GEO-UAW endorses “Can’t Be Neutral” and the rehire of Dr. Barbara Madeloni

The Graduate Employee Organization, UAW 2322 endorses the rehire of Dr. Barbara Madeloni, Senior Lecturer and Director of the Secondary Teacher Education Program at the School of Education, who last spring led a group of students to boycott the implementation of a corporate sponsored, standardized teacher assessment on pre-service (student) teachers.  We see this as one more example of the corporatization of public education and the surveillance, silencing and demands for obedience that accompany it.

Shortly after Barbara was featured in a New York Times article detailing the recent student resistance to Pearson and the Teacher Performance Assessment, she received a letter of non-renewal. While the School of Education (SOE) claims that this is coincidental, many of our members who know Barbara and have witnessed current trends in the SOE believe otherwise.  We join our members in the SOE who are organizing efforts to support Barbara and to resist the larger corporatization of education, of which this incident is symptomatic.

Students and faculty in the School of Education who speak out are putting themselves on the line.  They need our support from across campus:

  1. Find out more by reading the New York Times article, this Daily Hampshire Gazette op-ed piece, and listen to the recent Education Radio episode about the TPA.
  2. Go to Can’t Be Neutral – our SOE members’ online presence in the fight for public education.
  3. Save the date for the Can’t Be Neutral Teach-In planned to run all day on Friday, Oct. 19 in the Cape Cod Room.
  4. Most importantly, please sign this petition. We need your voice.

Please consider including a statement about your reaction to her termination, the threat to academic freedom, or your thoughts on the privatization of education – at UMass and beyond.

Bargaining Update: Tentative Agreement

The GEO Bargaining Committee is proud to announce that we have come to a tentative agreement on a successor contract.  We believe that the new contract we bargained over the last few months offers significant improvements to the wages and working conditions of our members.  We are therefore recommending that members of the GEO bargaining unit ratify this contract in a vote on September 19 and 20 from 12-2pm in Campus Center 174, and at the beginning of the GEO Membership Meeting on September 20 at 6pm in Campus Center 101.

We have provided a summary of the modifications to the contract as a pdf.  We encourage you to contact the GEO office with questions.

Thank you,
The GEO Bargaining Committee
Jocelyn Silverlight, Bargaining Co-Chair, GEO Co-Chair
Thomas Herndon, Bargaining Co-Chair
Kathleen Baldwin, Bargaining Member
Anders Minter, Bargaining Member
Jonathan Cooper, Bargaining Member
Derek Doughty, GEO Co-Chair
Danielle Allessio, GEO Membership Mobilization Coordinator
Yetunde Ajao, GEO Organizer
Ron Patenaude, UAW 2322 President
Ryan Quinn, UAW 2322 Servicing Rep.
Court Cline, UAW 2322 Servicing Rep.

Important UAW/UMass/AETNA Coinsurance Settlement Update

Your union, the Graduate Employee Organization (GEO/UAW Local 2322), and the University of Massachusetts have agreed on a grievance settlement for the out-of-pocket (OOP) health insurance expense amounts that graduate employees in are required to pay for plan year 2011-2012. Under this settlement agreement, the University agrees that the out-of-pocket maximum for graduate student employees covered under the student health insurance plan (AETNA Student Health) for Plan Year August 1, 2011 through July 31, 2012 is $3,000.  Out-of-pocket expenses include coinsurance payments but exclude deductibles, copays and precertification penalties.

If you were a graduate student employee that paid over $3,000 in out-of-pocket expenses during the 2011-2012 plan year (08/01/11-07/31/12), you should have received an email from Aetna Student Health with instructions about how to get your refund.  This email would have also included an important release that must be signed to process your reimbursement.  Please don’t hesitate in completing and returning the forms.  Be assured that Aetna Student Health will only release your student ID #, name and the total amount that has exceeded $3,000 of out-of-pocket costs.  No diagnostic or clinical information will be shared with the University or your union.  If you paid more than $3,000 in out-of-pocket costs and you did not receive an email from Aetna Student Health, please contact a staff member at the Graduate Employee Organization (GEO/UAW Local 2322) at (413) 545-0705 or geo@external.umass.edu .  This agreement along with the saving of the laboratory and pharmacy at University Health Services are tremendous wins for the Graduate Employee Organization (GEO/UAW Local 2322).  Congratulations to everyone that participated in all of the collective actions leading up to this victory.