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News Gazette, Saturday Bargaining

November 15, 2009

Still no pact between UI and Graduate Employees

By Mary Schenk
Saturday November 14, 2009

SAVOY — A marathon bargaining session Saturday between University of Illinois administrators and the Graduate Employees Organization had not produced a tentative agreement by late evening.

The two sides met for more than six hours with a federal mediator at the Institute of Aviation in Savoy.

GEO spokesman Peter Campbell said there were about 300 union members at Willard Airport supporting their bargaining team.

Late Saturday, Campbell said if an agreement was not reached, it’s “extremely likely the GEO will walk out on Monday.”

UI spokeswoman Robin Kaler said the more than 2,600 graduate and teaching assistants who are members of the GEO “are absolutely entitled to do that.”

“But striking is not going to change our financial picture. The University is facing a challenging time and we’re hoping to continue to work with the GEO to get an agreement that gives them the best possible offer we can within the financial constraints we face,” she said.

Another bargaining session had previously been scheduled for Tuesday. Teaching and graduate assistants have been working without a contract since Aug. 15.

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