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Health Insurance, Information Sessions, and a Summer BBQ

The Graduate Advocate, July 1st

In case you haven’t yet heard the news…

The overall cost for the Student Health Insurance Plan is going up approximately $400 in Fall—from $2180 up to $2540. Additionally, for Graduate Employee–the University covers a percentage of our health insurance premium… but how much they cover is hard-capped at a $ amount. Every dollar of this hike is over that cap. The University is not paying a cent more… the raised charge falls completely on our shoulders. Full-time Graduate Assistants used to pay $400.

Next year, we will be paying nearly $800. For many students, that new $400 charge could go to one person’s groceries for more than eight weeks. How did something like this happen? How did it happen with so little warning? There are a lot of questions. We might have some answers for you.

On Tuesday, July 16th, at 4.00pm, in ISC 4300, the GEO is hosting an information and question session. Come join us with any and all concerns you might have.

For many students, that $400 Health Insurance charge is the price of groceries for one person for more than eight weeks.

On Tuesday, July 16th, at 4.00pm, in ISC 4300, the GEO is hosting an information and question session for graduate assistants to attend with any and all questions they might have. We’ll review the contract, your rights as a Graduate Employee on this campus, and discuss the upcoming bargaining session. But the upcost of the Health Insurance Premium has sparked this meeting… so bring any question or concern you have. We’ll see what we can do.

Afterward, we’ll be holding a BBQ at the Fox Point Pavilion to round off the evening and survive the leftover heat.

RSVP: Visit our Google Form here, or visit our Facebook Event here.

Come join us on the 16th. If you can’t make the information session at 4pm, come to the barbecue between 6 and 8. We’re happy to answer questions between bites.

The Graduate Advocate

Information About Parking Fee Increases

Hello GEO,

We wanted to clear up information about the new parking fees since they’ve already gone into effect starting January 1st.

We, as GEO members, will be paying student parking rates. If you go to the parking rates section of the University Website, you will be able to see these rates listed under Student Information (https://www.umb.edu/the_university/getting_here/parking/fees). The website lists the daily rates at both on-campus (West Garage, Lot D, Campus Center Garage) and off-campus (Bayside and other satellite) lots. There is also a short-term parking structure for the West Garage, as well as semester and multi-use passes. Semester passes can also be purchased through payroll deduction for GEO members. It should be known: with the current pricing schedule for semester passes, the semester pass will cost more than the multipass, unless you are coming to campus several days a week.

There is also important information for folks who purchased parking passes during the Fall of 2018. Because the rates listed are lower than the administration originally planned, students that purchased semester passes during Fall 2018 can have the difference reimbursed in a few different ways.

It is important to note that our contract states that if any other unit gets a better deal than us (the faculty union and both staff unions are still bargaining over parking) then we could reopen negotiations over parking even though our contract has been settled. Also, it is important to remember that interim chancellor Newman said in her last townhall meeting that if any additional revenue (such as money from the state or the UMass president’s office to cover some of the legacy and building debt) is received by UMass Boston, then the administration will lower these rates. If either of these things happen, anyone who has purchased a semester pass will get the difference reimbursed. Most importantly, if this happens, then we need to make sure that we hold interim chancellor Newman to her word.

We are still part of the parking coalition that includes PSU, CSU, GEO and undergraduate students fighting for affordable parking on campus. Make sure you pay attention to the emails we will be sending throughout the semester because even after all the contracts are settled, we will still be fighting hard to make this institution affordable and accessible for all of our community.

If you have any questions or want to get involved in the fight against higher fees and austerity on campus, please feel free to email us.

In solidarity,

GEO Organizing Committee

Winter Semester And Office Hours

Hi everyone!

This post is a quick update to keep you informed as to GEO’s availability over winter semester. While we will not be regularly in the office, we are always happy to meet; if you need us for anything, please, email us at geo@umb.edu. We can come in to meet you, discuss things over the phone, or by email.

Regular office hours will resume and be posted as we approach Spring Semester.

To all of you from us at the Organizing Committee; have a happy new year, merry tidings, and, to whatever holy days you may observe – whether you’ve already observed them, are observing now, or have yet to do so – we wish you the best of celebrations.

Best wishes,

The GEO Organizing Committee

GEO Solidarity Statement for our LGBTQ+ Community

After a leaked memo from the Department of Health and Human Services regarding a redefinition of sex in federal law, GEO wants to share with you all this statement of support for all of our LGBTQ+ community:

The UMass Boston Graduate Employee Organization Organizing Committee condemns in the strongest terms the leaked Department of Health and Human Services memo that seeks to redefine sex in federal law as “a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth.” This definition would deny transgender people protection under federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination the basis of sex. The proposal would limit equal access to health care, housing, education, and fair treatment under the law.  It would functionally deny many trans people documentation of their identity, citizenship and immigration status, and the ability to travel freely. For others, it would force them to choose between the life-threatening dangers of the closet and living in a state of constant exposure and vulnerability. It sends a chilling message that the existence and identity of transgender people is not recognized by the government, and deepens ongoing attacks on the civil rights of all citizens, immigrants and undocumented people. It also compounds the threats already facing unions and union members in the form of expansion of Right to Work laws and the recent Janus vs AFSCME Supreme Court ruling.

Our membership includes graduate employees of diverse gender identities. Furthermore; we, as graduate employees also serve faculty, staff and students who are also of diverse gender identities. Because of this, GEO stands for equality for all and condemns this proposed change to federal law.

The Department of Health and Human Services proposal represents a challenge to the central principle of the labor movement, that unions stand for dignity, rights and equality for all workers, as well as the defining principles of our campus community. This proposal is a threat to worker solidarity across job categories, between unions and for all genders, ethnicities, races and abilities.  We oppose the DHHS memo on the grounds that it promotes a broader context of transphobia and a climate of fear that makes our tasks of organizing and building power with our members even more difficult. As union members who fight to protect our coworkers, our families and our communities, we oppose threats to transgender people expressed in the leaked memo and stand in solidarity with all LGBTQ+ people who may be experiencing heightened stress of forms of harassment and discrimination.

 

 

 

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR NEW ORGANIZING COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Katsyris Rivera-Kientz and Drew Bevis!

The GEO Organizing Committee wants to welcome Katsyris Rivera-Kientz and Drew Bevis into the fold! Both Katsy and Drew got elected into the GEO organizing committee in the beginning of October. We want to thank all of our members that ran and all of you who voted! We are really excited about finally being at full capacity and are looking forward to the contributions from all of our members.

 

                           Katsyris Rivera-Kientz                                                         Drew Bevis 

 

 

Candidates for Organizing Committee!

Hi folks, below (in alphabetical order) are all the candidates running for the 2 organizing committee positions we have open this year.

Voting will occur on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th of October, and will span most of the day (9am-7pm on the 4rd and 4th; 9am-5pm on the 5th) on each day. Voting must be done in person at the GEO office – Quinn – 02 – 081- and ballots will be provided by the GEO when you come in to vote.

Please read our candidates’ bios/platforms so you can cast your vote! (more…)

Action Alert – Thursday, September 20th 9:30am-11:00am

The entire campus community is invited to UMass Boston Convocation on September 20th, and we need the UMB community to stand united and stand up for our campus.

We demand that UMass leadership STOP the over 100% parking fee increase that we can’t afford and fight with us at the State House to cancel the legacy debt that has been crushing UMB for decades.

Join us outside the Campus Center Ballroom at 9:30AM on 9/20 to get instructions and an armband, and then head into the ballroom, grab some free food, and get ready to stand up and speak out to SAVE UMB!!!

There is a facebook event below that you can share to make sure we get a good turnout for this important action.

https://www.facebook.com/events/298727614251144/

 

Garage Crushing Student (1).jpg

 

 

Upcoming Elections

The Graduate Employee Organization (GEO) is holding elections!

The GEO Organizing Committee is comprised of Graduate Assistants at UMass Boston. We work collaboratively to advocate for Graduate Employee rights on campus and enrichment opportunities for our members. Though one of the main functions of this position will be assisting in outreach to members and allies on campus in order to increase membership engagement, the duties are varied and are not strictly limited to outreach. Projects the Organizing Committee undertook this year include:

  • Writing for and editing the Graduate Advocate, our biannual publication.
  • Administering Scholarly Support Funds for students seeking funding to present at conferences.
  • Planning and hosting semester parties for members and allies.
  • Recruiting for and facilitating the Assembly of Stewards monthly meetings.
  • Developing communications content for the website, social media, and e-newsletters.
  • Collaborating with the University to address labor concerns which affect graduate employees.
  • Mediating member grievances.

This position will require a commitment of 9 hours per week starting Fall 2018 semester. Every member of the Organizing Committee is responsible for holding weekly office hours and attending weekly meetings of the Organizing Committee.

All GEO members are eligible for this positionboth PhD and Master’s degree candidates. Candidates for this position must have at least one Graduate Assistantship on campus currently and be a full, dues-paying member of the GEO in good standing.

 

Nominations will be accepted until midnight on September 14th, 2018, followed by a two-week campaign period.

For more information about the GEO, please visit our website and for updates on what we’re doing, follow us on Facebook. 

 

GEO Elections Advert - Final