Nominations for bargaining committee elections OPEN NOW! 4 paid positions

Dear GEO Members,

Next semester negotiations will commence on a new collective bargaining agreement; the contract between GEO/UAW2322 and the University that governs the terms and conditions of your employment. GEO is a democratically run organization and a successful contract campaign depends on your participation. Stewards have been out in all of the departments having dialogues with you about the new contract one on one and look out for an online survey within the next few weeks. We now need to elect a bargaining committee to coordinate & lead this campaign.

There are FOUR PAID POSITIONS and an unlimited number of unpaid & alternate positions on the committee. See below for more information and the call for nominations.

The Bargaining Committee:

The bargaining committee will consists of the four elected bargaining members, alternate members, and the GEO staff. The bargaining committee members will elect its chief and co-chief negotiators. All members of the bargaining committee are to serve throughout the duration of a contract negotiation and will not need to be re-elected in the event that contract negotiations is extended beyond a year. Membership will have ultimate oversight over the bargaining committee and the committee answers to and is in service to the membership. The bargaining committee’s responsibility is to assess the needs of the membership prior to negotiations, and made transparent regularly via the GEO website.

Nominations are now open for the GEO bargaining committee. The positions are listed below:

Bargaining Research & Proposal Coordinators (2) (10 hr. contract)
Bargaining Organizing & Mobilization Coordinators (2) (10 hr. contract)
Bargaining Committee At-Large members (5 unpaid & unlimited alternate
volunteer positions)

Call for GEO Bargaining positions

Job description (pick A or B in your nomination)

Bargaining Research & Proposal Coordinators (2 positions):

The two Bargaining Research & Proposal Coordinators will focus on researching, drafting, discussing, and writing our contract proposals for negotiations. These elected members will also help argue for our proposals at the bargaining table with administration. Paid GEO Bargaining team members are expected to make Bargaining-related trainings and meetings that have been scheduled (around team members’ availability). These elected members will also serve as the liaison between the negotiating/research group, and will be in regular communication with the existing listserv of members who have signed up to be active on this committee and the bargaining committee.


B) Bargaining Organizing & Mobilization Coordinators (2 positions):
The two Bargaining Organizing & Mobilization Coordinators will focus on organizing members around their issues/concerns. These elected members are responsible for involving more members in the bargaining process and recruiting members to speak at the bargaining table (to administration)
and for actions around contract negotiations. Paid GEO Bargaining team members are expected to make Bargaining-related trainings and meetings that have been scheduled (around team members’ availability). These elected members will also serve as the liaison between the campaigning/organizing group and will be in regular communication with stewards, the existing listserv of members who have signed up to be active on this committee, and the bargaining committee.

Any full member in good standing may nominate themselves or another member in good standing for any of these positions. Nominations and candidate statements are due by 11:59PM on November 30th and the election will be held at the membership meeting on December 8th (with advance voting earlier that week) All positions begin duties in January 2017. The four paid coordinator positions are fully benefitted, 10/hours per week GEO jobs and shall continue through the summer and through the end of the semester in which negotiations conclude.

If you wish to be a Bargaining Committee At-Large member (5 unpaid & unlimited alternate volunteer positions) you may nominate yourself at the membership meeting on December 8. If you are unable to attend that meeting, you may send your nomination & a short statement to to be read at the meeting.

GEO’s PURPOSE (GEO Bylaws article 2)

A. GEO is a democratic union that aims to organize and represent all graduate employees at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst over issues related to their employment and the improvement of their working conditions. GEO supports the struggle of all workers, and stands in
solidarity with other unions and progressive organizations in their fights for social and economic justice.

B. GEO is authorized to negotiate on the employment practices and policies of the University as they relate to graduate employees including, but not limited to, affirmative action; appointment and
reappointment process; childcare; contract length; disciplinary policy and codes of conduct; dues check-off and agency fee; evaluations; fee waivers; grievance and arbitration; health and safety, including health benefits and sick leave; hours of work and workload; job descriptions, retrenchment, salary, seniority, sexual harassment, and training. GEO is not authorized to negotiate on academic practices and policies as they relate to graduate employees in their simultaneous capacity as students,
such as salary maximums or limitations on employee’s rights to choose the time and manner of their work.

C. GEO follows an equal opportunity policy and employs personnel and serves its members without regard to race, creed, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexuality, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, physical or mental ability, HIV status, political affiliation or belief, citizenship, veteran status, military obligations, and marital or relationship status. GEO Strives to be an inclusive union and build a broad based unity among its members. It will actively seek to promote the participation and engagement of oppressed groups and underrepresented work sites at all levels of the union.

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 November 30, 2016.

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

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Message from your Co-Chairs regarding this election

Fellow workers, friends, comrades, colleagues,

We can imagine that many of you are feeling overwhelmed, shocked, deeply concerned, and righteously angry about the recent election results. We anticipate that there will be challenging times ahead, and many people will be both personally and professionally impacted by the strong oppositional shift of the political landscape of this country. As you struggle to find manageable ways to move forward, know that we are here. We want to remind you that we share your concerns, your fears, your uncertainties and we are in solidarity with you.

The election results signaled a regressive and reactionary politics that seeks to limit the union participation of those who need it most, our marginalized base. Black people, queer people, immigrants, refugees, poor and women graduate student workers are a vulnerable population that suffer disproportionately from not having union representation and contract protections. The upcoming presidential administration vows to fundamentally change labor laws to limit, if not eliminate, our collective bargaining power. And this impacts us, the Graduate Employee Organization (GEO), directly. We will be seeing in the days ahead draconian anti-labor laws that will at all levels of local, state, and federal governments compromise the vitality of our organization.

These election results are a direct threat to our survival as a Union
and as a collective of workers dedicated to social justice and improving our working and living conditions. We are at a historic crossroad and it is our task to build a Union membership that speaks to the necessity of protecting and expanding workers’ rights. The next administration has vowed to dismantle the current Affordable Healthcare Act, and as a Union, we must come together to ensure our GEO negotiated insurance plan is not only protected but also expanded and improved to cover families and eliminate out of pocket expenses.

GEO staff and leadership will continue to do the fundamental work of our Union. We will unabashedly and unapologetically remain anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-homophobic, anti-xenophobic, and anti-islamophobic. In FACT, we will open our doors wider and they will remain open to the disenfranchised and the marginalized. We will focus our energies towards growing the labor movement and negotiating a contract that protects all of us fully and for the long term. We need one another and we need our Union more than ever.

We need an active, engaged and vocal membership. We cannot build a movement for solidarity and liberation without YOU. We cannot take for granted the protections and benefits that we currently have. Our shared task is to realize the potential of the collective by coming together and demanding the work protections, salary raises and health insurance expansions that we all know we deserve.

We ask that you engage your fellow grad students, in your labs, in grad lounges, in your offices, about the pressing dangers that we face. Our power and our gains for 25 years have been rooted in our collective struggle, our solidarity with one another and our mobilization for fair contracts. We remain committed to social justice and combating oppression. We are entering uncertain times but through our Union we will do our part in the struggle against white supremacy, sexism and bigotry. We are here for you and we are focused on the task at hand.

Peace and solidarity,
Santi & Armanthia from Graduate Employee Organization (GEO-UAW)