Notice of 2017-2018 GEO Leadership Elections

Dear GEO Members,
GEO is a democratically-run organization.
Nominations are now open for GEO officer positions for 2017-2018. 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. All positions begin duties June 2017.

Nominations are now open for:

GEO Co-chair (2) (20 hr., 52 week contract)
Mobilization Coordinator (20 hr., 38 week contract, pay starting in September)
Steering Committee At-Large Member (2) (volunteer position)

GEO Co-chair (2)
Duties and Responsibilities:
Responsibilities will include but are not limited to: organizing and overseeing the election of Stewards in departments and/or work sites; chairing Steering Committee meetings and general membership meetings and ensuring agendas are set for both; and acting as primary GEO representatives to the Joint Council of Local 2322 and therefore attending Joint Council meetings. Except where otherwise noted, the co-chairs shall be considered to be the official representatives of GEO to the Administration and in all external relations; sign agreements between GEO and the University (with approval of the General Membership and/or Assembly of Stewards); serve as liaisons for the Steering Committee to the Staff; ensure GEO representation at Central Labor Council meetings; speak on behalf of GEO to media, the University, etc., and manage the production of media and publicity; act as primary liaisons between GEO and other Unions;; oversee publication of GEO newsletter and web page; organizing Standing Committees; and assist the union in achieving its overall mission in the workplace.

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.

Steering Committee At-Large Member (2)
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 for any of the above positions via email to the Steering Committee at Nominations are due by 11:59pm Monday March 13.

If you have any questions regarding the elections or nominations process, please do not hesitate to email the Elections Committee at
In Solidarity,
Stacey Sexton
on behalf of the Elections Committee

Solidarity with Standing Rock & Supply Drive

Dear UAW 2322 members,

At our October 13, 2016 Local Membership meeting we resoundingly ratified a resolution in Solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. In the spirit of our local’s long history of standing for social, economic and environmental justice and as an implementation of this resolution, union leadership will be travelling to the Oceti Sakowin Camp to join the union camp with “Labor for Standing Rock” and deliver crucial winterization supplies.

Despite recent news that the Army will deny easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline crossing under Mini Sose (Lake Oahe), the major corporations backing the project have openly denied that this decision will have any impact and pledged to move forward with the construction: As stated all along, ETP and SXL are fully committed to ensuring that this vital project is brought to completion and fully expect to complete construction of the pipeline without any additional rerouting in and around Lake Oahe. Nothing this Administration has done today changes that in any way.”

The Dakota Access Pipeline is a direct attack on the Standing Rock Sioux, native peoples who have endured centuries of colonization, genocide, land dispossession and broken treaties. Moreover, it would desecrate sacred land and jeopardize the water and planet for all peoples and future generations.  We affirm our view that the position of the AFL-CIO (along with unions who support the pipeline) is dangerous, reinforcing the illusion that the health and safety of our communities are at odds with our economic interests.They have chosen to stand with big business over the long-term interests of the global working class. However, UAW 2322, along with others in the labor movement are committed to justice and solidarity with working people and oppressed communities and we resolutely oppose this pipeline and demand that the AFL-CIO to reverse its decision.

In solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux and Indigenous water protectors from all over the continent, Labor for Palestine and Labor for Standing Rock, with the support of The Standing Rock Council, native and non-native labor activists formed union camp:  “We at Oceti Sakowin Camp welcome any and all support from our Union brothers and sisters,This camp stands to protect our sacred water and support a new energy paradigm, jobs and work in green energy fields. We welcome your support in any ways you feel appropriate, join us in paving a new road to a sustainable future for many future generations.”

Two representatives of UAW Local 2322 (President Jocelyn Silverlight and Financial Secretary and Representative/Organizer Anais Surkin) will be travelling to the camp bringing much-needed, requested supplies. You can donate any of the items below (or cash) during the local holiday party (12/9; 6:00pm-8:00pm; World War II Club, Northamptom) or by visiting the GEO office (201 Student Union at UMass) or the Local office (4 Open Square Way, Holyoke) before December 15th. Included below is a list of items that have been requested.

In solidarity,

Anais Surkin & Jocelyn Silverlight

  • Emergency blankets
  • Pepto-Bismol tablets or liquid– preferably little travel bottles of liquid
  • Foot powder preferably a little travel bottles
  • Sterilizing solution for forceps, etc.
  • High quality, WOOL (not Cotton!) hats scarves, gloves, socks, especially in 2XL sizes!
  • Baby wipes
  • Nice smelling soap
  • Big bottles of nice smelling shampoo and conditioner
  • Playing cards
  • Games
  • Crochet tools & yarn (wool preferred)
  • Books
  • Pencils and note pads of paper
  • Leather & needles
  • Beads, beading needles, bone buttons, string
  • Co2 detectors
  • Hatchet & bastard file for sharpening tools
  • Grommets/punch
  • Dry erase boards
  • goggles
  • Iphone 5 charger cord
  • USBC charger
  • Clear plastic
  • 4 GFI
  • clothespins
  • dual car charger
  • Sammy’s rags for soaking up water
  • Shure tape
  • Personal heater

Statement on Orlando Shooting

In the wake of the tragedy at Pulse in Orlando, GEO wishes to extend our solidarity. We understand the emotional difficulties that we all are facing  as a result of this and the many other devastations we continuously grapple with in this country.  The details surrounding this attack are slowly surfacing and we are still waiting to know more about the circumstances that led up to this event. It has taken us some time to make a public statement because amongst other identities GEO is Queer, Latinx, Black, Brown, immigrant and Muslim; and for these reasons and many more, it has been incredibly painful to hear the names of the dead, see their faces and process the enormity of this loss. We extend our hearts and open our door to those suffering in light of these unspeakable, heinous acts of unmitigated violence against members of a community we love and call our comrades. For all our friends, families, colleagues and members who may need an outlet to talk, to be embraced or to simply mourn, we are here with and for you.  Please do not hesitate to stop by.


The violence committed against queer people of color in a space where they were supposed to feel safe and be themselves (given that so many public places are exclusionary and potentially harmful) is reprehensible. We do not want to see hate perpetuated in response to this tragedy based on who people are, how they worship, who they love or how they party. We ask and hope that moving forward we all keep in mind and meticulously process the targeted and opportunistic narratives regarding culpability and politically motivated explanations for why this violent act transpired. It is imperative that this heinous crime not be used to justify the further militarization of our communities.


We will continue to mourn and we will continue to open our office and our hearts to those who may need it.


Peace, love and solidarity,


GEO Staff and Leadership, GEO Steering Committee


GEO joins the BDS movement: Press Release!


Media contact: Anais N. Surkin, Union Representative/Organizer: 917-940-0312,

UMass Amherst Union of Graduate Student Workers Endorses BDS!

Members of the Graduate Employee Organization at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst vote overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution to  join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement!

During a three day (April 12-14) vote, by secret ballot, the Graduate Employee Organization (GEO/UAW2322) at University of Massachusetts in Amherst voted overwhelmingly (95%) in favor of adopting a resolution to stand in solidarity with Palestinian civil society and join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement. The largest collective bargaining unit within UAW Local Amalgamated 2322 (UAW 2322), GEO represents over 2,000 graduate student workers at the flagship campus of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. This makes GEO the second major body of unionized workers in the U.S. to formally join the BDS movement by membership vote.

This resolution renews and furthers a 2003 GEO resolution to divest from the Israeli occupation, and honors the 2005 call from Palestinian civil society– including trade unions, university faculty, and student groups– to embrace BDS worldwide as a tactic to put political and economic pressure on the Israeli state until it complies with international law and respects the human rights of Palestinians in the occupied territories. The resolution also calls on our employer, UMass, and our union, the UAW, to divest from and boycott companies that fuel and profit from the military occupation and repression of Palestinians.  During a period of open dialogue when all members were encouraged to express diverse views, engage and organize, both the GEO Black Caucus and Jewish GEO members publicly endorsed the resolution.

A similar resolution passed in December 2014 by UAW 2865, the student-worker union at the University of California (UC) was later nullified by the International Executive Board of the UAW. That nullification is currently under appeal.  GEO and our local, UAW2322, stand with the UC union’s decision to appeal the nullification of their democratic vote to embrace BDS. We urge the UAW International to respect the democratic membership vote to endorse BDS, and in doing so we invite them to join us on the right side of history.

Quotes from GEO/UAW Members:

Santiago Vidales, GEO Co-Chair  “The fact that an overwhelming majority of our union voted for BDS is a testament to what social justice unionism looks like. Over and over again we were asked why GEO was getting involved in world politics. The reality is that Palestinian workers on our campus are entitled to their basic human and civil rights when they travel back home. By answering the call of the BDS Movement in Palestine, GEO members join other graduate worker unions across the country in demanding that our universities, our unions, and our communities boycott and divest from Israel’s violent occupation of Palestinian territories. We know that our principled stand will be criticized, scrutinized and challenged. But we know that we are building a movement for liberation. The liberation of Palestinian people is inherently connected to our own.”

Kevina King and Tiamba Wilkerson, GEO Black Caucus Executive Board  “The Black Caucus is immensely proud that our union put its proverbial “money where its mouth is” and voted in support of justice for the Palestinian people. It is especially meaningful for the Black Caucus, as we recognize the historical links between the liberation struggles of Black and Palestinian people, and how our traditions of resistance continue to inspire other oppressed and marginalized peoples across the world. International solidarity, particularly between Black and Palestinian people, is as important now as it has ever been, as both communities continue to fight state sanctioned terrorism and racist violence.”

Ghazah Abbasi, GEO member, Department of Sociology Global capitalism is a colonial, white-supremacist, heteropatriarchal system that alienates us deeply and multiply. A key part of overcoming our alienation is understanding our common humanity with other workers and peoples within and outside the US. It would be deeply contradictory for graduate student workers of UMass Amherst to campaign for our own rights while being complacent about the atrocious rights-violations taking place in Israel with the ideological and financial backing of the United States government. As a GEO member, I am deeply gratified to see that my union is committed to advocating for the fundamental dignity and equality of all workers, and all people, throughout the world. Peoples’ rights as workers are ‘legal’ rights dependent on the security of their other ‘natural’ inalienable rights – such as the right to food, physical security, physical mobility, and freedom from violence. Yet these basic rights are consistently denied to the Palestinian peoples by the state of Israel. Because there can be no conditions for fair and equitable work under colonialism and military siege, it is imperative to demand the immediate and unqualified decolonization of Palestine.”

Alyssa Goldstein, GEO/UAW2322 Palestine Solidarity Caucus Member As a Jewish GEO member and one of the drafters of the “Jews Support BDS” letter, I am so proud to see this resolution pass with overwhelming support. The state of Israel does not stand for or represent the Jewish people, and we must not allow its oppression of the Palestinians to continue in our name. The Jewish activists, in my union and elsewhere, who speak out for Palestinian equality uphold the tradition of the Jewish commitment to justice.