Being unionized means that GSIs and GSSAs work together to negotiate their compensation and working conditions, and that those rights are enforceable because no employee must deal with work problems alone. We stand behind each other in a formalized grievance procedure. The GEO Contract is the agreement negotiated every three years with the UM administration by GSIs and GSSAs. Here’s a quick look at some of the rights that are guaranteed in the Contract. If you think you are being denied any of these rights (or are being treated unfairly in some other way), you should file a grievance, so that you can solve the problem in a manner which involves clear procedures and support from others. Remember that if you ignore a problem, the next person with that job will probably experience the same problem. Contact your steward or the GEO office at 995-0221 or grievance at geo3550 dot org as soon as possible when a problem arises. You can also submit a Contract Enforcement Report.
Contract enforcement is something that all members of GEO need to take responsibility for. This means that all of us need to make sure that departments are respecting our rights and abiding fully by the contract. There are a number of avenues that each of us can take with regards to contract enforcement, from group meetings with department chairs to filing grievances. Different problems require different tactics. The grievant is in charge of determining the most appropriate avenue for remedy; GEO will never file a grievance without a grievant’s full support.
While the grievance procedure is a formal process with three clear phases (or ‘steps’), some supervisors have attempted to use intimidation to deter their students from filing grievances. Intimidation and discrimination because of exercising your rights as a worker are illegal and constitute an Unfair Labor Practice under state law. It is important to recognize and label intimidation when you see it, and communicate that you will not let it take away your legal rights as a worker protected under the Contract.
If you have any questions about your working conditions or your rights under the Contract, contact your steward or the GEO office at 995-0221. Or, send email to grievance at geo3550 dot org .