Author: geoumassboston

Register to Vote

One of these two candidates will fill one position in the GEO Organizing Committee this semester. Check them out and prepare for voting.

Register before it’s too late! The elections voting registration period ends on Friday, October 8 at 5 p.m. EST. Everyone needs to register prior to voting. To register, make sure to send a filled membership dues form from your UMB email to us at geoumb.elections@gmail.com. For more information on elections, click here.

GEO ELECTIONS: SELF-NOMINATIONS

Nominations and registration for elections are open! Your union (the Graduate Employee Organization) is holding elections to fill one half-time (0.5 FTE) assistantship position on the Organizing Committee with an official start-work date of Monday, October 18. Similar to Fall 2020 elections, all graduate employees interested in voting should register prior to voting. You will find more information below. 

The GEO Organizing Committee is composed of five Graduate Assistants at UMass Boston. We work collaboratively to advocate for graduate employee rights within the school and enrichment opportunities for graduate workers at UMass Boston. Some of the projects in which the Organizing Committee are currently working on include:

  • Bargaining a new contract with UMB’s administration to address labor concerns affecting graduate employees
  • Engaging with graduate employees and community members of UMass Boston to organize collective action and increase membership engagement
  • Administering Scholarly Support Funds (SSF) for students seeking funding to present at or attend conferences
  • Mediating member grievances 
  • Attending and helping organize coalition efforts within the community
  • Developing communications content for the website, social media, and e-newsletters.

Elections timeline:

  • Wednesday, September 15: Nomination & Voting Registration period starts
  • Sunday, September 26: Nomination period closes
  • Monday, September 27: Campaign period starts
  • Friday, October 8: Voting Registration ends
  • Tuesday & Wednesday, October 12 and 13: Voting days
  • Friday, October 15: Result Announcement

How do I nominate myself?

To nominate yourself, you must email your completed nomination form and evidence that you are an active dues-paying member (your most recent pay stub – accessed through HR Direct) or a Dues authorization Form to geoumb.elections@gmail.com on or before Sunday, September 26 at 5:00 p.m. EST. Please complete all sections of the nomination form. 

YOUR ASSISTANTSHIP TESTIMONIALS ARE REQUESTED

GEO has launched a new survey inviting you to share your experiences as a graduate assistant at UMass Boston.

It feels important to say this: we know how hard the last few years have been and how painful a lot of the subjects in the survey are. Wages haven’t gone up, university officials have been a mix of dismissive and unresponsive, bargaining has been repeatedly delayed by the university – our goal, with this survey, is to strengthen our ability to present a unified front at the bargaining table and your testimonies are essential to that task.

We know that you are all often too busy, stressed, stacked up with classes and work and family and your second or third jobs to attend bargaining sessions: it’s why we’re asking for these testimonies. To read them on your behalf, anonymously, to stress to the university how important it is we get bargaining moving, and how absolutely essential it is that our work comes with respect, dignity, and proper conditions.

You can help by taking the survey here

ELECTIONS COMING FALL 2021

Ara has completed her run as your elected representative and we thank her for her service and wish her luck!

We will thus have one open spot on the organizing committee this coming fall 2021, and as always, are seeking a tenacious graduate student to come and join us to advocate for the rights of every graduate assistant at UMass Boston.

If you’re interested, watch this space: we’ll be publishing the timeline and additional information shortly!

UAW Annual Civil Rights Dinner – Tomorrow!

Dear GEO,  

Every year our affiliate union, the UAW, holds an Annual Civil Rights Dinner. You’re invited! Due to the pandemic, this year’s event will be virtual but no less exciting and meaningful because we are honoring Stacey Abrams! UAW International President Rory Gamble will be joining us as well as other International Executive Board members.

And for the first time, the event will have Spanish language interpretation.  

The event will be Thursday February 4th (that’s tomorrow!) at 7 p.m. To register, please click the link below. I’ve also attached 2 flyers – English and Spanish – so you can and should feel free to share widely.   https://www.facebook.com/events/1876900929131978

The Spring 2021 round of SSF applications is opening soon!

Dear GEO Members,

You still have time to prepare for applying for the Spring 2021 round of the Scholarly Support Fund (SSF).

SSF applications will go live on Thursday, February 11 (8 am) {{here}}, and close on Friday, February 12th (11:59 pm). SSF will keep running on a first-come-first-serve basis. If you make it to the finalists, you can get up to $200 reimbursed in qualifying expenses (See item 2.2 of FAQ). We recommend checking out the SSF Checklist to prepare for applying and the SSF FAQ for more in-depth information about SSF.

Don’t hesitate to contact us at geo@umb.edu with any question.

In Solidarity,

The GEO

URGENT UPDATE // TENTATIVE AGREEMENT AND RATIFICATION

EDIT: Our ratification date is WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 7TH, AT 4PM! The Zoom link is the same.

GEO,

After nearly a year of struggling, negotiations, roadblocks, and setbacks, we’ve come to a tentative agreement with the university over a one-year extension on the Collective Bargaining Agreement!

Our bargaining ratification vote is THURSDAY, OCTOBER 8TH, AT 4PM. The Zoom link is here. Don’t miss out: this is important.

We’ve been able to secure a huge win for members: at a point in time the university told us repeatedly they would be unable to provide any increases or benefits during the pandemic, we kept fighting and have managed to walk away with some really substantive gains. We are excited to recommend this agreement for ratification.

Before we dive into the details, we have to first give immense credit and gratitude to the hard work of the members of GEO who work on campus right now. They have fought, organized, petitioned, and emailed University management over safety issues and parking costs. They helped convince the University that forcing GEO members to pay the expensive parking rates meant people would have to take the T, and that this would jeopardize millions of dollars of research and the health of University employees and their families. The fact is, a solid amount of this win comes from their efforts, and without them, we’d be walking away with a weaker deal.

The short version of the proposal is as follows:

  • The CBA will be extended (evergreened) to cover fiscal year 2020-2021.
  • The University will pay for the increased cost of health insurance for fiscal year 2020-2021, effectively freezing last year’s rates. This saves members a lot of money right now!
  • The University will work with us to properly utilize the Scholarly Support Fund in order to bolster the unit’s scholarly activities; since we can’t travel, the fund will go to cover other activities.
  • The University has committed to making parking free for graduate assistants who are required to be on-site for Fall. This program covers everyone approved to come to campus regularly.

This agreement is only for the short term. We will resume main-table bargaining on the week of March 1st, 2021. This gives us more time to organize our members, so we can continue to pressure the university for fair wages and better working conditions.

You can find the text of the tentative agreement here.

We will see all of you next Thursday afternoon, where we’ll discuss more details, answer questions, and ratify the proposed contract.

Best,
The Graduate Advocate

MEMBERSHIP MEETINGS // 9.23 AND 9.28

We have two membership meetings coming up! 

Our first meeting is focused: recently we’ve been hearing a lot of complaints about parking for the GAs who are still working on campus. If you’re an on-site Graduate Assistant, we have three asks for you:

  • Email us your complaints! The more, the better: every email, every voice, and every word we have gives us stronger ground to stand on when we push management to make this a better process for our members.
  • Join us today at 6.00pm EST! We’re having a meeting specifically centered around parking at 6:00pm today: the Zoom link is here.
  • And for all members: sign this petition! Some members working as RAs who have to come to campus have formed a petition, and we’re happy to spread the word. You can sign it here. 

ALL-MEMBER MEETING
SEPTEMBER 28TH, 5.30PM-7.00PM

Our large, all-membership, COVID-and-impact-and-main table bargaining meeting will take place this coming Monday, September 28th, from 5:30pm EST to 7:00pm EST!

Come with any complaint, question, concern, or issue you have. We know this is our first membership meeting this semester, and we want to see all of you there! We’ll send out the Zoom link on Monday morning, as well as a reminder.

UPDATE // AMALGATED LOCAL 1596 NOMINATIONS

NOTE: This is for our Local UAW 1596 elections, not for the GEO-specific elections. For information on the UMass Boston GEO elections, click here.

TO ALL MEMBERS: This is the official Call to all members who desire to be a candidate for any one (1) of the ten (10) Local Union Executive Offices.

PRESIDENT
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT VICE PRESIDENT
FINANCIAL SECRETARY-TREASURER
RECORDING SECRETARY
THREE (3) TRUSTEES
GUIDE
SERGEANT-AT-ARMS

Rules & Regulations

  1. Eligibility:  All members in continual good standing for a period of one (1) year as of 10/2/20 will be eligible for election to any one (1) executive office.
  • All members in good standing are eligible to be nominated to any one (1) Local Union Executive Office position. Interested members must submit, by registered or certified mail, a nomination form to UAW Local 1596 Election Committee 960 Turnpike Street, Suite 2C, Canton, MA 02021 (Local 1596 By-Laws Article 13, Section 11). Nominations open on 9/25/20 and all nomination forms must be in UAW Local 1596 office by close of business on 10/14/20 in order to be included on the ballot.  Nomination forms can be obtained from your steward.
  • Candidates shall have the right within thirty (30) days of the election (9/25/20 to 10/20/20) to inspect the mailing list containing the names and last known addresses of all members eligible to vote.  Candidates do not have the right to copy the membership list, only the right to inspect and/or compare it with a personal list of members. The ballots will be mailed out on 10/20/20.
  • Each candidate shall have a right to have one (1) challenger present when the votes are tabulated provided that such challenger shall be a member of the Local Union and any cost shall be borne by the candidate.  (International Constitution Article 38, Section 10-g).
  • Ballots must be returned no later than the close of business on10/28/20. The ballots will be counted at the UAW office at 960 Turnpike Street, Canton, MA.

UPDATE // FALL 2020 ELECTION NOMINEES AND VOTER REGISTRATION

We are happy to announce that we have our nominees! You can download a .pdf here that has their pictures, programs, short-bios, and campaign blurbs. The dates for the rest of the election cycle are below!

  • Wednesday, September 23rd: Campaign period begins!
  • Wednesday, October 7th: Voting registration ends at 5:00 p.m. EST.
  • Thursday and Friday, October 8th and 9th: Voting!
  • Tuesday, October 13th: Results will be announced.

How do you register to vote? 

As part of our new digital voting process, we are requiring that all GEO members who want to be involved to update their membership status by re-registering for membership and voting by filling out a NEW membership PDF form and sending it from your UMB email to geoumb.elections@gmail.com. If you’re already a member, this won’t lead you to being charged again; it just makes it easier for us to tell who currently is and isn’t a dues-paying member for the purpose of voting. Again, to register to vote you must fill out and send a membership PDF form to geoumb.elections@gmail.com.

For the answers to questions like: why do you need to register?, How do I register?, How do I vote?, and more – read up on our Fall 2020 Election FAQ, linked here!