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

Voting Times

GEO Candidate Statements Now Online

Dear GEO Members,

You can now view the GEO bargaining committee candidate statements below this notice.

The polls open tomorrow December 7th. The voting times and locations are below:

Voting will occur at the December 8th Membership Meeting by secret ballot in Earth Foods Café (the Commonwealth Room) in the Student Union. The meeting is scheduled from 6pm-8pm, so voting will be available from 5:30-6:30.

Additional Voting in the Campus Center Concourse:

Wednesday, December 7th 2pm-4pm

Thursday, December 8th 10am-12pm

Additional Voting in the North Village Community Room

Wednesday, December 7th 5pm-7pm

In solidarity,

Elections Co

Candidate Statements

Candidates for Bargaining Research & Proposal Coordinator:

Matthew J Donlevy

Hey yall,

I hope you’ll consider voting for me to fill one of the Bargaining Research & Proposal Coordinator positions.  Over the years that I’ve been here I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with the union to push various member mandated initiatives.  I have pushed for nuanced understandings of member concerns, constant pressure against unfair university practices, and for a union culture that center personal responsibility and transparency.  One of my greatest strengths, in regards to representing you at the bargaining table, is that I’ve been through the process before.  I was a central member of the bargaining committee when we negotiated our last contract, and I’m proud to say that we made virtually no concessions to the university. I was instrumental in supporting a team that secured a wage increase of over 10%, increased access to affordable healthcare, the institution of new contract clauses that further protect workers, and various other significant gains. I have no fear of UMass administration, and no qualms about cutting though, vocally, their layers of nonsense and equivocation.  As we prepare to meet the university again I hope you’ll allow me to utilize my extensive institutional memory, and detail focused resourcefulness to secure the best possible contract for us all.

With respect,

Your fellow worker Matthew J Donlevy


Hadassah Masudi Minga

Hello! My name is Hadassah Masudi Minga and I need your vote to be the Bargaining Research & Proposal Coordinator. I am running for this position because:

  • I have experience bargaining funds for high school and university students
  • I am a public policy and administration student thus this position uses a lot of the skills I acquire in my program and is good practice
  • I recently completed a term research report on funding conditions for graduate students at UMass and know many of the issues plaguing international and non-international students when it comes to funding.
  • I have been thinking of alternatives on how to solve issues regarding funding for graduate students
  • I am a strong believer in transparency and involvement of all stakeholders, as bargaining research and proposal coordinator, frequent updates of the different stages of negotiations will be available to members and all suggestions will be welcomed
  • I have excellent interpersonal and communication skills, I will be able to affectively transfer your concerns to the administration

Vote for Hadassah Masudi Minga and lets work together to address graduate student concerns.



James Owens

 My name is James Owens and I ask for your vote for Bargaining Research & Proposal Coordinator. I am a graduate student in the PhD program in Communication where I study political communication and social movements. I am intimately familiar with processes of research and writing in coordination with political campaigns. I gained skills in strategic research and campaigning through over twenty years experience organizing political movements. As a researcher, I negotiated and won the support of dozens of working groups within Occupy Wall Street in Manhattan to document over 120 of our political projects. I coordinated publicity and outreach for those projects through a print newspaper distributed to tens of thousands of New Yorkers and an online presence reaching many thousands more. In Chicago I led efforts to help community organizations negotiate with a local TV station to address classist and racist reporting practices. As part of that campaign, I authored a quantitative study of news produced by that station. My report earned coverage in leading area print and broadcast outlets, including our NPR affiliate, and contributed to pressures culminating in the termination of specific producers. My current research examines the use of media in historical struggles and evaluates new strategies for radical pluralist democratic movements in the United States. In New York City and Chicago I helped organize mass mobilization for civil liberties, immigrant rights, and opposition to the Iraq War through traditional and social media campaigns. I successfully coordinated agreements between divergent political organizations and represented those agreements in negotiations with police at protest sites. As a press coordinator, I negotiated positive coverage of campaigns from local mainstream reporters. Protests I collaborated on drew tens of thousands to the streets of Chicago and New York City. I also co-founded activist organizations such as Chicago Media Action that coordinated with national campaigns for net neutrality and against corporate control of media. In the 1990s I served as a media coordinator for a Chicago housing rights law firm and a campaign writer for Congressman Bobbie Rush. In addition to writing movement research, press releases, and outreach, I published work in Editor & Publisher, The International Encyclopedia of Communication, Extra! (the magazine of FAIR), Huffington Post, CovertAction Quarterly, and elsewhere. I offer skills and experience in strategic research, writing, negotiation, and outreach.


Candidates for Bargaining Organizing & Mobilization Coordinator:


Hafez Abu-Adwan

Salam! My name is Hafez AbuAdwan from Gaza Strip- Palestine; and I am pursuing a master in International Education focusing on Peace Education at the College of Education. I am an active member of the Palestine Solidarity Caucus, and a Steward at the Center of International Education at the College of Education. I was a FULBRIGHT scholar at Loyola University in Chicago where part of my job was advising students and address issues of concern. Also, I was the Communication Officer at Middle Easter Students Association (MESA); a student organization on campus, where I networked with other students organizations to engage them in political events such as Palestine Awareness Week. This experience professionally advanced my knowledge of regulations and policies in U.S higher education institutions towards graduate students.

During my time in Gaza Strip, I was one of the trainers for community campaigns involving training youth on leadership and volunteerism by fostering the importance of being an active citizen in one’s local community and how one’s voice does make a difference.

I worked as a Project Development Assistant at the Center for International Education where I worked with students to answer and assist their needs, with faculty on pursuing externally funded projects, and build partnerships with departments across campus. In addition, I worked and mobilized with my fellow students to explicitly address our issues and needs at the center after the resignation of the former dean of the College of Education.

I have a working experience across groups and divisions as I worked at Creative Associates International in Washington D.C; an pioneer organization focused on projects in international development, where I worked with multiple divisions on several initiatives and that advanced my multitasking skills to formulate goals based on addressing the needs of different groups.

Finally, as an international student, I believe I can bring more to the table on what would be the concerns and/or needs of GEO’s members.

–       Hafez AbuAdwan


Nyari Changamire

Hi fellow graduate employees!

I am a third year PhD student in the department of Education Policy and Leadership. As a graduate student employee, I realize that the benefits that I am enjoying right now as a student employee are a result of the commitment and hard work of bargaining committees in the past years. Because of that, I value the GEO/UAW bargaining committee. As a senator this semester, I have actively represented graduate students in my department through participating in GSS events, meetings and focus groups. Through these platforms, I have learned about the various problems that graduate students face socially, economically and academically. These include housing issues and related costs, health insurance coverage for families, the specific tax burdens on certain groups of students among many others. As a TA and RA, a member of the UMass labor force, I have a shared experience and understanding of the difficulties of managing a heavy workload without adequate support. I am also familiar with common concerns of graduate students such as job security through transparent allocation of assistantship opportunities. This has motivated me to take an even more active role in bargaining for a better campus academic and social environment for us. As an international student and a parent, I also bring a unique perspective to often forgotten needs that students with families have. Advocacy on issues such as childcare and comprehensive family medical coverage are crucial to me.

If you elect me as your Bargaining Organizing and Mobilization Coordinator, I will do my best to represent and push for your demands. I will advocate for a strong and fair contract that supports our needs as students. The relationships and networks I have fostered with you will be invaluable as a continued source of information about our diverse and common needs. I want to work with all of you to ensure that we get a better deal from the university that is commensurate with all the dedication and commitment we invest in our jobs every-day.


Mary C. Dickman

My name is Mary Dickman I am a PhD student in the Department of Communication and am nominated for the position of GEO Bargaining Organizing & Mobilization Coordinator Fall 2016. I bring a passion and commitment to social justice issues.

Prior to attending UMass I was engaged in social justice organizing in Tampa, FL. Through the Faculty Forward Network (FFN) I participated in grassroots efforts to recruit and unionize adjuncts at local community colleges and universities. After a long campaign, which included demonstrations and canvassing, the contingent faculty at Hillsborough Community College (HCC) overwhelmingly voted to join Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Florida Public Service Union last month. This victory is historic in that it is the first faculty union election in Florida, and at a public university in the South, with SEIU.

While a graduate student at the University of South Florida I was an active member of our Graduate Assistant United (GAU) which is a chapter of the United Faculty of Florida (UFF). I was able to network and bring together members of Faculty Forward Network and Graduate Assistant United in a move towards solidarity between contingent faculty and graduate assistants to demand higher wages and better working conditions. Skills I have that would assist me in this position include that I am highly organized, attentive to detail. Additionally, I have strong writing and communication skills, and excel at strategic thinking, goal-setting, and action planning.

I look forward to opportunity to bring my experience and knowledge to the coordinating position.

In Solidarity,

Mary C. Dickman


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