Dear Faculty, Staff and Graduate Students:

We write to give you an update on two important developments in our negotiations with the Graduate Employee Organization (GEO).

Possible February 26 Strike
During Wednesday’s regularly scheduled session with the federal mediator, the GEO issued a statement indicating that it intends to engage in a strike beginning on February 26. We will continue bargaining in good faith and do all that we can to avoid a strike. However, if a strike occurs, our primary objective will be to offer our students the best protection we can, including minimizing the disruption of instruction, meeting course objectives and ensuring timely grading.

All members of the university community will be expected to meet for classes as usual. If there are interruptions, make-up arrangements must be implemented to ensure that the instructional objectives are delivered.

In the coming days we will provide you with more information and guidance about how we will continue our operations if the GEO exercises this option. Information about our policies and planning related to a possible strike can be found at:

Thank you for your patience and assistance as we continue the negotiation process. If you have any questions, please contact the Labor and Employee Relations Office at   

Tuition Waivers
Also, you may have heard reports following this week’s session that the university is attempting to eliminate tuition waivers in our bargaining with the GEO. These reports are not true.

The university depends heavily on the use of tuition waivers to recruit and retain our graduate students. At no time in these negotiations have we ever presented – nor will we ever present – any proposal that would take away this benefit. We have underscored this point repeatedly in discussions with the GEO team during our regularly scheduled mediated sessions.

The university’s proposal seeks to provide graduate students with the security of knowing their tuition waiver policies will not change while they continue to satisfactorily pursue their degree in a given program, while also allowing departments the needed flexibility to adapt and modify their graduate programs in light of changing needs and administrative models. Under that proposal, graduate students who maintain good academic standing and continue to make appropriate progress towards their degree will continue to remain eligible to receive tuition waiver-generating assistantships and will continue to receive the same rate or level of waiver throughout the time they remain in a program. 

We sincerely value the contributions made by our graduate assistants to our academic mission. We remain optimistic that we will, together, reach a collective bargaining agreement that is fair and beneficial for all involved.


Robert J. Jones

Andreas C. Cangellaris
Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost

This mailing approved by:
Office of the Chancellor

sent to:
Academic Professionals, Civil Service, Faculty & Graduate Students
Massmail Archive   •   Massmail powered by Webtools