From: "James A.W. Shaw"
Sent: Thursday, February 01, 2001 7:21 PM
Subject: URGENT Bulletin: Admin wants to GUT GEO/UAW contract
We are under attack. Late this afternoon, the union received (via hand
delivery) the changes the university has proposed making to the GEO
contract. With their proposal, university administrators do not make even
the slightest attempt to improve the lives of hard-working graduate
employees. They are out simply to gut the contract, to eliminate our
to cut our pay, to reduce our health care, and to destroy diversity.
The university administration is out to cripple our union! (The full text
Susan Pearson's letter follows at the end of the e-mail if there are any
doubters.) I am sending this e-mail to union officers, activists, recent
membership meeting attendees, and activists from other on-campus unions.
crossed some e-mail lists in my address book, so if you get this more than
once, I'm sorry for the double trouble.) We will be looking to alert the
entire GEO membership tomorrow when action is planned.
The administration wants to take union rights away from of our membership.
They have proposed excluding research assistants (RAs) and assistant
residence directors (ARDs) from the union. That's about 1,200
of whom who are full dues-paying members of GEO!! In terms of RAs, they
try to exploit weaknesses in the hard sciences especially through the
intimidation of international students.
The division of housing has been a nightmare for ARDs. Housing is actively
trying to exploit our members there (through unjust terminations,
intimidation, neglect and the like.) GEO has filed more grievances on
of ARDs than for any other type of worker combined. The university's
response to this tirade of injustice? Try and shred what rights remain.
They also want to cut our stipends. Although they didn't propose
our hourly rate, they proposed to stop paying us for vacation over the
Winter Intersession and Spring Break. That's the equivalent of a 10 to 15%
They want to cut health care. They are gearing up to try and impose higher
copayments while providing fewer services. (Two years ago, Sue Pearson
expressed her disappointment that she couldn't achieve these cuts in our
They want to cut funding for the recruitment and retention of ALANA
and members of other underrepresented groups. Right now, MOU#6 of the GEO
contract guarantees $705,600 in funds to further the cause of recruiting
retaining those students who have been historically excluded from higher
education generally and UMass specifically. At this time, perhaps more
at other times, we need these funds to increase.
They want to cut back on child care and family issues. They proposed
eliminating the position of Family Issues Advocate, which is a GEO
funded by UMass, and one of the only people paid to be on campus and fight
for the rights of graduate students and their families. They also proposed
eliminating all guarantees around the Affordable Flexible Childcare
which provides subsidized childcare to low-income student parents so the
university can proceed cutting child care. Currently, the need for
affordable childcare is going unmet. Simply put, we need more, not less.
They want to renegotiate the amount of money that we will receive ("if
Pearson writes) for professional development--effectively another pay cut.
They want to cut back the number of GEO staff that represent the members.
Now, the university funds four positions for graduate students to work for
their union and to represent the membership. They are there to preserve
expand our rights--an increasingly difficult task given the university's
constant union-busting onslaughts. The university wants to reduce the
of GEO staff and impose an eligibility criteria that would exclude most of
our members from ever serving their union for pay.
But we must fight back and we will. We will fight hard for all that we
We are committed to improved job security, higher wages, better
for intellectual property, building affordable housing, recognizing
instructors who teach in Continuing Education, increasing campus
securing optical care and more. These are the simple basics that every
We must act together and be strong. Not only GEO members, but members of
of the unions on campus. Our struggle is a common struggle. Tomorrow
(Friday), we hope to have more details about an important all-campus
strategy session and a rally to present demands of the members of GEO/UAW.
Thank you for your time, and we look forward to your contribution to the
p.s. Below is a copy of Susan Pearson's disgraceful letter. Do not
to share it. We must shine a light on this injustice.
James A.W. Shaw
Graduate Employee Organization
Local 2322, United Auto Workers
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
January 31, 2001
Mr. Peter Tamas
Graduate Employee Organization/Local 2322/UAW
In accordance with Article 53 of the Agreement Between the Graduate
Employee Organization/Local 2322/UAW and the University of Massachusetts,
Amherst, the University administration hereby submits the following
proposals for changes in the Agreement. In each instance, additional
about the changes proposed to the articles cited will be provided during
negotiations. In addition to the specific proposals below, we propose
correction of dates and untimely references throughout the Agreement, as
appropriate. We propose that all other provisions of the Agreement and
associated memoranda of understanding remain unchanged.
Article 1, Recognition: We propose the exclusion from the bargaining unit
of Research Assistants and Assistant Residence Directors.
Article 2, Definitions: We propose the addition of definitions of
"exemption," and "full-time."
Article 3, GEO Security: We propose the deletion of the provision
that dues or agency fee deduction forms be appended to appointment forms.
Article 4, Time Off for GEO Business: We propose amending this article to
require that individuals who are granted released time have other
appointments which qualify them as members of the GEO bargaining unit. We
propose a reduction in the amount of released time provided.
Article 8, Access to Space Usage: We propose the deletion of the
requirement that the University provide mobile parking decals to GEO.
Article 11, Consultation: We propose the deletion of the requirement that
the University pay for or provide mailing to graduate student employees.
Article 12, GEO Orientation: We propose revision of the provision for new
Article 17, Sexual Harassment: We propose revising the reference to the
University Sexual Harassment procedures to reflect the University's
intention to modify those procedures.
Article 24, Professional Development: We propose renegotiation of the
to be provided, if any.
Article 32, Stipends: We propose renegotiation of the amount to be
and the terms governing its distribution.
Article 35, Health Fees: We propose renegotiation of the health coverage
payment provisions and renegotiation of the health and welfare trust fund
Article 37, Vacation: We propose the elimination of vacation time for
graduate student employees on academic-year or one-semester appointments.
Article 39, Family Issues: We propose the deletion of the section entitled
"Family Issues Advocate" and renegotiation of the provisions of the
entitled "Child Care."
Article 41, Timeliness of Pay: We propose the revision of this article and
other provisions of the Agreement, as necessary, to reflect the
plans to adopt new administrative computing and payroll systems, which
result in such changes to business practices and procedures as conversion
from a weekly to a biweekly payroll system and may require universal
electronic transfer of salary payments to an account or accounts selected
each graduate student employee.
Memoranda of Understanding: We propose the deletion of memorandum of
We look forward to beginning our discussions of February 27. The Whitmore
Boardroom is available at 10:30 a.m., and we have scheduled it from then
until 3:00 p.m.
Cc: Provost Cora Marrett
Dean Lee Edwards
Dean Charlena Seymour
Professor John Donoghue
Mary Jane Quinn