issue but one, Graduate Employees Organization leaders opted to call a strike beginning Monday. GEO spokesman Peter Campbell says currently most teaching or research assistants on the Urbana campus have all or part of their grad school tuition waived as part of their compensation for their work. But Campbell claims the U of I won't put it in writing that those waivers will go on.

"The purpose of a university --- especially a public land-grant universities is to provide open and accessible and high quality education, and I think tuition waivers are an important part of that", said Campbell. "And again, it wouldn't cost the administration anything to provide a contractual guarantee, protection for tuition waivers."

U of I spokeswoman Robin Kaler contends that the GEO didn't bring up the guarantee demand until the night of the talks.

"The university offered Saturday night that if the university board of trustees would ever want to change the general rules that affect tuition waivers, we would bargain with the GEO on that", said Kaler.

Kaler says faculty have been asked to make arrangements to hold classes in different locations or make alternate assignments for students during the strike. Campbell says faculty have been told of picket sites, but he wouldn't say where strikers would be stationed for the picketing, scheduled to begin at 8 AM Monday morning.

Story source: AP