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: geu@geuatmsu.org 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.

Union trumps hate.


The Graduate Employees Union is disgusted by the bigoted, destructive and nonsensical Executive Order barring refugees and citizens of select Muslim countries from entering the US. Our members include refugees, Iranians, Syrians, Somalis, Sudanese, Libyans, Iraqis and children of immigrants from 100 countries. We know we are stronger together, and reject hatred based on race, religion, or national origin.

If you are worried about how this order may affect you, please contact us at geu@geuatmsu.org. We will help provide you with support and information.

What Now?

  1. Talk with students and colleagues. Make sure they know we have their backs, that we will support them, that we will listen to them, and that we will not betray them.
  2. Join Academics United as we support and celebrate our diverse international campuses and communities on Thursday, February 9 from 12:00PM – 1:00PM at the Rock. This rally is part of a nationwide series of campus demonstrations that will be held simultaneously in a dramatic illustration of our widespread support for immigrants, international visitors, and refugees on our campuses and in our communities. Click here for more details.
  3. Join the GEU in addressing the MSU Board of Trustees to talk about was to make our campus safer in light of changing federal policies. We will meet at the GEU office at 6:00PM on Wednesday, February 15 to coordinate strategies for addressing the Board of Trustees at the regularly scheduled meeting on Friday, February 17. If you would like to address the Board, or if you would like to provide a message to be read by another GEU member please email GEU at geu@geuatmsu.org.
  4. Join or donate to the American Civil Liberties Union to help them bring legal challenges against discriminatory activities resulting from the Executive Order and follow them on Twitter to stay up to date on their progress.
  5. Call your Member of Congress and tell them to stop this ban based on National Origin & Religious Beliefs.
  6. Sign on to the Academics Against Immigration Executive Order letter and share it with colleagues.
  7. Check in frequently with your favorite news sources to keep informed about this developing story. The MSU College of Law Immigration Clinic will be posting updated information on executive orders as they are verified here.

Standing Together

Many of us are angry, sad, anxious and scared in the aftermath of the 2016 General Election. Many of us are also ready to stand together to defend our friends, co-workers, and students. The stewards and executive board of the Graduate Employees Union are committed to making our campus and community- including our union – inclusive, welcoming and safe for those who are Muslim, Jewish, undocumented, POC, LBGTQIA+, or otherwise threatened and scared. The GEU office is open to our members as an intentionally safe space to hold meetings or come and spend time off campus with people who support social justice and equality.

Now more than ever, the GEU is only as strong as the energy put forth by our members. Now is the time to act to defend one another.  Our committees are all working to make our campus a safe and more inclusive place. Listed below are many opportunities to get involved in the fight for a just and equal campus. Please, join a committee today!

Join a Committee

To join any committee, just email geu@geuatmsu.org

Committee Description
Stewards Council Stewards organize in their departments, listening for issues and serving as the first person to go to if a graduate student has a problem. If a member has a problem, a steward can bring it to Member Defense or help solve it- including discrimination and healthcare. Stewards are the primary decision makers for the union, and the front lines for justice.
Member Defense Committee The Member Defense committee is our first line of defense, actively and proactively working to defending our members against workplace discrimination and injustice of all kinds. The reach and influence of this committee grows with each new member who signs on.
Political Action Committee Political Action Committee fights to advance public policy that will protect and empower our members by educating our membership, organizing them around political goals, and persuading our elected leaders to stand up for justice.
Budget Committee The Budget committee, in addition to drafting policies and budgets for the union, manages our Solidarity Grant which provides support for members in crisis. Now, more than ever, our members will need sound fiscal stewardship and our solidarity.
Events and Planning Our members need places to feel safe, loved, and respected. The events and planning committee is focused on providing those spaces for GEU members, making sure that no matter your country of origin, your religion, your race, gender, or sexuality that you know that you are loved and supported.
Mental Health Support Group Members of the mental health support group work to advocate for resources for mental health on campus and provide a safe place for GEU members to discuss their struggles with mental health.
Healthcare Information Committee With the repeal of the Affordable Care Act seeming probable, there is a lot of information on healthcare people will need to know- since the GEU contract will be the only thing guaranteeing graduate students health care coverage from then on. The Healthcare Committee educates members on their rights to healthcare in our contract and provides information on key aspects of health insurance.


While the 2016 elections are over, we have elections next year for critical local offices like city councils, who can pass laws protecting the most vulnerable of our members. We can start building now to make sure pro-justice candidates win these critical races by donating to the AFT Michigan Political Action Committee. Even $1.00 a month for the next year could be critical to winning races in Lansing, East Lansing, and Meridian Township. Donate here today!