GEO wins historic contract with a vow to keep fighting for the future

GEO strikers at May Day 2023 at Clark Park in Detroit
GEO strikers at May Day 2023 at Clark Park in Detroit.

By Graduate Employees Organization

On August 25th, GEO members voted to ratify our new contract, with 97% voting for ratification. This officially ends GEO’s historic, 146-day strike for affordability and dignity. The 9-month campaign involved thousands of workers at every step of the way: from the platform development process, to the fight for open bargaining, to the strike, and the final weeks of discussion around the settlement. It was this deep, democratic process, which went beyond mere voting, that led to the strong feelings of unity and consensus throughout the campaign, typified in the overwhelming strike vote and now the overwhelming vote for ratification.

On the day of ratification, grads gathered in front of the Ruthven Building for a rally and then marched— amidst the Fall Info Fair—to the Rackham Graduate School for a final press conference. Speaking on the steps of Rackham, Garima Singh, a bargaining team member and Feminist Caucus Chair, noted that despite the victory, “we still have to fight against low fractions. We overcame these difficulties in the past, we will do so now too. This contract is just setting a new floor, where we will continue to build power and fight for those who got the short end of the deal.”

“It turns out that if we ARE able to rely on each other, if we ARE able to pull through for each other, then we have the power to seriously change the conditions of our work and lives. That’s what we’ve just shown to ourselves, to the rest of campus, and the rest of the world through our strike. I’m talking about an illegal, open-ended, 6-week militant strike.”

Jared Eno, GEO President

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