Position Available at GEO – Family Issues Advocate

Family Issues Advocate

One of GEO’s central missions is providing support for student parents and other graduate students with family-related needs. The Family Issues Organizer is responsible for advocating on behalf of families to insure the University does not overlook the needs of student-parents.  The Family Issues Organizer also organizes and coordinates activities with these students. Applicants will have strong interpersonal communication skills, an interest in family issues and union organizing, and be willing to work in a team-oriented atmosphere. Experience working in the area of family issues is preferable, but not necessary.

Duties include, but are not limited to:

    Maintaining a network list of students interested in family issues and updating these members through emails and mailings and planning and coordinating activities and programs for student-parents and families. Family Issues Advocate will work with the Stewards (including Stewards Chair) and the ALANAA Caucus to coordinate this network.
    Coordinating with GSS with regard to family issues; this includes serving on the GSS committee that distributes childcare voucher funding for full-time and off-campus care.
    Monitoring the performance of University Child Care, specifically around the administration of the Affordable Flexible Child Care Program (Flexcare).
    Assisting graduate students with off-campus housing and childcare needs and representing the interests of graduate students living in family housing. The Family Issues Advocate will be responsible for acting as a liaison between GEO and the Umass Tenants Association.
    Acting as a liaison between graduate students and community members concerned with family issues and networking with other on- and off-campus agencies, such as the Amherst Housing Authority, Commuter Services and Housing Resource Center, and the Amherst Family Center.
    Coordinating research and developing long-range plans for improved childcare and family housing in preparation for the next round of contract negotiations.
    Chairing and convening the joint Family Issues Committee with the Administration.
    Chairing and convening the GEO Family Issues Committee and recruiting members to serve on this committee.
    Regularly attending Organizing Committee meetings and facilitating the integration of family issues with other GEO campaigns.
    Contributing material to the website, the weekly GEO mass e-mail, and other media as appropriate.

Every organizing position also comes with the requirement that the organizer be willing to help out in campaigns and organizing projects that are not narrowly related to their specialty, particularly at times when tasks within their organizing specialty are not at peak periods of intensity. Organizers are thus responsible for all aspects of assistance in the union’s organizing campaigns, including campaign start-up, committee building, assessments, developing literature and running meetings and workplace actions.

All employees are expected to devote a portion of their paid working hours to office management tasks (i.e., holding office hours, answering phones, taking messages, in-taking grievances, greeting members, etc.) and to attend meetings as required, including regular staff meetings. Some night and weekend hours may be required. All GEO employees should also demonstrate a willingness to work towards the union’s collective goals and a commitment to being a part of an organization that is fighting for progressive change on the UMass campus and beyond.

This position is for 20 hours a week for the 2010 Spring semester. The salary is the same as the average campus-wide stipend. GEO/UAW Local 2322 will provide training. People of color and women are encouraged to apply. We will pay for university health benefits, if necessary. In the past, all GEO staff employees who have needed tuition waivers have received them, but we cannot guarantee that this will continue to be the case.

Strong preference will be given to GEO members that have been active on campaigns and committees. All current graduate students are eligible to apply. Applicants should be committed to the general principles of social justice and collective action.

In order to apply, please submit:

  • A resume.
  • A cover letter stating the reasons you are interested in the position and your qualifications.
  • A completed GEO Staff Application form (see below).
  • Be prepared to bring proof of your student status to your interview (e.g. a letter from your GPD confirming your status).

Applications should be emailed to hiring@geouaw.org by Monday, January 11th, 4pm.


Name:        Home/Cell Phone Number:

Email Address:      Alternate Phone Number:

  1. What kind of union activism, organizing, community or volunteer experience do you have? In what capacities have you been active with GEO?
  2. Why are you interested in being hired for this position?
  3. What skills do you possess that would be beneficial for this position?
  4. Do you plan on having another assistantship or paid position that will require a significant commitment of your time? If so, please provide details of this position.
  5. [OPTIONAL] Do you identify as a member of a protected class, which includes race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, ability, age and ancestry?

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