Grad Workers Rising: May Day Solidarity Statement with CGEU

We are members of the Coalition of Graduate Employee Unions, a body that represents unionized graduate workers throughout the United States and Canada, including grad workers undertaking campaigns to unionize who have not yet achieved recognition. We are course instructors; researchers; teaching & research assistants; student affairs, advising, and residence life staffers; tutors, readers, lab supervisors, and graders. We are graduate student-workers. This May Day, members of CGEU stand together to demand collective bargaining rights and fair, socially just contracts for every single graduate worker in North America, and all workers in higher education worldwide. Coordinated May Day actions, social media, and events will take place across the SUNY system as well as at UWisconsin Madison, UMass Amherst, Rutgers University, and other schools across the US and Canada on May 1st, 2014.

Whether grad student-workers have a union determines much about our working conditions and salaries, going beyond wages and hours to include whether we are formally protected from workplace and hiring discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in a way that is actually enforceable. Unions give us concrete, tangible power in bureaucratic workplaces whose administrators would otherwise see each of us only as a collection of financial transactions and numbers. Despite rhetoric we often hear about a walled-off “ivory tower,” the forces of economic crisis directly shape the reality of working and studying for faculty, undergraduate students, and graduate workers alike.

As universities have begun to function more like large businesses and state and federal financial support for public higher education has been slashed, graduate workers nationwide have felt the sizes of the classes we teach grow and the funding pools for our assistantships shrink. In the Northeastern US, this has resulted in a renewed movement toward unionizing graduate workers, and more energy toward bargaining strong contracts for those of us who are already organized. Grad workers at University of Connecticut and New York University are bargaining brand new contracts this year, while the long-unionized grad workers at the three University of Massachusetts schools (Amherst, Boston, and Lowell) and across the SUNY system are preparing to bargain new, significantly stronger contracts in the coming months. Members of UAW2865 in the University of California system continue to fight for a fair contract including the right to bargain over class size. Yale University and Brown University graduate workers have renewed their fight for union recognition.

Academic workers face similar increased demands on our time and energy to workers in other industries, along with the same stagnating wages. Academic workers of color, women, international students, and members of the LGBTQI community face institutionalized discrimination and permissive attitude toward harassment, much like workers in other industries. In 2012, a federal bill stripped graduate students of all access to federal subsidized loans and cut the six-month grace period before repayment must begin; this consigns many of us to a lifetime of debt, and an extraordinarily stressful transition out of graduate school.

The divisions between graduate workers and workers in other industries are fabricated, porous, and finite: graduate education does not last forever, and we go into a huge range of workplaces and positions after school. Strong, mobilized graduate unions serve as a consistent source of workers in a variety of fields who have had the opportunity to develop union consciousness, who have learned to care about their fellow workers, have experience in democratically-run organizations, and are willing to fight together with others for systemic change. We neither suffer nor succeed in isolation; our struggle is all workers’ struggle, and your struggle is ours.

Matt at May Day IMG_2093 IMG_2068 IMG_2066

GEO Leadership & Steering At-Large Elections Notice

GEO-UAW2322 geouaw.org 413-545-0705
201 Student Union
UMass Amherst

NOTICE OF GEO-UAW 2322 OFFICERS & (2) STEERING MEMBERS AT-LARGE

3/13/14

There will be an election for GEO-UAW 2322 Officers: (2) Co-Chairs, (1) Membership Mobilization Coordinator and (2) Steering Members At-Large.

TERM AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF OFFICERS & STEERING MEMBERS AT-LARGE
In accordance with the GEO Bylaws, all officers are elected for one year terms. They will take office on June 1 of the year in which they were elected. For the academic year in which they serve, the three officers will each receive one full time equivalent(FTE) stipend so long as such stipends are provided by the University.

Two (2) GEO Co-Chairs:
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; primary GEO representatives to the Joint Council of Local 2322 and must attend 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); shall serve as liaisons for the Steering Committee to the Staff; responsible for ensuring GEO representation at Central Labor Council meetings; speak on behalf of GEO to media, the University, etc.; act as primary liaisons between GEO and other Unions; manage the production of media and publicity; oversee publication of GEO newsletter and web page; organizing Standing Committees; and assist the union in achieving its overall mission in the workplace.

One (1) Membership Mobilization Coordinator:
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; to monitor and give guidance on procedural questions and rules; ensuring that those attending GEO meetings are either members or invited visitors; assuming duties if the Co-Chairs they are unavailable; and assisting the union in achieving its overall mission in the workplace.

Two (2) Steering Members At-Large:
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.

The Steering Committee shall be empowered to make decisions on behalf on the membership, except as limited by these bylaws. The Steering Committee shall not make any decisions which contradict those made by the Assembly of Stewards or the membership or contradict the will or intent of the Assembly of Stewards or the membership.

ELIGIBILITY TO HOLD OFFICE

Full members in good standing may nominate themselves or any other full member in good standing for any office.

NOMINATIONS

Nominations shall be presented in writing to the Steering Committee (steering@geouaw.org) The deadline for nominations shall be 15 calendar days before the date of the election (March 28, 2014).

Your nomination must contain the following information:
Name
Email address
Primary telephone number (cell phone preferably)
Mailing address
You name as you wish it to appear on ballot (if different than above)
Position you are running for

VOTING
Voting will occur at the April 14th Membership Meeting by secret ballot in Campus Center Room 168. Please contact elections@geouaw.org by March 28th if you are unable to physically vote on that day.

Respectfully Submitted,
By the GEO-UAW 2322 Election Committee

GEO Constitutional Convention Delegate Elections Notice

NOTICE OF GEO-UAW 2322 CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION DELEGATE NOMINATIONS and ELECTIONS

3/13/14

There will be an election for GEO delegates to the 2014 UAW Constitutional Convention, in accordance with the Constitution; Local bylaws; and the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, as amended.

TERM AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF DELEGATES

Constitutional Convention Delegates (3) and Alternates [3]: Will serve as delegates to the 2014 Constitutional Convention in Detroit, MI from June 1-5, 2014 and at any special conventions before the next quadrennial Constitutional Convention.

ELIGIBILITY TO HOLD OFFICE

No member shall be eligible for election as delegate unless he/she has been a member in continuous good standing in the UAW for the past two consecutive semesters. Members may serve simultaneously as executive officers and Convention delegates.

NOMINATIONS

All members in good standing of GEO-UAW 2322 are automatically nominated for all offices. To run, you must accept the nomination in writing, delivered either by hand, fax or email to the Local Union office by NO later than March 23rd at 5pm.

GEO-UAW 2322
201 Student Union
UMass Amherst
Fax: 413-545-1457
Email to: Elections@geouaw.org

Your acceptance must contain the following information:
Name
Email address
Primary telephone number (cell phone preferably)
Mailing address
You name as you wish it to appear on ballot (if different than above)

Following the close of nominations, the Election Committee will notify eligible nominees of a meeting to explain campaign rules and to determine the order of names on the ballot according to random drawing. Any ineligible nominees will be advised of the reasons they are ineligible to run.

VOTING
Voting will occur on the Campus Center Room 801 on April 23rd from 9-5pm and April 24th from 9-5pm.

Respectfully Submitted,
By the GEO-UAW 2322 Election Committee

GEO Bargaining Committee Elections

Our contract with the university administration will expire this
summer. This is our chance to improve the contract for the benefit of
graduate employees, and we are now forming a committee to drive the
bargaining process. This will be done via election, as stated in the
GEO By-Laws. There are 9 positions open, 4 of which are 10-hour paid
assistantships. Bargaining duties will likely stretch from the forming
of the committee through the summer. This is what the By-Laws say
about what Bargaining Committee is and what its responsibilities are:
–Committee consists of 9 members and an unspecified number of
alternate members elected by the membership
–Chief and co-chief will be elected by the bargaining committee members
–Committee members shall serve the duration of the contract
negotiation and are not required to seek re-election provided
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 and a quorum of 5 is needed
to make decisions
–If no consensus can be reached the question shall be brought to the
membership for final determination
–Bargaining committee is responsible for assessing membership needs
and concerns prior to contract negotiations
–Bargaining committee is responsible for issuing regular written
bargaining updates to the membership during negotiations
–Updates will also be regularly posted to the GEO website

The election for this committee will take place at the next membership
meeting, which will take place Wednesday March 12 at 5:30pm in Campus
Center Room 903.

To nominate yourself for the Bargaining Committee for either the
volunteer or paid seats, please come to the membership meeting and you
will have an opportunity to make a short statement before the election
takes place. If you cannot make it to the meeting, simply send your
statement to your GEO co-chairs, Anna and Eric (anna@geouaw.org and
eric@geouaw.org), and it will be read on your behalf at the meeting.

If you are an international student and are interested in one of the
paid seats, but it would conflict with your current allowable workload
because you already hold a twenty-hour assistantship for the semester,
please nominate yourself anyway. You will be able to begin your paid
bargaining position on June 1.

Bargaining our contract with the university is one of the most
important things that our union does, and we cannot do it successfully
without our members’ involvement. Please consider joining the
Bargaining Committee or volunteering as one of the many alternates. In
any case, your participation as a voting member at our March 12
meeting is important. Please feel free to contact GEO-UAW directly if
you have any questions.
In solidarity,
The GEO-UAW Elections Committee