August 19, 2021
The DGCE Bargaining Team met with management yesterday, August 18th to continue negotiations on a 3-year contract. We are incredibly grateful to all the silent representatives who participated at the session and supported our bargaining efforts during a very difficult session.
At the beginning of the session, management introduced a proposal for a mandatory vaccination requirement for DGCE faculty. Faculty who exclusively teach remotely and will not be on campus will not be required to comply with this policy. The proposal introduces specific dates by which DGCE faculty must be vaccinated and allows DGCE faculty to seek exemption from this vaccination requirement for medical or religious reasons. You can read the details of management’s proposal here.
Given the many concerns and questions received from our members regarding health and safety for the fall return, the union proposed several changes to its Health and Safety proposal and raised multiple questions:
- Faculty with children and immunocompromised people in their care should have the ability to request to work remotely.
- The Universities should provide regular weekly updates to the campus community with information about the positive cases on campus, number of tests performed, as well as number of medical exemptions to vaccine mandate, number of religious exemptions to vaccine mandate, and number of students with mask exemptions.
- Update mask recommendation so it aligns with current CDC recommendations.
- Ensure ventilation in classrooms meets ASHRAE standards and perform CO2 measurements to quantify ventilation rate in classrooms.
- What are specific policies on each of the 9 campuses for seeking religious exemptions from vaccination mandate?
- What are specific contract tracing policies on each of the 9 campuses?
In this same context of concern for our members’ health, the union asked management if they revised their financial proposal of 0-0-0%. Many of our DGCE faculty are non-benefited part-time members and given the recent significant cost of living increases, these stipend increases are vital for their ability to continue to afford health insurance and access to medical services and medication. Management informed us that they will agree to a 1-1-1% stipend increase, despite having offered an increase of 2.5-2-2% at the Day table the day before.
Our team explained that a financial offer that is significantly less than what was offered at the Day table sends the message that our DGCE members are less valued than our Day members. This is in the context that DGCE faculty are the lowest paid members in the system—a part-time faculty in the Day gets paid almost 30% more for teaching the same class under the Day contract than under the DGCE contract. Management’s offer does not recognize our member’s sacrifices this past year teaching under very difficult conditions during the pandemic and the difficult work ahead of us in the coming semester.
Since management made the argument that they cannot afford higher stipend increases as they must prioritize the health of the university, the union presented our best estimates for what a 2% increase to DGCE stipends would cost each university. Across all 9 state universities we estimate that a 2% stipend increase for DGCE faculty would costs a total of $618,000 given that our DGCE faculty teaching undergraduate and graduate courses generated a gross revenue of $118 million for this past academic year. This 2% increase amounts to only half a one percentage of the DGCE gross revenue, in the context that over the past two years many of the state universities experienced significant growth in their DGCE revenue (20% at Fitchburg, 16.5% at Bridgewater, 14.5% at Westfield, 7.5% at Salem).
|University||2020-2021 Gross Revenue Undergraduate & Graduate||Estimated Cost of 1% increase||Estimated Cost of 2% increase|
As we all look towards the start of another very challenging semester, the union hopes that the Presidents will recognize the incredible work of our DGCE members with a similar offer that was made only a day before at the Day table. Unlike the Day contract, where the Governor’s parameters impose restrictions on management’s financial offer, in the DGCE contract the decision for stipend increases belongs solely to the Presidents. Our team will continue to advocate for a fair financial offer at the DGCE table and raise important health and safety concerns for our members. We hope our members will be able to engage in upcoming actions to support our efforts at the DGCE table.
The DGCE Bargaining Team
Irina Seceleanu (Bridgewater), Chair
Rala Diakite (Fitchburg), Vice Chair
Robert Donohue (Framingham)
Ben Ryterband (MassArt)
Graziana Ramsden (MCLA)
Todd Hibbert (Mass Maritime)
David Goodof (Salem)
Chris Masi (Westfield)
Sam O’Connell (Worcester)
CJ O’Donnell (MSCA President)
Roberta James (MTA Field Representative)