On November 6th Salem State University notified the MSCA and sent notice to MSCA librarians and full-time faculty that it was unilaterally implementing three weeks of furloughs. President Keenan believes he has the right to unilaterally implement furlough because the MSCA Board of Directors (unanimously) rejected his request to bargain furloughs.
The MSCA and MTA believe that Keenan’s unilateral implementation of furloughs is illegal and we have filed an unfair labor practice (ULP) charge with the Massachusetts Department of Labor Relations (DLR).
It’s not clear how quickly the DLR will address the charge, but the MSCA has advised SSU librarians and full-time faculty not to fill out the furlough forms at this time. We will have further guidance in advance of the university’s November 30 deadline for submitting your form.
Salem State University has continued to pile on its debt while simultaneously adding more and more senior administrators. All the while MSCA members had advised against this. The administration has made poor financial decisions for many years and now they want employees to pay for their mistakes.
The MSCA did respond to President Keenan’s request for MSCA members to serve on his “A Sustainable Path Forward” task force. In early October the MSCA provided President Keenan with the names of MSCA members to serve on this task force. The task force’s charge is:
“To recommend an innovative, comprehensive, cohesive and affordable plan for reorganization and operational change.”
You should know that one of the reasons Salem State University has been raising furloughs as an issue since the spring was the anticipated 10% (or more) decrease state appropriation this fiscal year.
This fall, more than 1,100 MSCA members wrote to the legislators. We were able to convince Governor Baker to level-fund public higher education as he submitted a revised budget on October 14th.
President Keenan thanked us by announcing faculty and librarian furloughs on November 6th.
We were able to convince the Massachusetts House of Representatives to level-fund public higher education. They passed a level-funding budget on November 12th.
The Massachusetts Senate has now proposed a level-funding higher education budget.
There will be no cut is state appropriations to public higher education in FY 2021, and there may be federal stimulus money for the states early in 2021.
COVID-19 is an excuse.
We will be calling on MSCA members at all nine universities to push-back on President Keenan’s illegal action. Please look for communications from your chapter president.