Bargaining Update (Day Unit)

November 13, 2017 – 136 Days without a Contract

After 16 sessions with management we write to provide you with a more detailed update on our progress at the bargaining table.  It should be noted that this MSCA Bargaining Team has been attending in full force since we began last fall and that all members have made meaningful contributions.

Financial Offers: Management has made no change to the financial offer they first gave us on September 14th.  Their proposal remains 1% in the first year (0.5% every six months) with an additional 1% on July 1, 2017 if state revenues reach $27.072 billion in fiscal year 2018 (ending June 30, 2018); and 2% in each of the second and third years (1% every six months).  Several statewide unions (including MTA) have written to the governor requesting a more realistic financial offer.  There has been no response to date.

We have reduced our financial request for across-the-board raises for full-time members from 5% to 3.5% each year, with an additional $1,000 on-base increase in the first year to defray increased GIC costs.  This is in line with what other higher education unions are requesting.

We have not reduced our financial request for part-time faculty which is roughly 16% in the first year, 11% in the second year and 10.5% in the third year.  Our proposal ties the per-credit rate to an increasing percentage of the minimum salary formula.

Evaluation Based on Your Students’ Grades: The presidents have backed off from their proposal to insert your students’ grade distribution into your portfolio.  They continue to insist that you be evaluated on your class enrollment and retention data.

Tenure… for Administrators, not for You:  The presidents continue to demand that they be allowed to hire academic administrators with tenure, before they even set foot on campus.  At the same time the presidents want to allow full-time temporary faculty and librarians to be hired from two years to five years.  More than 50% of the full-time hires in the last four fall semesters were temporary, non-tenure-track hires. The presidents passionately argue that hiring administrators with tenure is the only way they can attract and retain quality academic administrators.  What are presidents telling us about current academic administrators who were hired without tenure?

More Non-Benefited, Lower-Paying Jobs: Already having the ability to hire unlimited non-tenure-track, full-time faculty (with benefits), the presidents want to continue to add more part-time, non-benefited, lower paid faculty – with no job security – to the ranks.

The presidents have dropped their proposal to allow 100% of all courses to be taught by part-time faculty but want to increase that cap by 67% (from 15% to 25%, 20% to 25% at MassArt).  They propose the computation be aggregated among all departments with six or more full-time faculty (the cap would be university-wide, not by department).  Departments with fewer than six full-time faculty would continue to be exempt from any cap.  The presidents are likely to continue to be prohibit departments with five full-time faculty from hiring a sixth full-time member since that would push the department into inclusion in the computation of the cap.

The team sees this as a continued erosion of tenure and a continued replacement of benefited higher-paid positions with non-benefited, lower-paid positions with less or no job security.  In response, we have countered with a proposal that, in broad terms, includes all departments, aggregates university-wide, but that also limits the use of full-time temporary positions so that no more than 25% of all courses are taught by non-tenure track faculty.  Coupled with this we have proposed an increase in the length of time a temporary faculty member can be hired (from two years to five years) and the elimination of the need for a break between temporary contracts.

Part-time Faculty Issues: We have proposals that would allow part-time faculty to be hired on academic-year appointments (rather than semester-to-semester only), that would grant part-time faculty added consideration over non-unit employees in hiring, that would credit part-time teaching experience in hiring, and that would require the universities to provide professional development money on a pro-rated basis.

Formulary Increases: The presidents put formulary increases back on the table but limit the pool of money to 0.125% of the full-time payroll, which is a significantly smaller pool than it has been each year for most of the past decade.

Less Vacation and Sick Leave for Librarians: Management put across the table a proposal to reduce the number of unused vacations days that could accrue and to eliminate the provision allowing unused vacations days to roll over into sick leave.  As you know this proposal was placed on the table after management indicated that all of their proposals were on the table.  The MSCA filed a charge of regressive bargaining.  The charge will be heard by the Massachusetts Department of Labor Relations in January 2018.

Post-Tenure Review: The presidents have modified their PTR proposal by putting the awards back as base salary increases.  Our team has issues with their current proposal as there is no required minimum expenditure and any “left-over” monies revert back to the universities.

While progress is slow, the presidents are moving off of language that is not beneficial to our members.  We believe that the solidarity and support members on every campus have exhibited are having an effect, and we encourage you to continue those efforts.  Our shirts are recognized statewide; our appearances at MassArt and Westfield were noticed by the public; our plans to increase visibility and direct engagement are on track.

The last scheduled session is Monday November 20 at Framingham State University.  We anticipate more dates before the end of the year.  We will continue to keep you posted on our progress.  Thank you for your support!

What can you do?  Contact the
presidents; tell them “MSCA members deserve a fair contract.”

Fred Clark, Bridgewater: 508-531-2484
Richard Lapidus, Fitchburg: 978-665-3101
Javier Cevallos, Framingham: 508-626-4575
David Nelson, MassArt: 617-879-7100
James Birge, MCLA: 413-662-5201
Francis McDonald, Mass Maritime: 508-830-5001
John Keenan, Salem: 978-542-6134
Ramon Torrecilha, Westfield: 413-572-5201
Barry Maloney, Worcester: 508-929-8020

Amy Everitt, Bargaining Committee Chair
CJ O’Donnell, President