The MSCA and BHE Bargaining Committees met on February 17.
We began the meeting with a short presentation on two important proposals we made in our one-year contract extension: suspending student evaluations until the Phase 4 of the Governor’s re-opening plan is complete, and monitoring of electronic communication as it relates to course management platforms such as Blackboard.
Earlier this month, we surveyed our DGCE colleagues asking them to share their experiences teaching remotely, fully online, or hybrid. In my presentation, I tied our argument to suspend student evaluations to the words of our colleagues (you can read my presentation here). Vice Chair Irina Seceleanu’s presentation on monitoring electronic communication (which you can read here) developed seamlessly from mine, and exposed some troubling events that put at risk the privacy and confidentiality of instructors and students.
After caucusing, management announced that it rejected both our proposals. Management believes that student evaluations cannot be foregone especially at this time when it is so important to know what “the consumers” (our DGCE students) think of our courses. Such tone deafness shocks us and repels us at once, however it also offers insight into Management’s view of our programs and courses as ‘products’ – and evaluations as ‘quality control,’ I suppose. Management also finds that our proposal on monitoring of electronic communication is too narrow, and therefore not appropriate for a one-year extension. In addition to that, our concerns about privacy and confidentiality were waved off summarily because, according to Management “[i]t is important to understand that no employee has privacy. The product of a faculty member is theirs, but we could never ensure privacy”- yet another staggering revelation.
After our own caucus, we stated that we did not see how continuing to negotiate a one-year contract without suspending student evaluations would benefit our members, and proposed returning to a three-year contract instead. Management suggested possibly considering a two-year contract. We agreed on two forthcoming dates: Wednesday March 17, and Monday April 5, both beginning at 2:30pm.
Graziana Ramsden, Chair (MCLA)
Irina Seceleanu, Vice Chair (Bridgewater)
Rala Diakite (Fitchburg)
Robert Donohue (Framingham)
Ben Ryterband (MassArt)
Todd Hibbert (Mass Maritime)
David Goodof (Salem)
Chris Masi (Westfield)
Sam O’Connell (Worcester)
CJ O’Donnell, MSCA President