GEU Opposes East Lansing Income Tax Proposal

East Lansing is currently running a budget deficit due to long term fiscal mismanagement.  One of the proposed ways to make up this budget deficit is to impose a tax on all income earned in East Lansing.  The proposed tax for the November 2017 ballot is 1% for East Lansing residents and 0.5% for income earned in East Lansing by non-residents, with an income exemption of $600 (savings of $3 or $6 depending on residence). This income tax proposal is tied to a property tax decrease

  • This tax will cost university workers roughly 5.5 million dollars per year

  • Roughly $800k of this will come just from students

  • This income tax will cost TAs that live outside East Lansing that work half time year round at least $100

  • Decreasing property tax and increasing a flat rate income tax will reduce burden on high earners, while placing an undue burden on young families, students, and renters

  • Faculty and other people with high earning potential can just leave East Lansing for other nearby communities, which was not considered in the financial studies that lead to the proposal on this tax

  • If you live in Lansing, your total city income tax rate will be the same, but the city of Lansing will lose access to approximately $800k in revenue, which is currently supporting vital public service projects

Vote: Tuesday November 7, 2017

Registration Deadline: Tuesday October 10

For more information or to get involved, contact:

Solidarity Call! Stand with DACA!

The current federal administration’s actions related to DACA directly impact numerous members of the graduate and undergraduate community at MSU. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting our RCS Stewards, Osvaldo and José, you should know that them as leaders for positive change on campus. As this article from the State News describes, they are also DACA participants. During their time at MSU, these two (along with so many others who have close personal ties to the DACA program) have dedicated themselves to improving life for students across campus through their involvement with various campus groups for change, including GEU. We are so lucky to have folks like José and Osvaldo among our campus community.

Call your representatives today and demand a legislative solution that will keep our colleagues and their families together. Find your representative here: and talk to them about the American Hope Act today.

(For more on this bill: follow this link.)

We’re Hiring!

Part-time Union Organizer

East Lansing, MI



The Graduate Employees Union is seeking a part-time organizer to build membership during Fall semester 2017 and Spring semester 2018. GEU represents approximately 1200 teaching assistants at Michigan State University. Organizers will report to GEU’s executive board, and will follow an organizing plan determined by GEU leadership and staff.   The Organizer will be paid $16/hour for work performed over this period, which will average 20 hours per week, beginning Tuesday, September 5th. The position follows the MSU University calendar. Candidates must be able to work a flexible schedule. The positions will be based in East Lansing, Michigan, but may require occasional in­-state travel. We will begin reviewing applications immediately and will continue accepting applications until the position is filled.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities include the following. Other duties may be assigned:

  • One-on-one internal organizing, including locating potential, new, and current GEU members, assessing their membership status, following up on previous conversations, and identifying potential activists.
  • Keeping detailed notes and managing confidential data
  • Motivating GEU members and setting an example in organizing
  • Meeting twice weekly with local staff to coordinate organizing plans.
  • Coordinating with existing workplace leaders on organizing plans.
  • Identifying and developing new workplace leaders to participate in organizing efforts.
  • Conducting job site/group meetings with members and potential members to discuss ongoing organizing efforts.
  • Communicating with members and potential members outside the workplace through office visits and phone calls.

Desired Qualifications:

  • Be a skilled, experienced organizer, ideally with 1 year or more of organizing experience
  • Higher education experience; bachelor’s degree required
  • High degree of personal integrity
  • Experience working with diverse populations
  • Strong interest in and commitment to unions and the labor movement
  • Familiarity with current issues in higher education
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including oral communication, effective listening, writing and motivational skills
  • Be self-motivated, responsible, organized, professional and detail-oriented
  • Have basic computing skills, including experience with Microsoft Office, database systems and social media

GEU is an affirmative action employer. Women, people of color, members of the LGBT community and other underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply.

Please submit cover letter, resume and contact information for at least three professional references in a PDF format with your last name as part of the file name to: using the subject line: “GEU Part-time Organizer.” Cover letters should include a short summary of your organizing experience and answer the following questions:

  1. Now that “Right-to-work” has made union membership optional, why should graduate employees want to join the GEU?
  1. What would be your strategy to recruit members as leaders and build the GEU in areas where there are not currently many activists?

Hate Has No Home at MSU

We, the Graduate Employees Union at Michigan State University, condemn the bigoted, hateful, and harmful statements issued by MSU Trustee Mitch Lyons on January 31, 2017. In these statements, Lyons claims that a blanket ban of individuals from select Middle Eastern countries and of all refugees is needed to protect Spartans from terror attacks. We remind Lyons that MSU has never been a victim of terror. Our community of Iranian, Somali, Libyan, Iraqi, Syrian, Sudanese, Yemeni and refugee students, scholars, faculty, staff, family and friends have made the greater Lansing community a stronger and more dynamic place. We welcome this diversity to our campus. We also question why Lyons, who has been silent on the real threats of sexual assault, discrimination, and mental health on campus, would choose to instead express his strong support for a discriminatory ban on immigration.

We, the Graduate Employees Union at Michigan State University, also recognize that MSU is built on stolen Anishinaabe land. We find Lyons’ approach to defending this land that was already once so violently taken both abhorrent and hypocritical. We at the Graduate Employees Union support human rights without room for modification or exception. We recognize that immigrants and refugees make this university thrive, and we acknowledge that MSU would not succeed as a top tier research institute without the contributions of guest scholars from around the world. This, however, is not why we stand with those non-citizens and refugees who research, study, and teach across our campus. We stand with these workers and scholars because they are human, and because we stand with all human beings in defense of their rights.
We stand with President Simon’s statement in support of our entire Spartan family. We stand with the hundreds who rallied last night in firm defense of those members of our campus community who are under attack from Lyons and others who share his rhetoric. We call on Mitch Lyons to deliver an immediate public apology for the damage his hateful comments have already done to members of our diverse MSU community. We call on all Spartans to stand with us. We call on our campus and community to stand up and take meaningful action to support their fellow humans in these dark times.

We also remind all Spartans that Mitch Lyons is up for reelection in 2018.