News

Please see our "Contact Us" page for meeting announcements.


2013 Parking Decals

Hello members! We hope summer has been good for your research and relaxation. This is usually the time of year that parking passes become a common question, so we would like to put out this quick bulletin: 

This fall, the university should be honoring our no-parking-fee history while we continue negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). We are still operating under our existing CBA which prohibits new fees being charged to our members. If you take a copy of your signed TA/RA contract to access services/UCAPS, they should give you a parking pass free of charge. (You may also want to take your vehicle registration with you as they sometimes require it to issue the permit.) Do not order your pass online through UCAPS as they do not offer the grad employee fee waiver through their ordering service. 

Last year, the UCAPS employees told TAs and RAs that they may be asked to pay for their pass at a later date. That is a possibility, but it would have to be preceded by the signing and ratification of a new CBA. You would therefore be aware of whatever new parking policies were agreed upon. We're simply telling you this as a "heads up" because last year some members were put off by what they were told down at UCAPS. Nevertheless, please be patient with the folks working in that office. Sometimes the first they hear of our fee waiver is when the first of you go down to get your decal, so be understanding if they need a little time to sort things out. 

Please let us know if you have any issues getting your pass by contacting geo@uml.edu.  

Updated July 25, 2013

50th Commemoration of the March for Jobs and Freedom
Rally- Saturday, August 24th
Act now to reserve your seat on the bus!
 
UAW is participating in the 50th Commemoration of the March for Jobs and Freedom in Washington, DC on August 24th We want to give all UAW members from our Region and their family members the opportunity to attend this historic celebrating the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's historic "I Have a Dream" speech.

 
UAW is providing buses – leaving from NYC, CT and MA
Time & Place – TO BE ANNOUNCED
(Buses will return the same day)
 
Bus space is limited and may no longer be available. To reserve your seat on the bus, a $10 deposit is required.  People who participate in the bus trip will receive a refund of their deposit when they get on the bus.  To hold your place, cash or check (made out to UAW Region 9A) can be mailed to UAW Region 9A, 111 South Road, Farmington, CT 06032.  Or it can be brought to the Farmington office or the New York or Canton, MA Region 9A sub-regional offices.  We are looking into a way to accept deposits online, and will update you if that happens. Contact one of the organizers below before sending your deposit to ensure space is still available.

For more information, contact:
 
                                                Ellen (781) 821-3037 – ewallace@uaw.net (Massachuetts organizer)
Beverley (860) 674-0143 – bbrakeman@uaw.net
Scott (212) 529-2580 – ssommer@uaw.net


Election results

Thank you to everyone who came out to vote today! We had a great turnout, and the races were close. We've tallied the votes and would like to say congratulations to John Lamb and Yao Zhai! As Vice President, John will head up the internal workings of the GEO, such as organizing events and managing our membership services. As Steward, Yao will be charged with the information management and advertising for our Organization. Their duties begin in September, at which time you can expect to start hearing from both of them pretty often!

Thank you also to XiaoLu, our outgoing Vice President. We appreciate your years of service and good work. Best of luck out there, Dr. XiaoLu Jing! 

We had a great group of nominees this year. It's wonderful to see such interest in serving our GEO members. Please feel free to contact your GEO officers any time you have questions or concerns about your assistantship, benefits or work situation. As negotiations continue in the coming months, updates will be posted to this site. In the meantime, best wishes for a wonderful summer!

Updated May 1, 2013

Cast your ballot - elections Wednesday, May 1st!

The Graduate Employee Organization will be holding elections for two officer positions for the 2013-2014 academic year.  If you are currently a TA or RA, we welcome and encourage you to vote! Elections will be held May 1st in two sessions: 10:00-12:00 in Kitson 300 and 1:30-3:00 in Dugan 204. Nominees for Vice President and Steward were asked to provide a statement about their qualifications and why they wish to become a GEO officer. Those statements can be viewed on our Elections page. Please review the candidates so you may be an informed voter, then stop by to cast your ballot on May 1st!


Officer nominations now open!

Want to get more involved in the Graduate Employee Organization? Please consider running for unit officer! We have two positions open for the 2013-2014 academic year: Steward and Vice President. Nominations must be submitted by 5:00pm on April 25th. Nominee names and a brief bio will be posted to this website on April 26th. Elections will then be held May 1st in two sessions: 10:00-12:00 in Kitson 300 and 1:30-3:00 in Dugan 204. Please see the nomination form for more information. The form may be downloaded from our Documents page by clicking the arrow at the right side of that page in the "GEO Nomination form" row.


Coming soon - GEO officer nominations open!

GEO members: please watch your UML Today for the coming announcement about the opening of nominations for GEO officer positions. We will have 2 open positions next year, for which voting will take place in the beginning of May. Dates and times are pending. Position descriptions and the nomination form will be available on this website once the nomination period begins. Remember - you must have been a member of the GEO (TA or RA) for at least one year in order to be eligible for an officer position.

Updated April 9, 2013 


Make your voice heard about funding public higher education!

The Public Higher Education Advocacy Day at the State House is Tuesday - March 5.  This will be a day of hearing speakers from throughout the Commonwealth's public higher education system, including the Governor, who will speak at 10:30, which is when the event starts in the Gardner Auditorium.

The purpose of the event is to move the legislature to substantially increase, on a permanent basis, its funding for the public higher education system, to provide affordable, accessible, and high quality higher education for everyone in the Commonwealth.  On this day, students, faculty, staff, administrators, and others will rally and then go to meet with their legislators and let them know why this is so important for us and the Commonwealth.

UML is providing a bus for students to be able to attend.

Anyone who will attend should register at this web site:  
bit.ly/advocacyday2013

Here is a Facebook link with a bit more information: 
http://www.facebook.com/events/438694266208793/?ref=22


Welcome to our new GEO Officers!

The nominations are in, and there were only two submitted. That means the new officers are Vikram Singh Prasher and Andrew Downey. Congratulations!

Because the number of nominations was equal to the number of open positions, an election is not necessary. Being unopposed, the nominees are therefore elected by acclamation.


Officer nominations now open - due November 26th. 
Elections December 4th.

The Graduate Employee Organization will be holding elections for two officer positions commencing January 2013.  If you are currently a TA or RA and will continue to be next semester, we welcome you to nominate yourself or fellow graduate employee for this position.  Nominations must be submitted by 5:00pm on November 26th. Nominee names and a brief bio will be posted to this website on November 27th. Elections will then be held December 4th in two sessions: 11:00-12:30 in Kitson 300 and 2:30-4:00 in O'Leary 327. Please see the nomination form for more information. The form may be downloaded from our Documents page by clicking the arrow at the right side of page in the "GEO Nomination from" row.


A note on health insurance

If you are a full time TA or RA, you are only responsible for paying 20% of the health insurance fee. Sometimes the billing system takes months to catch up with what was inputted when you signed your contract this Fall, so the 80% waiver may have not yet been applied. 

This is NOT due the expired GEO contract. Until a new contract is agreed to, we continue to operate under the current (expired) agreement. All benefits and fee waivers that were enjoyed in previous years still apply, including parking and insurance.

Pay 20% of the health insurance fee by the due date, and include a note about how you are owed an 80% waiver. Eventually it will be applied.

Updated October 17, 2012 

Welcoming in Fall 2012!

Greetings GEO members, and happy Labor Day! Today we celebrate the contributions of all workers, and we on the GEO committee are especially celebrating UMass Lowell graduate employees. We are the cogs that turn the wheels of productivity and success at our university. You are valuable contributors to the university community, and we hope you take some time to acknowledge all you do for your students, your professors and each other.

We hope you enjoyed your summer break. As you return once again or begin your graduate school career, we welcome you to contact us with any questions or concerns regarding your employment with the university (geo@uml.edu). The beginning of the year can be a hectic time, and we hope to hear from you if we can make the start any easier. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
  • Our collective bargaining agreement with the university expired in June (see below entry, "Contract status bargaining update"). As the school year has started without a new agreement being signed, we continue to operate under our expired agreement (available in the Documents page of this website). That means your benefits will be very similar to what they've been in years past.
  • Insurance fee: For full time employees, 80% of the university health insurance fee is covered by UML. That means you are responsible for paying 20% of the fee.* (Of course this does not apply if you are privately insured and completed the health insurance waiver on iSiS.)
  • Parking: If you take a copy of your signed TA/RA contract to access services (in South Campus dining hall), you should receive a student parking permit free of charge. This cannot be done online.
  • Workload: Full time TA/RA is 18 hours of laboratory, teaching, office hours, and/or prep time per week. Half time is 9 hours per week. You must be present and available to work from the first to the last days of the semester (September 5 to December 21 for Fall 2012; January 22 to May 14 for Spring 2013). Do not arrive late or leave early, as that may put you in breach of your contract.
  • Waivers: Full time graduate employees get 100% tuition and fee waivers. Half time employees receive half of the waivers. If you are full time and receive a bill for tuition/fees that you know should be covered, do not pay it. Your contract may not yet be in the system, but it will be taken care of once the accounts are all caught up. *But BE SURE to pay your 20% insurance fee and any others that you may owe, or you could incur a late fee.
  • Paychecks: Payment is sent every two weeks by mail or direct deposit, depending upon how you set it up with HR. In the beginning of the year, payroll is sometimes slow to get started for graduate employees because we sign our contracts so close to the start of school. It takes the folks in Human Resources some time to get us all into the system (sometimes into October). If you do not receive a paycheck, it is likely that you will receive two the following pay period. It is not ideal to wait, but you will receive pay for all hours worked.
We hope this information helps. Please contact us with additional questions. We will hold elections for open officer positions later in the fall, so watch this site and UML Today emails for the call for nominations.

Also keep an eye out for your invitation to the graduate employee appreciation dinner to be held in late September or early October! We would love to see you there.

Updated September 3, 2012

 

Contract status and bargaining update

Greetings all. We hope you have enjoyed your summer break and are beginning to look toward another productive year at UMass Lowell!  The Graduate Employee Organization officers and UAW representatives have been attempting to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the University to replace that which expired in June. Progress has been slow as the University transitions its new negotiators and implements state budget restrictions. We acknowledge that their financial situation is difficult, but our only priority is to look out for the interests of you, our members. Therefore we are still working on an agreeable scenario for our new CBA. This is why you have not yet been given a contract for Fall 2012. Please do not be concerned, because in the event that a new CBA is not finalized by September the default process is to continue operating under the expired agreement (same pay and benefits as last year). Still, please do not hesitate to email us (geo@uml.edu) if you have specific concerns about your status or assistantship for the Fall. 

Updated August 6, 2012

 
Concerns of Graduate Employees at UMass Lowell
 
 
We have received a couple of emails from members concerned about policy changes being made by the university that may affect our membership. At this time, we have not been brought into any conversations with university administrators discussing changes that would affect our members (as is required by our current Agreement). While we invite you to continue to contact us with your individual concerns, we have no news to share with you at this time.
 
We have begun preliminary negotiations over our University Agreement, which will expire in June. If there are any sections of the Agreement that you wish to have us address, please email us at geo@uml.edu. Thank you for your continued hard work.
 
 
Updated May 2, 2012


Updated March 5, 2012


2011 GEO Appreciation Dinner and Open House

Announcing our second annual appreciation dinner! This year's event will take place in Cumnock Hall on November 17th from 5-7pm. Check your snail mail for your invitation, coming soon!  You can also find the event on Facebook by searching UML GEO Appreciation Dinner.
 
Update: Thank you to everyone who attended the dinner this year! It was a great success.

Updated December 1, 2011

 2011-2012 Officer election results
 
 
In May, we held elections for a vacant Officer position in the GEO. We would like to welcome the newly-elected Graduate Employee Organization Officer, Yunfeng Ling, to the committee. The other officers look forward to working with you! We also thank outgoing Officer Ambarish Roy for his dedication and hard work on behalf of UML's graduate employees over the last 2 years. Good luck out there, Dr. Roy!

Thank you to all the candidates who ran in this year's election. We will have elections again next year, in the spring but also possibly in the fall for positions that may open up early, so keep an eye out for those announcements. Also, we hope to start a department liaison program to increase communication between the GEO and its members, and perhaps some of you would like to join us in that capacity. Please let us know if you are interested.
 
Updated June 15, 2011


Parking Passes for Teaching and Research Assistants
 
 
Once again, TAs and RAs will receive their commuter or resident parking pass with the fees waived.  The terms of the our Union-University Agreement specify a “no fee increase clause” for the duration of the current contract. (This may be subject to change for Fall 2012.)
 
If you need to order a parking pass you need to do it in person as the online system requires payment authorization. You will need to bring your UML ID card and a copy of your contract signed by at least your advisor/department to the UCard/Access Services Office University Crossing Building #2. If you do not have a signed copy of your contract, your academic department or advisor (for RAs) should.  The UCard Office will not keep a copy of your contract; they just need to see it for verification. 

Updated August 21, 2011




Highlights from our University Agreement


During the 2008-2009 academic year, the GEO Committee carried out negotiations with the University to draft a new three-year agreement for TA, RA and GA salaries and benefits.

Here are some highlights from the new agreement, effective through 2012:
  • Annual TA/RA/GA stipend increase of 3% (effective September 2010).
  • A 75% decrease in out-of-state student fees for union members, with complete fee elimination by 2011 (for full time TAs/RAs).
  • 80% subsidy for Student Health Insurance (an increase from 75% in 2008).
  • Union members are protected from fee increases for the duration of the current agreement.
  • Changes in workload are regulated to maintain time obligations outlined in the contract.
  • The agreement outlines steps to avoid retrenchment and offer reassignment in such an event.
  • Access the complete University Agreement
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