The GEO here at UMass Boston is proud to represent all graduate assistants in order to facilitate and represent you in securing fair wages and excellent working conditions. Our current contract runs from July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2017. The new contract’s key concessions were a 3% wage increase, an increase in our SSF funds by $3000.00 and an increase in the health insurance subsidy. As an open organization we urge you to consider attending one of our organizing committee meetings to impart your suggestions, knowledge and experiences. This information block will be used to keep all our assistants updated on our current contract negotiations.
The GEO at UMass Boston was officially founded in 2001. Kathy Melish from UAW Local 1596 worked with graduate employees at UMass Boston to unionize all Teaching and Research Assistants. Prior to the formation of the union, there was no standardized rate of pay for Graduate Assistants (GAs) and benefits were severely limited. On November 2, 2000, 96% of the voting graduate employees elected to form the union. After negotiating the first contract, GAs were able to rely on higher wages, standardized fee waivers, and health insurance subsidies.
One of the motivations for GAs at UMass Boston to unionize was (and continues to be) the disparity between graduate workers at the five UMass branches. Not including the UMass Medical School in Worcester, which obviously serves a different constituency of students, graduate employees at UMass Amherst, UMass Lowell, UMass Dartmouth, and UMass Boston are treated very differently by their respective administrations. UMass Amherst’s GEO-UAW 2322 was the first to organize and boasts the largest union membership of the five campuses. With this head start, larger membership, and extremely organized mobilization structure, UMass Amherst’s GEO has won significant benefits from their administration on behalf of their graduate workers. Their gains highlight the disparity between the campuses.