Meet Your Bargaining Committee

Danielle Allessio, Education
Adam Daniell*, English
Matthew Donlevy, English, American Studies
Avery Fürst, Labor Studies
Alyssa Goldstein, Sociology
Eric Hoyt*, Economics
Peter Huntington*, Geoscience
Enku Ide, Sociology
Zach Kimes*, Political Science
Destiney Linker, History
Karen Rosenberg, UAW International Servicing Representative
Kimberly Sawyer*, Labor Studies
Stacey Sexton, Public Policy & Higher Education Administration
Jocelyn Silverlight, UAW 2322 President
Anais Surkin, Social Justice Education
Will Syldor, Education
Anna Waltman, English and American Literature
Santiago Vidales, Spanish; Portuguese

* = one of our alternates

Danielle Allessio*, UAW 2322 Executive Board Guide
PhD candidate: Education
Subcommittees: Social/Jokes & Winks; Surveys

Matthew Donlevy, Steward, Writing Program
MA/PhD student: English (American Studies)
Subcommittees: Social/Jokes & Winks; Costing

Matthew Donlevy is a MA/PhD student from the American Studies concentration within the English Department, and is currently working for the Writing Program. Before moving to Amherst he received a History degree from the University Of Virginia’s liberal arts college at Wise, Virginia. His work on 19th Century American social, economic, and cultural forces addresses topics of Masculinity, Working Class literature, and African American literature. He also has a secret fascination with concepts of artificial intelligence, but he has yet to find a way to weave that into his course work.

He hopes to offer a patient, thoughtful, and fair voice in the ongoing fight to protect the best interests of graduate student employees, and other groups. If you need him he can often be found in Bartlett Hall,the New Africa House, or the GEO office.

Avery Fürst, Co-chief Negotiator
MA student: Labor Studies
Subcommittees: Strategic Research & Campaigns; Communications & Media

My name is Avery Fürst and I graduated from UMass Amherst studying History, Civic Engagement, and German Studies. Currently, I am a graduate student in the Labor Studies program at UMass and TA “Labor in the U.S.” I was born in Germany and grew up in Europe, spending most of my life in Naples, Italy. I came to the United States for my undergraduate and ended up continuing my studies here. As both an undergraduate and graduate student, I have been a lead figure in the activist scene on campus fighting for social justice. I am involved with the Student Labor Action Project (SLAP), the Center for Education Policy Advocacy (CEPA), and the GEO organizing committee. Looking forward, I am excited to continue fighting for student and worker power at UMass Amherst and a better GEO contract!

Adina Giannelli*, GSS President
Master’s student: Public Policy & Public Health
Subcommittees: Proposals & Language

Eric Hoyt*, UAW 2322 Executive Board Sergeant-at-Arms
PhD student: Economics
Subcommittees: Social/Jokes & Winks

Enku Ide, GEO-UAW Grievance Coordinator
PhD student: Sociology
Subcommittees: Strategic Research & Campaigns; Surveys

Hi! I’m Enku Ide, and I’m currently serving as your GEO Grievance Coordinator. I’m a graduate student in sociology, where I study higher education, work/labor, genders/sexualities, and social movements (particularly the labor movement). Last year, I served as a steward for the sociology department, I was an active member of the organizing committee, and I was on GEO Steering. I’m new to the labor movement as a member (and certainly as a staff member), but I cut my teeth in the labor solidarity movement with United Students Against Sweatshops and the Student/Farmworker Alliance while an undergraduate at the University of Southern Mississippi. I then went to work for Labor Notes before going on to the University of Kentucky for my MA (2012). For my MA thesis, I looked at workplace experiences among unionized and non-unionized graduate employees. I’m currently starting my third year here at UMass.

Nabila Iqbal*
Master’s student: Art, Architecture, & Art History

Stephanos Koulias*
Master’s student: Landscape Architecture & Regional Planning
Subcommittees: Communications & Media; Proposals & Language

Destiney Linker, Bargaining Historian
PhD student: History
Subcommittees: Strategic Research & Campaigns; Surveys; Proposals & Language

Destiney Linker is the GEO steward for the Department of History, in which she is a 2nd year PhD student studying African American history, Third World feminisms and other forms of radicalism, and US imperialism. In addition to being a member of the bargaining committee, Destiney is also initiating a GEO oral history project.

Karen Rosenberg
IUAW Servicing Representative

I have been a member of the UAW Amalgamated Local 2320 (the National Organization of Legal Services Workers) for almost 25 years. I am a 1990 graduate of Northeastern University Law School. I spent 10 years practicing law, in the areas of legal services and disability rights, before going to work for Local 2320, where for five years, I negotiated contracts and represented lawyers and legal workers all over the country, including legal services workers in MA, ME, CT, NJ, GA, FL and NM, as well as workers from diverse other organizations, such as the Center for Constitutional Rights and the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, where I negotiated first contracts. I have been an International Representative since 2008, during which time I have negotiated contracts and represented dealers at Foxwoods Resort Casino (where I participating in negotiating both first and second contracts) as well as representing workers in various units of Local 2322, including negotiating the first contract for UMass Postdocs in 2012.

Jocelyn Silverlight
UAW 2322 President & GEO-UAW Servicing Representative

Jocelyn Silverlight currently serves as the president of UAW 2322 and the servicing representative for GEO. Previously, Jocelyn served as the co-chair of GEO for two years and also worked as a TA in the Civil Engagement and Service Learning department on campus. Jocelyn graduated with her Masters in Social Justice Education in 2013. As the president of UAW 2322, Jocelyn’s goal is to strengthen the solidarity between members across sectors in our local union and continue to fight for workers rights. Jocelyn will assist the GEO Bargaining Committee in the 2014 contract negotiations.

Anais Surkin, GEO-UAW Co-chair
PhD student, Social Justice Education
Subcommittees: Communications & Media; Social Committee; Surveys; Proposals & Language

My name is Anais Surkin and I am an organizer, activist, educator, advocate and scholar; my dedication to resisting all forms of oppression and violence is central to my struggle for liberation and global vision of transformative social and economic justice. Currently a doctoral student in Social Justice Education at UMass, I hold an MS in Urban Affairs with a concentration in community organizing and a BA in Sociology and Latin American/Caribbean Studies from CUNY Hunter College.

Prior to coming to UMass in 2012, I worked in NYC and Rockland County, NY around issues of intimate partner violence, sexual violence, hate violence and criminalization, particularly as in intersecting LGBTQ, sex worker and immigrant communities. At UMass I have worked as both a research assistant and teaching associate as instructor of EDUC 210. I also train graduate student facilitators in the Intergroup Dialogue Program. My research interests include dialogue, critical pedagogy, and the relationship between critical consciousness and collective action.

Since October 2013 I have served as Grievance Coordinator of GEO-UAW2322. In April 2014, was elected Co-Chair for AY 2014-2015. As Grievance Coordinator my first goal was to connect with every GEO steward to learn about working conditions in their respective departments. My experiences in the anti-violence movement and with dialogue have given me strong skills and shape my approach to leadership and organizing. I have also been working on building coalitions, organizing events and representing GEO on committees. I attended the UAW Leadership Institute at Black Lake, LaborNotes, and facilitated a panel at the Left Forum with graduate unionists from different universities.

I have had the opportunity to work with GEO-UAW2322 members from many different units across the University and to advocate on their behalf. As such, I am familiar with the variety of challenges our members face and eager to bargain a better, stronger contract, with a more mobilized, more powerful membership. We are a great source of power on this campus, to resist privatization and monetization of public higher education. UMass works because we do. Graduate student workers–and all workers– deserve better working conditions, fair workloads and higher pay. For the union makes us strong.

Fermin Valle*
Master’s student, Higher Education Administration

Anna Waltman, GEO-UAW co-chair & Co-chief Negotiator
PhD student, English (Literature track)
Subcommittees: Proposals & Language; Strategic Research & Campaigns

Hi there! My name is Anna and I am thrilled to represent you at the bargaining table as co-chief negotiator alongside Avery Furst. I envision this role as a chance to enact the democratic values of GEO by bargaining a contract with the full, visible support of our union’s rank-and-file members.

You probably know me as one of the co-chairs of GEO, recently re-elected to serve a second term. I’ve been a member of GEO since beginning a combined MA/PhD in English and American Literature in 2009, and have worked as a Writing Program TO and an English department TA. Prior to running for co-chair, I was an English dept. Steward, co-chair of Stewards’ Assembly, and a Stewards’ Representative to Steering. I’m also active in the North American Coalition of Graduate Employee Unions and a recent nominee to the American Association of University Professors Graduate & Professional Studies Subcommittee.

Contract negotiations are our primary opportunity to close the major loopholes in our contract that allow our members to be consistently overworked, silenced, and exploited with little to no recourse. Other graduate unions have achieved stronger workload clauses, higher raises, and more detailed language protecting fair working conditions, job security, and transparency in funding decisions. As one of the oldest graduate employee unions in the US, our wages and benefits should consistently match or improve upon those of our sister unions at peer institutions across the country. A GEO-UAW contract that improves with each round of negotiations raises the bar for the whole academic labor movement and continually lifts the value of a UMass Amherst education for graduate students, the undergraduates that we teach, and the people and institutions that rely on our research.

Santiago Vidales, Stewards’ Assembly co-chair
PhD student, Spanish & Portuguese
Subcommittees: Communications & Media; Social Committee

My name is Santiago Vidales though everyone calls me Santi. I was born in Colombia, grew up in Germany for a few years and moved to the US when I was 11. Here in the US, I lived in Alexandria, VA where I attended middle and high school.

I came to UMass in 2006 to start my BA in Philosophy. I also minored in Spanish Literature and Film Studies. While an undergrad I started my involvement in activism by participating in the small anti-war movement. After graduating from UMass I moved to Los Angeles for a year to start my graduate work and though it was a great experience, I decided to move back to Amherst to continue my studies.

Currently I am a TA for the Languages, Literatures and Cultures department where I teach Spanish and Comparative Literature courses. My research interests are mainly on 20th century poetry in Latin America but I would also like to study bilingual poetry in the next few years.

Since starting grad school at UMass I have been very involved with GEO. I have been a Steward for my unit, been elected to serve on the Steering Committee and am currently serving on the Bargaining Team. This union is important to me because it has protected my and my colleagues’ rights as workers, it has provided minorities like me with spaces to discuss our lived experiences on campus and it is a great source for community and support. I will do my best to make sure grad student employees have the best possible contract and that our administration respects our rights as union workers.