GEO is hiring!

Dear GEO members,

GEO is hiring a caucus and committee organizer! The position is benefited, 20 hours a week, and paid at the GEO minimum. Applications are due by August 15, 2017 and the start date is September 5, 2017. Please see details below.

Solidarity,
GEO-UAW Local 2322

Rationale:

The Caucus and Committee Organizer will be hired with the expressed aim of establishing, growing and sustaining a network of caucuses and committees within GEO. Per the GEO bylaws, these caucuses and committees are spaces established by the membership to create mechanisms for autonomous union participation and engagement by GEO members. For members that cannot attend and participate in Membership Meetings and/or Stewards Assemblies because of work and personal constraints, these caucuses and committees may work as alternate spaces for union participation, engagement, empowerment and leadership development. Given that there are multiple caucuses and committees explicitly mentioned in the bylaws as well as several that have formed by the expressed necessity of members, it is crucial that these spaces are supported to ensure their autonomy as well as their continued communication and engagement with the staff, leadership, the membership as well as our wider community.

The Caucus and Committee Organizer supports caucuses and committees in their work to address the unique needs and issues brought up by their constituencies. The Caucus and Committee Organizer position responds to GEO’s recognition that the populations that participate and establish caucuses and committees face workplace challenges such as unfair labor practices, racism, xenophobia and sexism that are directly and uniquely related to their identities. In addition, the Caucus and Committee Organizer position responds to GEO’s recognition that these targeted populations make up a significant portion of our bargaining unit and membership, that is nonetheless underrepresented in GEO leadership and participation.

Job Responsibilities:
The Caucus and Committee Organizer will work with members of caucuses and committees in the execution of their stated missions and organizational goals as outlined for the upcoming year. The organizer will act as a liaison between the caucuses and committees and GEO leadership as well as the broader GEO Membership. The Caucus and Committee Organizer will work closely with the Mobilization Coordinator and UAW 2322 Servicing Representatives in the performance of these duties. The Caucus and Committee Organizer is directly supervised by the GEO Steering Committee and the UAW 2322 President.

Job Objectives:
●     Establish, sustain and grow a network of caucuses and committees within GEO that will increase membership engagement, participation and empowerment
●      Increase the membership and participation rate of graduate student-workers of color and other underrepresented groups within GEO through caucuses and committees
●      Foster a race-conscious engagement with GEO’s contract to ensure equitable enforcement of contract

Job Duties include, but are not limited to:
●      Coordinate caucus and committee’s ongoing organizing efforts, including proposing and executing initiatives and campaigns consistent with the mission and goals of the caucuses and committees
●      Facilitate, organize, and record caucus and committee meetings and events
●      Support in the drafting of agendas for caucus and committee meetings
●      Support in the facilitation and organization of caucus and committee meetings and events
●      Participate in Bargaining and Steering Committee Meetings per GEO-UAW bylaws
●      Participate in GEO General Membership Meetings as well as the Stewards Assembly
●      Serve as a liaison between GSS, registered GSOs, and other departments/programs and schools as necessary for the performance of job duties
●      Work with GEO Leadership and the Mobilization Coordinator to address labor concerns and ensure equitable enforcement of the GEO contract
●      Participate in the ongoing planning and evaluation of GEO’s and the caucuses and committees’ organizing efforts
●      Record, document, and archive projects, campaigns, and membership concerns carried out during the term
●      Carry-out miscellaneous duties immediately necessary for the caucuses and committees

Details:
We are hiring one (1) benefitted position, 20 hours a week; for a period of 38 weeks, start date September 5, 2017. Funding for this position will come from GEO-UAW Local 2322, therefore applicants must legally qualify for employment with a non-university organization (UAW Local 2322). We are seeking candidates with experience working with underrepresented minority communities, as well as experience organizing events and meetings. See attached job description for more details.

Every organizing position also comes with the requirement that the organizer be willing to help out in campaigns and organizing projects that are not narrowly related to their specialty, particularly at times when tasks within their organizing specialty are not at peak periods of intensity. Organizers are thus responsible for all aspects of assistance in the union’s organizing campaigns, including campaign start-up, assessments, developing literature, running meetings and workplace actions.

All employees are expected to devote a portion of their paid working hours to office management tasks (i.e. holding office hours, answering phones, taking messages, in-taking grievances, greeting members who come into the office, etc.) and to attend meetings as required, including regular staff meetings. Some night and weekend hours may be required.

Applicants must have been a UAW member in good standing for one year or two consecutive semesters prior to start date, and a current graduate student.

In order to apply, please submit:
A resume.
A cover letter stating the reasons you are interested in the position and your qualifications. Also, please include your thoughts on the following questions:

Why are you interested in being hired for this position?

What kind of union activism, organizing, community or volunteer experience do you have? In what capacities have you been active within GEO?

What skills do you possess that would be beneficial for this position?

Do you plan on having another assistantship or paid position that will require a significant commitment of your time? If so, please provide details of this position.

Be prepared to bring proof of your student status to your interview (e.g. a letter from your GPD confirming your status). Also, international students need to provide their work authorization
documents.

Applications should be emailed to hiring@geouaw.org, applications are due by August 15, 2017.

Important Health Insurance Reminder

IMPORTANT HEALTH INSURANCE REMINDER:

For the Fall 2017 semester, the Health Insurance Enrollment Deadline will be the Add/Drop date: September 18, 2017. ALL ENROLLMENTS NEED TO BE IN BY THAT DATE.

Despite the fact that no matter when you enroll, your coverage will be retroactive to August 1st, in order to avoid lapse in coverage and potential difficulty obtaining care and/or prescriptions, you are strongly encouraged to enroll NOW. This needs to be done every semester for family plans, and any time you are on Continuous Enrollment or registered for fewer than five credits.

ONLY INDIVIDUAL PLAN STUDENTS WITH FIVE OR MORE CREDITS ARE AUTOMATICALLY SIGNED UP FOR HEALTH INSURANCE!!!

If you are not registered for at least five credits or if you need to enroll in the family plan, you can do so in person at UHS patient services OR fill out this form:
http://www.umass.edu/…/HealthPlanEnrollment_180-094_July201…
and return it to UHS patient services.
If you have 5 or more credits in the Fall 2017 semester, and you DO NOT want to be covered under the student health benefit plan, you need to do an online waiver process. The waiver website will be available through September 18th. Here are the instructions on how do the waiver:

Go to www.spire.umass.edu;
Select the Health Waiver page link;
Click the Online Waiver Site link; and
Complete and submit the waiver form.

or

Go to www.chpstudent.com;
Start by Selecting UMass Amherst from the drop down box;
Next click on the “Waiver” tab located in the center of the page;
Enter your Student ID and Date of Birth, click “Continue”;
Complete all information as directed; and “Submit”;
Your request will NOT be completed until you:
– Check the box confirming that your information is correct;
– Provide your electronic signature; and
– Click the Submit button.

Should you have any difficulties or questions about this or any other
matter, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the GEO staff in 201
Student Union or at 413-545-0705
in solidarity,
GEO/UAW2322

GEO-UAW 2322 Hiring Grievance Coordinator 201​7​-201​8​

Fellow workers,

The Grievance Coordinator will solicit member concerns to determine
which are contract violations, and which are issues to organize around.
When the University violates the contract, the procedure for seeking
redress is the grievance process; in conjunction with the UAW2322
Servicing Representatives, the GEO Grievance Coordinator is responsible
for managing this process.

Successful applicants will need to have a detailed familiarity with the
GEO contract, be comfortable with administrative and legal procedures,
and have a commitment to upholding the contract. Attention to detail,
strong research and interpersonal skills, assertiveness and diplomacy in
relations with University administrators, and persistence and ability to
follow-through are essential for this job. Experience working with union
contracts and knowledge of state labor laws is preferable.

Strong preference will be given to GEO members that have previous GEO
experience, including active participation with campaigns and
committees. All members in good standing of GEO-UAW 2322 for the two
consecutive semesters prior to applying are eligible to apply.
Applicants must be committed to the principles of social justice and
collective action. All GEO employees should also demonstrate willingness
to work towards the union’s collective goals and a commitment to being
part of an organization that is fighting for progressive change on the
UMass campus and beyond.

The core responsibilities for this position are investigating potential
contract violations, working with to GEO members who feel their rights
have been violated, filing grievances, attending grievance hearings, and
monitoring the resolution of grievances. The Grievance Coordinator works
closely with UAW2322 Servicing Representatives in the performance of
these duties. The Grievance Coordinator is directly supervised by the
UAW2322 President and the GEO Steering Committee.

Additional duties include, but are not limited to:

1. Educating members about the grievance procedure and providing
training and support to stewards so they can handle the first step of
grievances.

2. Organizing around grievances by working with stewards as well as
Servicing Reps and GEO-UAW elected leadership.

3. Assisting with the process of publicizing successful grievances.

4. Contributing content to the GEO website and other media as
appropriate.

All employees are expected to devote a portion of their paid working
hours to office management tasks (i.e. holding office hours, answering
phones, taking messages, in-taking grievances, greeting members who come
into the office, etc.) and to attend meetings as required, including
regular weekly staff meetings. Some night and weekend hours may be
required.

This position is for 20 hours per week for 201​7-201​8 for 52 weeks with
a June 1 start date. The salary is the same as the average campus-wide
stipend. GEO/UAW Local 2322 will provide training. People of color,
international students,
women and transgender and gender nonconforming candidates are encouraged
to apply.

In order to apply, please submit:

1. A resume.

2. A cover letter stating the reasons you are interested in the position
and your qualifications.

Applications should be emailed to hiring@geouaw.org by 5pm on ​Friday,
April 1​4, 201​7. Interviews will be on a rolling basis.

In solidarity,

The GEO Hiring Committee

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2017-2018 GEO LEADERSHIP NOMINEE CANDIDATE STATEMENTS

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Check out the candidate statements for the 2017-2018 GEO leadership here! Voting starts on Thursday afternoon. See the Election Notice below for all of the polling times & locations as well as descriptions of each position.

Candidates for 2017-2018 Co-Chair:

Janam Pandya

Hello Everyone, My name is Janam Pandya and I am currently a Ph.D. student in Food Science     department. I have been GEO Member from the last couple of years and now trying to contribute to the growth of this awesome organization. I have been engaged in several leadership activities since I was an Undergraduate student back in India. I successfully led a lot of independent and group assignment during my two and half years of professional experience before joining to UMass. To this date, I am currently a Competition director for Institute of food technology (IFT) where I lead and organize the competition participated by hundreds of students all over the world. I also held Treasure position in the Indian Student Association during the academic year 2016-17. With all these leadership experience, If I get a chance to serve GEO as a Co-chair, I am sure, I will be able to give my 100% input towards protecting graduate employees’ rights, making sure that GEO functions the way it is been from last several years. Thank you!

Evan Howard Ashford

My name is Evan Howard Ashford, and I am running for Co-Chair of the Graduate Employee Organization UAW 2322. I am a 3rd year doctoral student in the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies. As a GEO member since 2014, I have served as the Black Caucus Coordinator and member of the Elections and Finance Committees. The past two years of GEO leadership has failed to protect the honesty and integrity for which GEO stands. The amount of discrimination and bigotry against African American and African peoples and the bullying tactics of leadership, including executive board and Joint Council have created a divided GEO and broader UAW Local 2322 built on identity politics. Being on the receiving end of such tactics, I am running to ensure that GEO is a place for ALL workers. In order to get the benefits and rights needed to be productive graduate student workers, we need to have a unit that advocates for all. Staff needs to be held to greater accountability for their actions. I will bring strong and fair leadership that is currently lacking in our current co-chair leadership. The current co-chair leadership regime has displayed divisive and dishonest practices that has prompted me to run in order to advocate for all of my fellow GEO members who deserve an organization that serves them all equally. I will build a STRONGER and more POWERFUL GEO that is rooted in RESPECT, EQUALITY, and FAIRNESS. ONLY IN UNITY CAN WE ACHIEVE VICTORY!!

As Co-Chair, I pledge to fight for the following:

  1. Creation of a fund to assist GEO members struggling financially due to funding issues.
  2. Tougher punishments for administration and faculty who violate the worker contracts.
  3. Updating the GEO bylaws so that loopholes and unclear language cannot be used to benefit the few at the expense of the entire membership.
  4. Elimination of discrimination from within GEO. No member should feel that they are not welcomed within GEO.
  5. Closing the deficit so that GEO operates at a surplus.
  6. Ending the current patronage system that has allowed for our dues money to be spent on poorly organized and attended events.
  7. Creating a transparent organization that truly restores POWER to the MEMBERSHIP!

CHANGE BEGINS WITH YOU!!!

Santiago Vidales

Fellow workers,

Higher wages, expanded health care, stronger protections against discrimination, harassment and overwork and better campus resources for the graduate community are some of the issues that our members have expressed need to improve. I am running for GEO Co-Chair because with the leadership of Alyssa Goldstein as Co-Chair and Nyaradzai (Nyari) Changamire as Mobilization Coordinator we can make sure our members win the kind of contract they have expressed they need and they deserve. I am also running in this election because I want to see GEO continue to grow by centering the needs of the most marginalized amongst us. I love doing this work and I want to ensure that GEO (and the GEO office) remains an open, welcoming and friendly space for all.

We have a big year ahead of us. We are in a strong position to improve and expand our contract and defend the achievements GEO has made over the past 25 years. Over the past two years our membership has grown and has become more engaged. Through persistent outreach we have heard from communities that have usually been marginalized and overlooked not only within our Union but also in our community. There are too many people that have fallen through the cracks and a new leadership team must continue finding ways to remedy this. For example, it is unacceptable that working parents should live in expensive and run-down campus housing. It is unacceptable that they should send their children to an inadequate university childcare center where their kids are discriminated. Because GEO parents have voiced their concerns and have mobilized, the next leadership team must ensure that our bargaining campaign and our eventual new contract grants people affordable housing and expanded family health insurance. We must also ensure that the University is accountable to the community. Campus resources such as the childcare center should be welcoming and accessible to the people that need it most.

We all struggle to make ends meet. Living in the Valley can be expensive and difficult. We all work long hours, nights and weekends and we should not remain in poverty when we are the driving force at UMass. It is vital that our wages increase significantly, that the university provide subsidies for housing and food as well as provide summer funding, especially for international student who may not be able to leave during the summer months and may not work off campus. There is a lot at stake and with strong leadership and continued organizing and mobilizing we can honor GEO’s mandate to improve the living and working conditions of all our members.

I truly believe that GEO and its active membership can change our campus for the better, build a more just and fair university and protect more people under a strong contract. I am a passionate and dedicated union organizer and if elected I will make sure that GEO lives up to its values of social justice, democracy and workers’ power.

Alyssa Goldstein

The strength of a union comes from its members. A union doesn’t exist to serve its members, rather, members are the union. Alongside Nyaradzai (Nyari) Changamire as mobilization coordinator and Santiago Vidales as fellow co-chair, I will work to empower graduate workers to be involved and take initiative within their union. I want GEO to continue to grow as a broad, welcoming union with many avenues for member involvement. I will strive to ensure that all voices within our diverse union are represented, particularly those who have been the most marginalized.

Our union is about to enter a crucial round of contract negotiations which will give us the opportunity to win some big improvements. Chancellor Subbaswamy said last year that graduate student workers had taken a “vow of poverty,” but I believe that no graduate student should be forced to endure poverty. I will work to win a contract that ensures wage increases, better and more affordable healthcare, housing and food subsidies, more accessible child care, and support for families. I will make it my priority to enforce the contract so graduate workers can enjoy the many rights and benefits we have already won. This university runs because of our teaching and research. We deserve to live with comfort and dignity during our time as graduate students.

I have been active in GEO since my very first week at UMass. I have served as Sociology department steward and as GEO’s representative to the UAW 2322 local joint council for the last three years. I am currently serving my second term on the bargaining committee, and I believe the experience I gained negotiating our last contract can help us win the strongest possible future contract. I would be honored to continue my record of organizing and activism as GEO’s co-chair.

Candidates for 2017-2018 Mobilization Coordinator:

Nyaradzai (Nyari) Changamire:

Hi fellow graduate employees!

I want to be your Mobilization Coordinator. Since the beginning of this year, I have been serving as the GEO bargaining team Organizing and Mobilization Coordinator. I have engaged and interacted with many of you. You have shared your work-related experiences and expressed your demands for a contract that meets both common and diverse needs. Fundamentally, we agree with our GEO motto that “UMASS works because we do”. Now as the bargaining process wheels begin to turn, we continue as a union to collectively defend our rights and demand just and fair treatment for all graduate workers. Beyond contract negotiations, it is essential that there remain a strong leadership that ensures that every union member’s voice is heard and respected. Together with Santiago Vidales and Alyssa Goldstein who are running as Co-chairs, we are committed to ensure that the union continues to grow in strength, as we organize against all forms of injustices on our campus.

The relationships and networks Santi, Alyssa and I have fostered with you will be invaluable as we advocate for and enforce a strong and fair contract that supports our needs as students.  Issues such as affordable housing and childcare, comprehensive health insurance coverage for individuals and families, eliminating specific fee burdens (particularly STEM related), work-place harassment and lack of transparent processes (e.g. allocation of assistantships) will remain a priority in my portfolio. Additionally, I will be vigilant in ensuring that we gain the respect we deserve for our invaluable contribution to this university.

As a graduate student employee, I realize that the benefits that I am enjoying right now are a result of union members’ commitment and hard work in the past years. Because of that, I value the union and strongly believe in our power and capacity to demand what we deserve. If you elect me as your union’s Mobilization Coordinator, I will continue to actively contribute to the worthy fight for a contract that is commensurate with all the dedication and commitment we invest in our jobs every-day.

Sadaf Rathod:

Dear GEO Members,

I am Sadaf Rathod, a dedicated social activist and committed professional, aspiring to collaborate with institutions and individuals working towards building equitable societies. I am pleased to inform you that, I am running for the position of GEO Mobilization Coordinator. A graduate student in the College of Education, I am actively involved with initiatives that advocate for social and academic inclusion, transparency, funding and equity. My commitment to building equitable societies is also reflected in my initiative to initiate a late-night study group in North Village Apartments for graduate students, especially female students; who have many family duties doing the day. This initiative offers them a focused environment that provides them group motivation and safety.

Prior to coming to USA, I was involved in community development programs in India. As one of the team leaders I created and facilitated peace building activities for diverse groups of women, youth and children. This gave me an opportunity to plan and administer budget, organize events and work individually as well as in collaboration with the team members and the community. These are just a few examples that demonstrate that I possess cross cultural fluency and have experience of working with diverse groups of people. My communication proficiency, multicultural background and sensitivity will be invaluable asset for this position.

My academic experience in conflict transformation and social justice and professional experiences, of being a grass root activist, a teacher, a facilitator and a teaching associate have provided me with the necessary skills to organize, lead, advocate, supervise, identify and address the needs/concerns of diverse groups. These experiences have also reminded me time and again that unity, solidarity and empathy are drivers of change. This position will provide me an opportunity to actively participate with our local union to create a better working, learning and inclusive environment for our GEO members.

I bring with me the academic knowledge of social justice and conflict transformation; personal awareness from lived experiences of discrimination and oppression which will inform my approach in addressing the complex systemic issues. If elected as your Mobilization Coordinator, I will work with the current GEO leadership to address your issues and concerns.

I humbly request for your vote, and hope you’ll vote for me.

Thank you for your vote!