Author: geoumassboston

Dorchester Bay City Petition

Please help us get a better Dorchester Bay City Proposal by signing and sharing this petition to Mayor Wu and the Boston Planning and Development Authority to Slow Down Approval.

The current proposal for “Dorchester Bay City” is far too big, far too brash, and needs to be slowed down!  We hope the new Mayor will recognize this need – but we need to urge her to do so.

Please support important changes to Dorchester Bay City (DBC) development and the timeline for approving it. You have heard several times this year from our Administration about Accordia Partners’ plan to build Dorchester Bay City—a project as large as three Empire State Buildings–on waterfront land leased from UMass Boston at the former Bayside Expo Center, with some adjoining land. The UMB Administration has actively supported this project, which will generate up to $235 million in future revenue for the campus, as it has moved through the City’s development review process.  

At the same time, many UMB staff, faculty and students strongly oppose the DBC project’s process to date and its current form. We believe that our campus has a moral responsibility as the largest “anchor institution” in the community and the major financial beneficiary of this development to push the developers to do better (at the very least, a scaled down version with decent affordable housing). Many members of the broader Dorchester community also oppose the current plan because of the significant economic and climate risks it will bring for the community and the fact that to date many of the most at-risk members of the community have not been sufficiently included in the process.

Make Your Voice Heard! What You Can Do to Help Us Get a Better DBC Proposal 

We encourage you to sign the petition linked below that was created by our community partner coalition, DotNot4Sale. It calls on Mayor Michelle Wu and the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) to institute a six month slow-down of the project approval process, which will help us to get real community feedback, as well as more commitments around affordability, good jobs, and community benefits.

The petition link is https://bit.ly/DBCPetition

Please also share this petition with others who can help us reach the Mayor and the BPDA. We need this time to get real commitments from the developer and to make sure residents most impacted by displacement are at the table. Let’s win real affordability, actions against displacement, jobs access, climate resiliency, and racial justice!

Bargaining Update

We met with the university on February 1st: management is beginning to be less obstinate toward our demands for more information and more conversation. In the latest bargaining session, in which we had to break down to management in very basic terms why we needed to be discussing actual numbers with them for our proposals, they began to come around to the idea.

Shortly after the meeting, we received a request to share our fiscal proposals so they could “catch up”. Fiscal proposals we submitted March 2021.

The fight continues – and we need you to join us!

Our next bargaining session is Thursday, February 17th, at 930am. We are as of yet unsure if this meeting will be in-person, or over Zoom: management seems reluctant to meet in-person due to COVID, which makes us wonder why the university is still operating on campus. 

To that end, we have two asks for you today.

The first is to fill out this interest form for Bargaining on the 17th: https://forms.gle/EvQsURN7uixMFvwRA

The second is to fill out this general Health and Safety form – the university does not want to meet regularly, and we need to know what you want so we can push them. The more you speak, the more we can speak for you.  https://forms.gle/8jb5mMagatTFukfB7

Warren Hinckle
Solidarity,

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.