The union representing the University of Michigan's graduate student instructors and assistants tentatively approved the institution's most recent contract proposal, capping off nine months of negotiations.
The Graduate Employees’ Organization, or GEO 3550, said Tuesday that its members voted to authorize its bargaining team to reach a tentative agreement with the university. The announcement comes one week before the University of Michigan’s fall semester starts and amid an ongoing graduate worker strike that began in March.
The three-year contract proposal includes an effective 80% raise for graduate workers, according to Jared Eno, the union’s president. It also includes new benefits for parents, international students and transgender employees, as well as anti-harassment protections for all graduate workers.
The University of Michigan announced its “last, best and final” offer to GEO over the weekend.
“The university provided the union with an offer that is historic and wide-ranging in its compensation, benefits and enhancements,” Provost Laurie McCauley said in a statement Sunday. “It is our belief that this proposal is more than sufficient to make a positive vote for a tentative agreement by GEO members a clear-cut decision.”
Evelyn Smith, the union's lead negotiator, said the contract proposal contained historic gains.
"The administration wants to take credit for these wins, but we know it wasn't their generosity that got us here, but the power of an unprecedented member-driven long-haul strike," Smith said in a statement Tuesday.
GEO 3550's bargaining team is expected to reach a tentative agreement with the university this week. Union members will then vote on ratifying the contract, with final results to be announced Friday.