MSCA Board of Directors Message on the Day Contract Struggle

December 9, 2018

Dear MSCA Librarians and Day Faculty,

Tomorrow, December 10, 2018, the Department of Labor Relations (DLR) will conduct an in-person investigation of the unfair labor practice charge brought by the union (on behalf of the faculty and librarians) against the Board of Higher Education (BHE), our employer of record under the law, for failure to submit our signed contract to the governor within 30 days.  The BHE, as far as we know, still has not submitted our contract to the governor.

Around the state, some university presidents are sending out various claims of “support” at the eleventh hour.  Though we are pleased that they have at last decided to publicly encourage Commissioner Santiago to follow the law, we remind you of the following:

  • The union has been asking the presidents for this public support for months. Their support comes days before the DLR hearing into the BHE’s illegal behavior.
  • The BHE has refused to meet its legal obligation to submit our contract and funding request to the governor for 116 days (the contract was fully executed in mid-July).
  • MSCA librarians and day faculty have not had a funded contract for 526 days (the previous contract expired June 30, 2017).
  • MSCA librarians and day faculty have not had a salary increase in 709 days (the last raise was on January 1, 2017.)

There are many unanswered questions, and this reminds us that our struggles are not over yet.

The presidents have had the ability to streamline the process and uphold the agreement they made to the faculty and librarians when they allowed the commissioner to sign the contract. The presidents can increase the equivalencies, under existing contact language, NOW.

The presidents can end a year of bitterness and alleviate our members’ sense of the presidents’ bad faith. They can promote the well-being of our students by supporting the increased equivalencies.  Unless and until the increased equivalencies are in place, statements supporting the ratified contract by the presidents are insincere, at best.

What exactly are equivalencies?  Mainly they are those teaching activities that are associated with “high impact practices” – and student-centered education.  These activities include laboratory instruction, studio, critique, internship and cooperative learning experiences, student teaching and nursing clinical supervision – the hands-on, practical experiences the BHE and the presidents brag about – but that they apparently value less than lectures and seminars.

Faculty teaching these activities are required to work more than one hour to receive an hour of pay.  For this academic year and next academic year only – faculty teaching these activities would not be required to work extra hours.  Equitable compensation is what the state university presidents agreed to at the bargaining table.

Some campuses are already implementing the new equivalencies fully.  Other campuses are currently implementing some of the new equivalencies.  We hope all presidents will help retain our confidence in them by fully implementing the new equivalencies, now.  The presidents must to do better – honor their word.

The spring semester is around the corner.  The presidents are solely responsible for the labor-management campus climate that we will experience in the spring.  Claims that they cannot solve this problem are disingenuous.

Solidarity among librarians and faculty prevented management take-backs during bargaining. Solidarity while the BHE violated the law is causing the presidents to publicly support the contract.

We hope that continued solidarity will help the presidents see that implementing the new equivalencies, now, is the best solution for the students, faculty, librarians and presidents.  Let’s finish this and move on.  Bargaining on a new contract begins in just over a year.

MSCA Board of Directors