GEO Newsletter: Welcome Back!

Grad employees, we are in your corner!  Got problems?  Let us know!

Every year, UMB employs hundreds of graduate students as assistants on campus.  This can lead to occasional confusion, miscommunication, or even errors related to pay, working conditions, and general expectations.  While we are not your first point of contact (often your supervisor is), if you are unable to resolve situations on your own, GEO can try to help.

Last year, GEO negotiated a new contract for grad assistants on campus, and we were happy to report that this new contract provided us all a small raise in wages.  This wage increase was backdated to cover the school year, and resulted in a small lump sum that was received by most members in the spring of 2015.  It would have shown as increased pay for a single pay period but was based on the to-date annual increase.  However, we have received notice from several GEO members that they did not get the raise.  We are working to solve this issue for you as a group, rather than having each of you fight for your back-pay.  If you feel that you were not given the additional back-pay or raise that we negotiated for you, please let us know.

Another payment issue we are working on currently relates to PhD students.  Last school year 2014-2015, many incoming PhDs were notified at various employee orientation sessions that they would be receiving a bonus to be used to help support their research efforts and increase the research output of UMass Boston.  However, not all students who feel they were eligible for this bonus received it, and some got a fall bonus and not a spring bonus or vice versa.  For others, the Fall Semester portion showed on pay stubs as a $1000 bonus paid in November, which should not have happened.  We would appreciate hearing from anyone who received a Spring Semester bonus to clarify when they were paid and how they were itemized on your pay stub.  If you are a PhD student who was promised a bonus you did not receive last year, please contact us so we can work to solve these issues collectively.

If you feel you have been affected by one or more of these pay issues, we need to know about your specific complaint and get your related information as quickly as possible!  We will need your name, contact info, and both your student and employee numbers to follow up on your behalf.  If you have questions, please contact us.



In October, GEO will join other unions on our campus to collect signatures for the FAIR SHARE Massachusetts campaign. The FAIR SHARE action proposes an important change in the state’s constitution affecting those who make over one million dollars by increasing their tax by 4%.  This would raise over $1 billion in new state revenue, dedicated to public schools, state university affordability, and to transportation, fixing roads, bridges and mass transit. Contact GEO if you would like to sign the petition, or to volunteer an hour during the first week in October to help collect signatures.


Call for Stewards

Are there employment-related problems within your department that go undiscussed? Do you want to represent your department’s interests and the interests of your peers? Are you interested in strengthening solidarity and communication between graduate programs and the GEO? If you answered yes to any of these questions, we’d love to hear from you; drop us an email at and become a steward today!

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