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Message from your Co-Chairs regarding this election

Fellow workers, friends, comrades, colleagues,

We can imagine that many of you are feeling overwhelmed, shocked, deeply concerned, and righteously angry about the recent election results. We anticipate that there will be challenging times ahead, and many people will be both personally and professionally impacted by the strong oppositional shift of the political landscape of this country. As you struggle to find manageable ways to move forward, know that we are here. We want to remind you that we share your concerns, your fears, your uncertainties and we are in solidarity with you.

The election results signaled a regressive and reactionary politics that seeks to limit the union participation of those who need it most, our marginalized base. Black people, queer people, immigrants, refugees, poor and women graduate student workers are a vulnerable population that suffer disproportionately from not having union representation and contract protections. The upcoming presidential administration vows to fundamentally change labor laws to limit, if not eliminate, our collective bargaining power. And this impacts us, the Graduate Employee Organization (GEO), directly. We will be seeing in the days ahead draconian anti-labor laws that will at all levels of local, state, and federal governments compromise the vitality of our organization.

These election results are a direct threat to our survival as a Union
and as a collective of workers dedicated to social justice and improving our working and living conditions. We are at a historic crossroad and it is our task to build a Union membership that speaks to the necessity of protecting and expanding workers’ rights. The next administration has vowed to dismantle the current Affordable Healthcare Act, and as a Union, we must come together to ensure our GEO negotiated insurance plan is not only protected but also expanded and improved to cover families and eliminate out of pocket expenses.

GEO staff and leadership will continue to do the fundamental work of our Union. We will unabashedly and unapologetically remain anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-homophobic, anti-xenophobic, and anti-islamophobic. In FACT, we will open our doors wider and they will remain open to the disenfranchised and the marginalized. We will focus our energies towards growing the labor movement and negotiating a contract that protects all of us fully and for the long term. We need one another and we need our Union more than ever.

We need an active, engaged and vocal membership. We cannot build a movement for solidarity and liberation without YOU. We cannot take for granted the protections and benefits that we currently have. Our shared task is to realize the potential of the collective by coming together and demanding the work protections, salary raises and health insurance expansions that we all know we deserve.

We ask that you engage your fellow grad students, in your labs, in grad lounges, in your offices, about the pressing dangers that we face. Our power and our gains for 25 years have been rooted in our collective struggle, our solidarity with one another and our mobilization for fair contracts. We remain committed to social justice and combating oppression. We are entering uncertain times but through our Union we will do our part in the struggle against white supremacy, sexism and bigotry. We are here for you and we are focused on the task at hand.

Peace and solidarity,
Santi & Armanthia from Graduate Employee Organization (GEO-UAW)

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