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Information Regarding 3/29 GEO Strike

The following message was sent to the university community on March 28, 2023. It is published here for your convenience.

Dear University of Michigan Community,

The Graduate Employees’ Organization (GEO) has communicated that the union will begin a strike on the morning of Wednesday, March 29. The university recognizes the essential contributions of GSIs and GSSAs to our academic community, and we are disappointed that GEO believes this step is necessary.

The university will continue to hold classes as scheduled. School, college, and department leaders are planning for substitute instructors, alternative assignments, and other means for delivering instruction as required. The university is committed to ensuring all students receive accurate grades for their coursework and ensuring all graduating seniors can participate in commencement. You can view the message sent to undergraduates, detailing these commitments and more, on the Office of the Provost website. We will also be continuing to work  hard to achieve an agreement with GEO through the negotiations process.

We strongly believe that a strike is simply not the best way for GEO to achieve its objectives. There are many weeks left to negotiate before the May 1 contract expiration, and our intention is to continue to bargain with GEO regardless of a strike. The university’s bargaining team has offered to meet as many days as possible to resolve the negotiations and reach an agreement. The university hopes a state mediator will be able to assist the parties in coming to an agreement through the process of good faith negotiations.

In addition, a strike violates GEO’s own agreement with the university. To be specific: the current contract, which GEO embraced and signed in 2020, and which was ratified by GEO membership, continued to include the contract language specifying the union agrees not to strike while the contract is in effect. The union first agreed to this language in 2013. It is concerning that the union has decided not to honor its contractual promises, which undermines the process of collective bargaining.

Finally, while negotiators have made progress on some issues, the union has failed to move on most of its key demands, including for a 60% salary increase, even as it continues to attempt to negotiate other issues that are outside the scope of this contract, such as police reform.

We expect visible activism on the Ann Arbor campus and we respect the right of any group to peacefully advocate for their positions. We recognize that these can be difficult and complicated decisions, and we urge all members of our community to respect each individual member’s decisions–including the right of union members not to strike. Everyone in our university community, including graduate students, have the right to travel safely throughout campus, enter and exit buildings, and continue to work if they choose, regardless of whether there is a strike.

Please see the GEO negotiations website with background informationguiding principles, and important chronological updates from each bargaining week. You may also follow @UMichHR on Twitter to receive notice when a new update is available.

We remain committed to achieving a fair and forward-looking collective bargaining agreement and ensuring the university and union members can do and be their very best.


Laurie K. McCauley, DDS, MS, PhD
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
William K. and Mary Anne Najjar Professor