GEO Monthly Review
We wanted to reach out and let everyone know what we’ve been up to over the past month!
New Organizing Committee Members Elected
GEO welcomed two new members to our organizing committee: Arazeliz Reyes and Julie LaBagnara! They have both hit the ground running and are already deep into the work of the organizing committee. Stop by our office to say hi!
October All Member Meeting – Bargaining Discussion
In late October, we held a small but mighty all member meeting during which we discussed the history of bargaining at UMB, the bargaining process, and the schedule for our next contract bargaining session beginning in the Spring. Find the slides here!
The discussion quickly focused on how we win the demands of our members in the newest contract. Everyone understood that the strength of our bargaining position is tied directly to how many members of our unit come out and support the process. We want every single member to feel ownership over the contract process. We discussed strategies to mobilize membership, and the program rep meetings that occurred the next week focused on the specific strategies of mobilizing and informing members on the level of each and every department on our campus.
Chancellor Newman Townhall – Find the Video Below!
On Oct. 23rd, Chancellor Newman held a townhall in which she gave an overview of the University’s budget and financial situation. Fortunately, through the hard work of the SaveUMB coalition and our union brothers and sisters in the PSU and CSU, the Chancellor was pressured to give the majority of the time in the meeting to an open question and answer session from the wider UMB community. During this session, we heard from many different people from all over campus give their testimony on the impact of the cuts and layoffs on their experience as employees and students.
This townhall was extremely well attended and showed how angry and upset many different people on this campus are over the manner in which our debt crisis has been handled and who the administration has chosen to lay the burden of it on. Going forward, it represents yet another example of how eager and desperate people are on this campus to change the trajectory of austerity and privatization and turn the environment and ethos here at UMB back towards its original mission: to serve the underserved, provide an affordable, quality to education to as many people as posisble, and treat its employees as vital to that mission.
We are always working with members on individual issues that come up in their departments and programs. Weekly, we meet with members to discuss what has happened, what rights they have, and how we can help solve the solution. We wanted to use this space as a reminder to please come to us whenever you think something seems off or wrong about what you are being asked to do, questions over your working relationships, or
Coalition of Graduate Employee Unions – New England
Finally, on November 8th, we hosted a very fruitful meeting on campus with other graduate unions from across campus. Representatives from UMass Amherst and Lowell, the Jewish Labor Council, Northeaster, University of Rhode Island, and UConn, as well as other labor supporters, came together to share resources, discuss strategies, and brainstorm ways we can work together to build better working conditions for all graduate students and workers in our region.
Please be on the lookout for more information coming out about our work with this group, including the organizing of a GEO contingent from UMB to travel to Harvard in early December to give solidarity and provide support to grad workers there who are preparing to go on strike against a university that refuses to bargain in good faith with them.