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Illinois-Grad Students Strike

Jaime Cohen, 25, center, rallies Monday, Feb. 26, with the Graduate Employees Organization at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, representing about 2,700 graduate student workers who are on strike.

CHAMPAIGN — Contract talks are continuing between University of Illinois officials in Champaign-Urbana and striking graduate teaching assistants after an all-night bargaining session.

University spokeswoman Robin Kaler told The (Champaign) News-Gazette on Thursday morning that "it's been a productive night." Graduate Employees Organization negotiators and school officials started meeting with a federal mediator on Wednesday morning. GEO co-president Gus Wood said Wednesday evening that they were "getting close." He said the union presented a counter-proposal to the university that covered wages, tuition waivers and other issues.

The 10-day strike started last week and has forced the cancellation of several hundred classes. Classes also have been moved to different buildings so students and faculty don't have to cross picket lines.

This week striking graduate students camped out in university executive offices.

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