GEO Election: Candidate Statements

Member Mobilization Coordinator Candidate:

Avery Fürst

Labor Studies

GEO Bargaining team member

Most of us will need to work for money (wages) in our life. Therefore, I see being active in one’s union as the most important professional development that anyone can take part in. Knowing how to stand up for ourselves, and by extension everyone else at our workplace, is paramount not only for our time at UMass but in any job we ever work. How else will we work good jobs? Only through standing together -when someone is being mistreated, overworked, discriminated against, and when we think an improvement needs to be made to our working conditions – can we address these issues and make our working lives better and more worthwhile. As a result, both while on the organizing committee last year and in my current position on the bargaining committee I am always thinking about how we can connect to members to each other and to the union more effectively. Currently, I am having members talk to other members about how their work is going, hear members’ concerns, give bargaining updates, and invite members to events. I see organized communication between members as central to graduate student-workers feeling more connected both to each other and to their union. Secondly, I am in the process of putting together trainings this semester for GEO members so that more members know their protected labor rights and how to advocate for themselves and others at work. Thirdly, I plan to organize more social events as yet another way for us to feel more connected to each other and more able to stand up for ourselves at work. Most importantly, these connections come in handy when graduate student-workers need to come together and push for changes at the university.

Member Mobilization Coordinator Candidate:

Ian Rhodewalt

Ian Rhodewalt is an educator and organizer who has experience mobilizing communities in a number of different areas. As an undergraduate, he did a lot of campus organizing work around prison justice issues, as well as anti-death penalty work. Ian is passionate about racial justice coalition building and is eager to bring to the position of mobilization coordinator an anti-racist framework. He has worked as a community organizer with the NAACP in Georgia working with their Justice for Troy Davis campaign. Ian has worked with grassroots electoral and campaign organizing and Get Out the Vote drives in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts. Before coming to UMASS, Ian lived and worked in the West Bank as an educator and organizer, and is now pursuing a Master’s degree in Social Justice Education. He has also been active in recent years in organizing against the NYPD Stop and Frisk policy. Ian is very passionate about labor politics, and is excited to have the possibility of working closely to actively engage the GEO membership as the mobilization coordinator, especially in this year of contract bargaining.

Steering Committee Member-at-Large Candidate:

Dan Lynch

A former commercial fisherman and 5th year graduate student in anthropology. His academic work at UMass concerns understanding violence against immigrants and religious groups through the study of material remains and historic erasures of violence across time and space. Dan is your Steering Committee At-Large candidate.

Comments are closed.