Graduate Employee Organization (GEO-UAW)

Graduate Employee Organization (GEO-UAW) GEO-UAW is a loud and proud unit of UAW Local 2322. GEO-UAW is the union for graduate employees at UMass Amherst, and is a unit of United Auto Workers Local 2322.
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We represent teaching assistants, teaching associates, research assistants, project assistants, assistant residence directors, graduate interns, fellows, and trainees.

Operating as usual

10/30/2020
Join our Cloud HD Video Meeting

🔺Grievance Workshop🔺

TIME: TODAY @4- 5 PM
Zoom Link: https://umass-amherst.zoom.us/j/92726454960

Were you ever asked to perform a work that is CLEARLY a GEO-eligible position but not granting any of the benefits?

Were you ever asked to do prep work in summer for the upcoming semester but not being compensated properly?

Were you ever asked to accept a wage that is less than the GEO minimum wage, 30.30 USD?

Many members have had these experiences, especially in summer time. This management practice contributes to unit erosion. It not only underpays individual workers but also undermines our collective bargaining power.

The grievance workshop today is dedicated to Position Misclassification/Unit Erosion and Overwork. Grievance Coordinator, Anna, will lead us in looking at some of the related articles and workshop this issue so that we can spot it and address it!

Zoom is the leader in modern enterprise video communications, with an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, chat, and webinars across mobile, desktop, and room systems. Zoom Rooms is the original software-based conference room solution used around the world in board, confer...

Today is the day!!! Please come join us today, grab a lunch if you would like! We will be discussing our plans for succe...
10/22/2020

Today is the day!!!
Please come join us today, grab a lunch if you would like! We will be discussing our plans for successor bargaining, and will allocate some time to talk about the Spring 2021 planning, how we can align it with future bargaining, and possible action we can take collectively.
Time: October 22, 2020 11AM - 1PM
Zoom Link:
https://umass-amherst.zoom.us/s/99169226794

Love these series from Harvard! Yes! Student worker parents deserve better✊
10/18/2020

Love these series from Harvard! Yes! Student worker parents deserve better✊

Did you know that Harvard only provided $350,000 to subsidize child care expenses for all student worker parents for an entire year, even though child care costs for one child for one month are about $3,000 (that’s about $36,000 per year!)?

Why do we care? Because student worker parents deserve sufficient resources and support to take care of their families and engage fully in their work. The current structure of academia places huge demands on parents.

Solidarity with the brave student protestors in Thailand! 【Emergency: Global Support for Thai Protests The Thai Monarch ...
10/17/2020
Bangkok Declares State of Emergency as Thai Unrest Continues

Solidarity with the brave student protestors in Thailand!
【Emergency: Global Support for Thai Protests The Thai Monarch must undergo imminent reforms】

On 16th Oct, over ten thousand protestors rallied in the city center of Bangkok under the banner of pro-democratic reforms. The Thai police force responded with water-cannon trucks in a violent crackdown over peaceful protests. We condemn the Thai Government for its contempt and disrespect of the appeal from the Thai people. We call on the Government to exercise self-restraint and to advance substantial political reforms in lieu of relentless political prosecutions under inhumane laws.

Ever since July, the Student Movement had attracted global scrutiny on Thailand. A country who had upheld a trinity of nation, religion and king since 1932. The Future Forward Party was dissolved by force. Legislators had been disqualified and pro-democracy figures had been forbidden to form political parties. The Government is also suspected of puppeteering the disappearance of dissenting figures, whether or not they are in-exile. We believe that the Thai Government ought to exercise self-restraint on these infringement of rights and liberties as well. We stand in solidarity with Thai protestors, in support of their demands including but not limited to the dissolution of the Parliament, to stop ruling with terror, to release all detainees and to lay down a new constitution.

Universal religious freedom does not serve as a basis for the state to undermine and overturn the essential thoughts of peace and freedom, which are endemic to the Enlightenment. The claim by a totalitarian regime based on the divine right to rule can be interpreted as a revival of an obsolete thinking, which should have been left in medieval times. It is no excuse to repress the many freedoms the people are entitled to, as well as their dignity as human beings and the fundamental civil liberties and rights.

A great number of undemocratic authoritarian regimes had survived or sprouted after the third wave of democratization, dating back from the last century. There is indeed a new surge of authoritarian states which devours the values of democracy we hold so dearly. The year of 2019 marks a crusade of peace-loving, democratic protestors risking their all to motivate change, in hope that their homelands will embrace reforms and undergo genuine democratization. The people have spoken, from Hong Kong to Taiwan, to Belarus and many more.

We believe the wind of change is inevitable. Democracy shall prevail over the authoritarian regimes that creep in shadows. We call on every freeman to voice out against tyranny, as of duty and belief.

Democracy now.

Sunny Cheung Nathan Law

Petition Link: http://chng.it/KVz8msP9Fh

Anti-government protesters are calling for reforms to Thailand’s constitutional monarchy

Throw back Thursday These powerful masks were for the health care campaign dated back in 2015. If you were asked to desi...
10/08/2020

Throw back Thursday
These powerful masks were for the health care campaign dated back in 2015. If you were asked to designed a GEO mask 2020, how would it look like?

Getting ready to head back to the bargaining table. Join us from 2-5PM in Campus Center room 805-809 to tell the university administration that we already have skin in the game and DEMAND better, fairer healthcare! HEALTH CARE IS NOT A GAME! #gradworkersrising #faircontractNOW #coinsuranceisNOinsurance

Something grad students (workers or not) think about a lot is "guaranteed funding" There are many different ways to imag...
10/07/2020

Something grad students (workers or not) think about a lot is "guaranteed funding" There are many different ways to imagine what that means. What does it mean to you? COMMENT BELOW!

Up With Workers Wednesdays!!! This is HAPPENING right now!!! Please feel free to stop by or bring any questions you have...
10/07/2020

Up With Workers Wednesdays!!!
This is HAPPENING right now!!! Please feel free to stop by or bring any questions you have 😊

https://www.gazettenet.com/Amherst-Town-Council-pens-letter-to-UMass-chancellor-36257422?fbclid=IwAR3GoaA6JLJSTajBrkS70s...
09/16/2020
Town Council to UMass chancellor: Layoffs would have ‘negative ripple effects across the entire region’

https://www.gazettenet.com/Amherst-Town-Council-pens-letter-to-UMass-chancellor-36257422?fbclid=IwAR3GoaA6JLJSTajBrkS70seQUAvqs-jkEs8wbKY3WqcTD7x-s9A4FdwBP7k

AMHERST — Just hours before unions at the University of Massachusetts announced an agreement to prevent layoffs through January, Amherst Town Council crafted a letter to Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy urging him to keep in mind the impact possible job...

UAW/UMass Health & Welfare Trust Fund
09/16/2020

UAW/UMass Health & Welfare Trust Fund

Attn UMass Grad Employees: LAST CALL/DAY to sign up for your dental and vision plans! They are free for Grad members & family (addtl cost for family dental). Do so today at https://hwtrust.geouaw.org/

New rank and file member, Zachary Nickels (MFA) shares with you a powerful solidarity letter for brave graduate student ...
09/15/2020
Graduate Employees' Organization 3550

New rank and file member, Zachary Nickels (MFA) shares with you a powerful solidarity letter for brave graduate student workers on strike right now at University of Michigan. This is an inspiring moment for us all: A union is powerful when its rank and file members take a strong stand in pursuing social justice, and are willing to take action. Eventually, we would like to see a union where members are empowered to stand side by side with one another.
👇👇👇👇👇
https://www.geouaw.org/solidarity-with-geo-3550-umich-campus-workers/

Thank you to Graduate Employee Organization (GEO-UAW) for their statement of solidarity!

https://www.geouaw.org/solidarity-with-geo-3550-umich-campus-workers/
UMass Amherst graduate employees of GEO-UAW2322 stand in firm solidarity with GEO-3550, the graduate employees of the University of Michigan, who are currently striking in opposition to UM’s unsafe and unjust operations in the collective emergency of the global pandemic. You have inspired solidarity from many organizations across your campus—including residential staff, dining and construction workers—and your actions have reverberated across the country. During an unprecedented event, you have stood as a bulwark against the dangerous and ill-advised actions of your university, making you are a model for GEO unions everywhere.

At the outset of your strike, your administration published a letter intended to deny, deflect and divert from your issues—with the ultimate goal of deceiving and dividing your membership. Central to their argument was the reminder that yours is a “Right to Work” state, making your strike an illegal act. Nevertheless, you persisted for the sake of both your union and the university at large. Last night, you voted to extend your historic strike with 80% of your membership in the affirmative; this comes less than a week after rejecting an offer that did not include an option for GSIs to work remotely or flexible subsidies for caregivers. Crucially, it also did not address the militarization of UM police.

Here at UMass, our administration is saddling us with similar challenges: the university is currently threatening its workers with 300 layoff notices if our Professional Staff Union and University Staff Association do not agree to the university’s most recent offer intended to “bridge the gap” on a revenue shortfall caused by COVID-19. Just as with your administration, ours is attempting to deny, deflect and divert from the issues important to workers. This is unsurprising, but it does not distract from the facts: that in an unprecedented moment of uncertainty, the most vulnerable among us need support from our institutions, and, if our institutions are unwilling to give us the support we need, our workers will do their job for them.

At a time when universities need to rise to the challenge of protecting their students and supporting their employees, you are stepping up to fulfill their duty—a duty they have neither the courage nor conviction to realize. Your efforts do not just protect your workers, they also protect the larger student body from both the pandemic and from the militarized police presence used to carry out the punishment from an otherwise feckless university. Your demands are both righteous and just: this is a fight worth fighting, which means it is a fight worth winning.

Yours in solidarity,

GEO-UAW 2322 at the University of Massachusetts Amherst
9/10/20

Hello, how is everyone doing!? This is your CoChair, Dora. It’s hard to believe that we are starting the fourth week of ...
09/14/2020

Hello, how is everyone doing!? This is your CoChair, Dora. It’s hard to believe that we are starting the fourth week of the fall semester 2020. Im barely surviving here😅
I want to know how people are doing so let me present you: WORK TO RULE BINGO SHEET and hopefully this can help our conversation keep going.
I’m challenge the Work To Rule Committee CoChairs @peasandcantos and @nefeliforni. To accept the challenge please share with us your bingo sheet, a sentence described your feelings, and tag two other graduate student workers to participate.

Solidarity with UMich grad workers!
09/07/2020

Solidarity with UMich grad workers!

The vote passes! GEO membership has authorized a strike, effective TOMORROW.

This is a historic moment: we are striking at the beginning of the year, in the midst of a pandemic, to protect our whole community.

IMPORTANT INFO IN THE COMMENTS BELOW:

08/27/2020
AFSCME Local 1776

Whom UMASS are furloughing are workers at the dining hall. Yes, the number one dining hall that won’t function without the frontline workers
Whom UMASS are furloughing are janitors that make sure the campus is clean and safe for the greater campus community.
This is unacceptable!

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It is with a heavy heart and extreme sadness that we must regrettably inform you that this week the University of Massachusetts/Amherst is temporally furloughing off approximately 780 Local 1776 bargaining unit members for at least the rest of the semester. Despite the local pointing out hundreds of mistakes on the list, the University insisted that notification to members go out this week. Instead of fixing these mistakes beforehand the University will issue corrections to members after the fact. Local 1776 was forced into accepting furloughs. We were told that if we did not accept "temporary" furloughs our members would be laid off and lose all benefits.

The main difference between layoffs and temporary furloughs is that layoffs can be permanent and members lose all benefits if laid off. Under the agreement the following applies:

• Members will be able to collect unemployment and the Univ. will not contest any claims.
• The furloughs will be by seniority with job classification with exceptions only if agreed upon by both parties
• Members will not be able to bump because this is temporary.
• On furlough members will still have the employers portion of their insurance paid by the Univ. Members will still have to pay their portion. This can be done through a one day a month use of accrued time.
• Members will not be able to use accrued time except to cover the members portion of the health insurance costs.
• Members, if they so choose, can take a layoff instead of a furlough and the Univ. will not contest any unemployment claims.
• Tuition remission will remain in effect for the duration.
• Creditable time for the sake of retirement will continue to accrue.
• Members will continue to accrue time
• Members will not have to seek employment during this period because it is a furlough not a layoff.

We realize the University is facing a financial crisis however, despite the efforts of all the UMass unions to negotiate alternative cost saving measures the University refused to consider anything other than furloughing people off. This is happening even though the Commonwealth and the UMass system are both sitting on mountains of cash but have refused to touch any of this money to alleviate the financial crisis and instead place the burden on it’s lowest paid most vulnerable employees.

Local 1776 was forced into accepting furloughs. We were told that if we did not accept "temporary" furloughs our members would be laid off and lose all benefits.

Once again the University has chosen to solve its financial crisis on the backs of it's most vulnerable lowest paid workers.

As more information becomes available we will let you know.

In Solidarity,

LeeAnn Robinson
President.

Solidarity with UIC workers!
08/26/2020

Solidarity with UIC workers!

Photos from the rally to end UIC’s contract with the FOP and dismantle UIC PD.

08/19/2020
Massachusetts Teachers Association

Massachusetts Teachers Association

#OnlyWhenItsSafe standout at the State House with AFT Massachusetts, Boston Teachers Union, Massachusetts Nurses Association and City Life/Vida Urbana,

Hi All,Marwa Amer and others UMass Union members have set up this Mutual Aid form to help connect resources between memb...
08/13/2020
Mutual Aid for UMass Amherst Community

Hi All,

Marwa Amer and others UMass Union members have set up this Mutual Aid form to help connect resources between members of the UMass Community in light of budgetary cuts and general economic precarity, which is trickling down to the workers. This should be able to pool resources for a wide variety of workers/UMass community members.ts

Many members of the UMass Amherst community are facing furloughs, layoffs, non-reappointments, housing insecurity, and other issues given the pandemic, austerity, and economic disruption. RAPMU in particular just suffered a 90%+ loss in jobs and members, no doubt a University tactic to undermine the campus labor movement.

This form is to help bring us together and support each other in making sure we actively contribute to meeting the needs of our community and pool our resources to do so. Your information will not be shared with any third party agency and our intention is to connect you with the appropriate resources/people in need of resources.

Many members of the UMass Amherst community are facing furloughs, layoffs, non-reappointments, housing insecurity, and other issues given the pandemic, austerity, and economic disruption. This form is to help bring us together and support each other in making sure we actively contribute to meeting t...

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UMass Amherst Campus, 911 Campus Center
Amherst, MA
01002

Pioneer Valley Transit Authority schedules are available here: http://www.pvta.com/schedules.php .

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(413) 545-0705

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If you have been at UMass since 2015 or 2016, could you please DM me? I am looking for people to send me their Bursar bills from around that time - Specifically to track Family Health Plan costs. So if you are someone who had a family plan back please talk to me, and if you know someone else who might have been on the family plan then please please tag them or DM me their name! Even if you have no info on family plans please DM me anyway if you've been around since 2015 or 2016, for important Bargaining research!
UMass Graduate workers are not eligible for unemployment benefits, and most are contracted for only 38 weeks a year. Many are international students, and are therefore not eligible for stimulus payments, relief under the federal CARES Act, federal or private student loans, and most other safety net programs. Furthermore, most international graduate students are unable to work off-campus, due to visa restrictions. Graduate workers have repeatedly voiced concerns about being able to provide for their families and survive over the summer, most notably in a petition that gathered over 900 signatures. Graduate workers recently hosted a “Reverse Town Hall” with 200 people in attendance online - UMass upper administration were invited, but not a single one bothered to attend. The Chancellor, Kumble Subbaswamy, was officially sent a list of demands with a deadline of April 23 to respond, while a drive-in protest with a caravan of almost 100 cars mustered at his campus residence. Neither of these actions moved the Chancellor to engage with the pressing needs of graduate student workers at UMass Amherst. We call on UMass to do the right thing, bargain fairly, recognize the needs of graduate workers!
Important updates
Hey everybody! The Office of the Bursar will be putting holds on students' accounts from the 10th of June onwards. If you owe rent or have any debts, please enroll in Fall 2020 courses before that date to avoid having issues in case your account will be put on hold! Thank you!
The executive board of UAW Local 2322, representing about 5,000 workers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, voted to endorse the Sanders campaign, reported here for the first time. Anais Surkin, the local’s president, said that the board chose to endorse based on widespread support of Sanders by the members, and as a result of frustration with the UAW international’s lack of a process for backing candidates in the Democratic primary. “What are they gonna do to us as a local if we endorse?” Surkin said. “We can and should express the will of the membership… the [Sanders] campaign isn’t focused just on the national leadership of unions. It’s focused on member-to-member communications.”
Hi fellow GEO members, Decades of increasing political and employer control have greatly diminished the power of all workers in the US. This especially affects vulnerable workers, including graduate student workers, in precarious conditions with little to no legal protections due to carefully crafted barriers constructed to prevent us from seeking legal protections and remedies from exploitative work conditions. Across the country events are unfolding of critical importance to the level and success of labor struggles for graduate workers at Umass and working people and students everywhere. There is one national presidential campaign that is devoted to empowering unions and increasing the strength and ability for workers to organize and fight for our rights, and that's the Bernie Sanders Campaign. https://twitter.com/BernieSanders/status/1230288311006134274 The Sanders Campaign is actively building a mass movement, drawing in a broad, diverse coalition of working people, youth, and activists. Unions across the country are endorsing and advocating for the most pro-labor presidential campaign and movement in modern history. Sanders’ Workplace Democracy Plan, the Respect Graduate Student Workers Act, the Thurgood Marshall Plan for Public Education, Medicare for All and the Green New Deal will be critical to creating an economy that works for all of us, not just the Billionaires. By investing in regular people’s daily lives, cancelling all student debt, guaranteeing good paying union jobs and the right to organize, we can reverse the long decline of wages and living standards. GEO Members for Bernie is a group of rank and file GEO members working to elect Sanders. We are organizing for a GEO endorsement for Bernie. Join us on February 26th at 6pm in S330 Life Sciences Lab to vote on the Bernie endorsement at our membership meeting. I encourage fellow GEO members to join us at the Umass for Bernie facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/601399810426507/) or to email us at [email protected].
I am seeking to get accommodations in my capacity as a teacher and sought help with accessible workplace. They’ve directed me to Disability Services. Is this right?
Faculty and Graduate Students from LLC and other departments came together to make a clear statement; white-supremacy and racism aren't tolerated here! Besides posters with slogans in the windows of Herter Hall, we just have published this statement. Please share and take action!
When was our first pay day for the semester supposed to be?
Hey guys! When is the benefits fair going to take place and where? Thanks!
Today's Child-In was pretty awesome!!!!
UMass Amherst folks...If you are a grad worker, work with grad workers, depend on grad workers, study under grad workers...check out how this administration "values" us as we attempt, 5 months AFTER we first presented our proposals in collective bargaining, to finally get some kind of an economic package counteroffer as we negotiate our new contract. Today we came to Barbara Krauthamer, the new Graduate School Dean, for her support in our efforts to bargain for livable wages. We waited for her for 20 minutes. Check out her responses to us starting at 19min in. IF YOU CARE ABOUT US AS STUDENT WORKERS, PLEASE SUPPORT US.