GEO Election: Candidate Statements

Member Mobilization Coordinator Candidate:

Avery Fürst

Labor Studies

GEO Bargaining team member

Most of us will need to work for money (wages) in our life. Therefore, I see being active in one’s union as the most important professional development that anyone can take part in. Knowing how to stand up for ourselves, and by extension everyone else at our workplace, is paramount not only for our time at UMass but in any job we ever work. How else will we work good jobs? Only through standing together -when someone is being mistreated, overworked, discriminated against, and when we think an improvement needs to be made to our working conditions – can we address these issues and make our working lives better and more worthwhile. As a result, both while on the organizing committee last year and in my current position on the bargaining committee I am always thinking about how we can connect to members to each other and to the union more effectively. Currently, I am having members talk to other members about how their work is going, hear members’ concerns, give bargaining updates, and invite members to events. I see organized communication between members as central to graduate student-workers feeling more connected both to each other and to their union. Secondly, I am in the process of putting together trainings this semester for GEO members so that more members know their protected labor rights and how to advocate for themselves and others at work. Thirdly, I plan to organize more social events as yet another way for us to feel more connected to each other and more able to stand up for ourselves at work. Most importantly, these connections come in handy when graduate student-workers need to come together and push for changes at the university.

Member Mobilization Coordinator Candidate:

Ian Rhodewalt

Ian Rhodewalt is an educator and organizer who has experience mobilizing communities in a number of different areas. As an undergraduate, he did a lot of campus organizing work around prison justice issues, as well as anti-death penalty work. Ian is passionate about racial justice coalition building and is eager to bring to the position of mobilization coordinator an anti-racist framework. He has worked as a community organizer with the NAACP in Georgia working with their Justice for Troy Davis campaign. Ian has worked with grassroots electoral and campaign organizing and Get Out the Vote drives in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts. Before coming to UMASS, Ian lived and worked in the West Bank as an educator and organizer, and is now pursuing a Master’s degree in Social Justice Education. He has also been active in recent years in organizing against the NYPD Stop and Frisk policy. Ian is very passionate about labor politics, and is excited to have the possibility of working closely to actively engage the GEO membership as the mobilization coordinator, especially in this year of contract bargaining.

Steering Committee Member-at-Large Candidate:

Dan Lynch

A former commercial fisherman and 5th year graduate student in anthropology. His academic work at UMass concerns understanding violence against immigrants and religious groups through the study of material remains and historic erasures of violence across time and space. Dan is your Steering Committee At-Large candidate.

Elections Notice

Dear GEO Members,

An election for GEO officers will take place for the following positions: Steering At-Large Member (1) and Mobilization Coordinator (1).

The voting location, dates, and times are below:

Campus Center Concourse: Tuesday October 7 from 9-11am, Wednesday October 8 from 2:30-4:30pm, and Thursday October 9 from 2:30 to 3:30pm.

Campus Center Room 911-915 from 3:30 to 4:30pm

Voting will culminate at the membership meeting on Thursday October 9. The voting will move from the Campus Center Concourse to the GEO Membership meeting at 3:30. Voting will continue between 3:30pm and 4pm at the membership meeting location (Campus Center 911-115) as GEO members arrive and settle in for the meeting. Voting will continue until 30 minutes into the membership meeting (at 4:30pm) at which time the polls will officially close and the ballots will be counted. The results will then be announced at the membership meeting by the Elections Committee.

Any questions may be addressed to the Elections Committee at

In Solidarity,
Carly Houston Overfelt
on behalf of the Elections Committee

Nominations Open for GEO Elections

Dear GEO Members,

GEO is a democratically-run organization.

Nominations are now open for several elected GEO positions, and we need a full crew going into the semester as we continue bargaining our next contract!  Please see below for nomination calls for each position, including information about each position and the nomination/election process.  Any full member in good standing may nominate themselves or another member in good standing for any of these positions.


Nominations are now open for:

  • Bargaining Committee Members (10 hr. contract and/or volunteer positions);
  • Mobilization Coordinator (20 hr. contract);
  • Steering Committee Member (volunteer position)
  • GEO Representatives to the UAW 2322 Joint Council (volunteer positions)


Bargaining Committee Member (1 10 hr. paid; 1 or 2 unpaid*; additional alternates)

Information about the Bargaining Committee:

The Bargaining Committee (nine members and alternates) is elected by GEO members, and are responsible for assessing membership needs, planning and carrying out bargaining with the administration, and regularly communicating written bargaining updates to the membership throughout bargaining, which will also appear on the GEO website.

The Bargaining Committee consists of nine members and an unspecified number of alternate members elected by the membership. Chief negotiators (2) will be elected by the bargaining committee members. All bargaining committee members shall serve throughout the duration of a contract negotiation and shall not be required to seek re-election if contract negotiations go beyond a year. If bargaining committee members resign or are recalled, new members of the committee will be elected by the membership as needed. All decisions shall be made by consensus, with a quorum of five members needed. If consensus cannot be reached, the decision in question shall be brought to the membership for final determination. Membership has oversight over the bargaining committee.

Nomination Process:

Nominations for this committee are due at the membership at which the election will take place. This means a nominee will come to the October membership meeting to make a brief statement just before the election. If you want to nominate yourself or someone else to this committee, but cannot attend the membership meeting, you may write your statement and have one of the co-chairs read it aloud for you at the membership meeting just before the election.

*As the paid position may be filled by a currently unpaid bargaining committee member, it is possible that another unpaid position could be opened at that time. If you are interested in becoming an unpaid bargaining committee member, or an alternate, please come to the October membership meeting to nominate yourself at the appropriate time.

Mobilization Coordinator (1)

Duties and Responsibilities:

Responsibilities include but are not limited to: supervising membership drives; assisting in boosting attendance; attending Steering and Assembly of Stewards meetings; introducing all new members and visitors; assisting the GEO Co-Chairs in preserving order when called upon to do so; ensuring that minutes are taken at all GEO meetings; maintaining records of organization; submitting requisitions to the Local and International as needed; planning and administering GEO operating budget and chairing the GEO Finance Committee; facilitating GEO sponsorship of events and organizations; taking charge of all property of GEO not otherwise provided for; monitoring and giving guidance on procedural questions and rules; ensuring that those attending GEO meetings are either members or invited visitors; assuming duties of the Co-Chairs if they are unavailable; and assisting the union in achieving its overall mission in the workplace.

Nomination Process:

Nominate yourself or someone else in writing to the Steering Committee. You can email this nomination to Nominations are due by midnight on September 23rd.

Steering Committee At-Large Member (1)

Information about the Steering Committee:

The Steering Committee shall be responsible for the day-to-day operation of the unit including, but not limited to: the direction of the day-to-day operations of the organization; the oversight of the staff; preparation and submission of all proposals, budgets, budget requisitions and budget modifications to the Assembly of Stewards for approval; coordination and oversight of standing committees; the appropriate maintenance of the health of the organization; management and execution of the budget; all correspondence and relations between the leadership, the Assembly of Stewards and the membership; and all external relations excepting those duties specifically proscribed for other committees (such as the Bargaining Committee).

The Steering Committee shall meet at least two times a month during the academic year. The committee shall meet once a month at other times. Additional meetings can be called as needed by the officers.

Nomination Process:

Nominate yourself or someone else in writing to the Steering Committee. You can email this nomination to Nominations are due by midnight September 23rd.

Joint Council Members (5)

Information about the Joint Council:

The Joint Council includes proportional representation from the various shops in our amalgamated union, the UAW 2322. As one of those shops, GEO elects and sends its own representatives to the Joint Council meetings, which are held once a month, and rotate between the UMass campus and the 2322 office in Holyoke.



Nominations Process:

Please come to the October membership meeting to nominate yourself, or issue a statement to one of the GEO co-chairs to be read on your behalf.

If you have any questions regarding the elections or nominations process, please do not hesitate to email the Elections Committee at

In Solidarity,

Carly Houston Overfelt

on behalf of the Elections Committee