April 2, 1028
On March 22nd the bargaining team met with management in a very successful bargaining session that extended past 11:00 pm. There is only one unresolved issue on the table, vacation leave for librarians.
You may recall that in October 3, 2017, after the parties had notified each other that all proposals were on the table, the Department of Higher Education (DHE) put on the table a proposal to reduce the amount of vacation leave some librarians earned each year, to reduce the amount of vacation leave that could be accumulated and to discontinue the decades old practice of allowing excess vacation leave to be converted to sick leave.
The MSCA filed a charge of regressive bargaining with the Department of Labor Relations and after an in-person investigation the hearing officer dismissed the charge in a ruling on February 1, 2018, stating that “there is no evidence that the Employer’s was designed to move negotiations backwards, nor could it reasonably be expected to have that effect.”
As the MSCA expected, that has been the exact effect. Had the DHE not placed this on the table nine months after negotiations began we would have had a tentative agreement on March 22, 2018, and we would not be facing the possibility of mediation, fact-finding, and unilateral implementation of the DHE’s vacation leave proposal.
Members should be clear that this proposal was put on the table by the DHE with the strong encouragement of Governor Baker. The Governor was able to impose a reduction in vacation leave on non-unionized employees in the Commonwealth, and was able to get nearly all unions with vacation leave to agree to a reduction in vacation leave during the last round of bargaining. We are one of the last, if not the last, union to hold out on not reducing the vacation leave earned by our members.
We have made efforts to offset the proposed reduction in leave and continue to work to try to mitigate the proposed reduction in leave. The parties meet again on April 9th to try to resolve this single outstanding issue.
Amy Everitt (Salem), MSCA Day Bargaining Chair
Jenn Berg (Fitchburg), MSCA Day Bargaining Vice Chair
Maria Hegbloom (Bridgewater)
Virginia Rutter (Framingham)
Katie Riel (MassArt)
David Eve (MCLA)
Elaine Craghead (Mass Maritime)
Margot Hennessy (Westfield)
Don Bullens (Worcester)
CJ O’Donnell, MSCA President
Robert Donohue, MSCA Vice President