Approximately 2,200 university employees working as graduate student instructors (GSI) and graduate student staff assistants (GSSA) are represented by the Graduate Employees' Organization (GEO) Local 3550.
These employees play an important role in supporting the university’s teaching mission, while they also pursue their graduate or professional degrees. GSIs are employed to teach, grade and tutor. GSSAs perform administrative, counseling, or education duties other than those of a GSI.
The relationship between U-M and GEO is one of the oldest among graduate employee unions in the U.S. GEO was founded in 1970 and its first contract with U-M was negotiated in 1975.
Graduate student employees covered by the contract are paid a stipend for their work and they receive a tuition waiver proportioned to the number of hours they work. Most GSIs and GSSAs work 16-20 hours per week, are paid approximately $21,500 per academic year, and receive a waiver for the full cost of their tuition.
They also receive health insurance through the university's GradCare plan. GradCare is similar to the university’s Premier Care plan for employees, but GSIs and GSSAs pay no monthly premium contribution. They also are eligible for a subsidy for child care, paid medical or parental leave, and additional benefits.
The current GEO contract runs through May 1, 2020. The new contract will begin May 1, 2020 and extends through April 30, 2023.