DGCE Bargaining Update: The Presidents’ Best and Final Offer is Literally Nothing

Dear Members,

The DGCE Bargaining Team met with management on Friday, September 10th for the fifteenth time since July of 2020. In an effort to reach agreement, the union introduced a 3-year package similar to the agreement reached in the Day unit that pared down our previous proposals on the table to a minimum and thus significantly reduced the total cost of our package:

  • 2.5%-2%-2% stipend increases with 0.5% in exchange for agreeing to the PFML tax,
  • $500 covid bonus to DGCE faculty who taught between Summer 2020 and Spring 2021,
  • vaccination mandate and health and safety MOAs,
  • expunging student evaluations and classroom observations during the COVID period.

In turn, our hope was that the presidents would recognize the ongoing sacrifices of our members, many of whom are risking their health teaching in person to generate DGCE revenue for their institutions, and we can reach agreement on this pared-down 3-year proposal. Unfortunately, management rejected our 3-year bottom-line package stating that they are not willing to consider the union’s financial offer of 2.5%-2%-2% that was agreed upon last month at the Day table.

When the union tried to clarify what the presidents’ financial offer was, management equivocated, but they restated that their financial offer on the table remained at 0%-0%-0%.

Given that on numerous occasions management has stated that the universities simply cannot afford the stipend increases proposed by the union, our team also presented data showcasing the relatively low cost of the proposed 2% stipend increase in relation to the DGCE gross revenue that our members generate teaching these courses. It is worth noting that DGCE stipends paid to faculty account for only 25% of the gross revenue generated, leaving significant revenue as profits for the universities. In fact, DGCE revenue across all nine state universities has grown by 15% from $102 million in 2019-2020 to over $118 million in 2020-2021. In contrast, the proposed stipend increases of 2% for our DGCE members would only cost half of one percentage of the gross revenue in the first year and an average of roughly 1% over the course of three years. This is only 50 cents for every $100 of DGCE revenue that our members generate. At a time when our members are risking their health and overcoming significant challenges to serve our students, it is difficult to believe the presidents’ arguments that they simply cannot afford these meager stipend increases for our members, but that they still value our contributions.

Su20, Fa20, Sp 21FY2021FY 2021FY21
UniversityDGCE Gross Revenue U+GDGCE Payroll Cost% DGCE Payroll CostCost of 2% stipend increase
Mass Art$3,615,709$1,158,80032.05%$23,176Cost of the
MCLA$2,178,122$862,28239.59%$17,2462% stipend
MMA$2,116,000$1,288,01260.87%$25,760increase as
Westfield$13,259,126$2,688,28820.28%$53,766of gross
Worcester$6,711,385$3,155,19647.01%$63,104 revenue
Total$118,345,721$29,903,99225.27%$598,080Year 10.51%
$1,208,121Year 21.02%
$1,830,364Year 31.55%
3-Year Average1.02%

Given the unreconcilable differences in our financial bottom lines, the union recognized that no further progress was possible, and we will file a petition with Department of Labor Relations to enter mediation. This is the first step of the procedure when bargaining reaches impasse at the table. While the MSCA team has on multiple occasions presented data on the improved financial circumstance of the state universities and the Commonwealth as well as the relative low cost of our proposed stipend increases, we welcome the creation of the MSCA Investigative Budget Committee that will be looking at the budgets and expenditures of the nine state universities and support the committee’s fact-finding efforts.

It is also important for all of us to reflect on the bigger picture that frames this disappointing predicament in which we find ourselves. The mission of our public institutions as embraced by faculty is to bring about social justice and reduce the inequities within our communities and the Commonwealth. The presidents’ disregard at the DGCE table for the lowest paid MSCA members, many of whom have no benefits and live paycheck to paycheck, is anything but social justice. Given that stipends in the DGCE contract are roughly 30% lower than for Day part-time faculty, the presidents’ decision to perpetuate and accentuate the economic inequity between our DGCE and Day members is in stark contradiction with the ideals that our institutions supposedly espouse.

This is not social justice, and our members deserve better.

Finally, we would like to thank all the silent representatives who have supported us over the past 16 months during these challenging negotiations, including reaching out to their presidents after the unprofessional behavior directed at the bargaining chair at the August negotiation session. As this long process of impasse unfolds over the next few months, we will be relying on our members to join us as we fight for equitable pay for all our members.

In solidarity,
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)