On February 16th, Governor Baker updated the priority list for Phases 1 and 2 of the vaccination rollout to include workers on college campuses in custodial services, food services, transportation services and retail. We are happy that as a result of the pressure exerted by us, our friends and families, some of our colleagues in AFSCME and APA will be rightfully prioritized in these phases.
While we applaud the governor for including the above higher education employees in the updated plan, the safety and health needs of faculty and librarians and most of APA and AFSCME employees continue to be ignored. Faculty, librarians and staff who do not qualify for vaccination based on age or certain medical conditions are still relegated to Phase 3, with a vague promise that “Faculty and staff who are working with students on a daily basis, but do not fall into Phase 1 or Phase 2, will be included as a priority group in Phase 3.” While Phase 3 is scheduled to begin in April – which is overly optimistic given the status of the rollout currently – it is simply too late. It is especially inexcusable to leave out many of our faculty who teach in person now and are exposed daily to the risks of COVID-19. We need access to vaccines now!
Faculty and librarians were left out of the priority groups in these updated guidelines, but this latest change shows that our efforts are making a difference. Please sign the petition here if you have not done so already and share it with your family and friends. Please also consider signing up to write an op-ed here that MSCA and MTA will help publish in local newspapers. We need to continue to put pressure on Governor Baker to make sure that ALL higher ed employees, along with our preK-12 colleagues, are included in Phase 2.
Irina Seceleanu & Aruna Krishnamurthy,
MSCA Organizing and Unity Leaders