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Massachusetts Society of Professors

The Union of Faculty and Librarians at UMass Amherst

Collective action works! Victory after raises held hostage!

Late in the evening on 11/29/18 after a day of many phone calls, social media posts and emails to President Meehan, the MSP was notified that "The president and chancellors decided today to authorize the FY18 and FY19 salary adjustments and retroactive payments for the fourteen approved state-funded units."  

We were told that MSP members would get our long-awaited raises and retroactive pay in our December 14 paycheck.  On 11/28/18 the MSP board learned that was not happening.  Although our contracts were passed, signed, authorized, and fully funded by the legislature, the UMass administration was not paying the money that was allocated to us, or any workers on campus.  We were so frustrated and we knew that you were outraged too.  We were promised that everyone would have their money by the end of the calendar year, and we asked everyone to take action to make that happen. 

For more information on what happened with our raises and our campaign to get them paid:

The UMass President's office was saying that the Governor's office has not provided full funding for all three years of the contract.  As in the past, the legislature passed a supplemental budget in October that contains the first year of funding.  (The legislature can't cover more than one year because they don't have the right to direct future legislatures to allocate funds.  Instead, they fund the first year, and then that increase is rolled into the UMass budget going forward, so the money is there.)  In addition, the Governor's original budget last spring included a collective bargaining reserve that covered one year of the raises.  So UMass has the money.  It is clear that the administration was trying to use the unions' collective power to get the Baker administration to provide additional funds for UMass.  While we always support the effort to increase state funding, this is NOT the way to do it.  Our contracts were ratified in June and funded in October and signed by the Governor.  Everyone has done their part and the money has been allocated by the state.  UMass cannot refuse to pay us.

MSP, in coalition with the other UMass unions, considered taking certain actions to try to fix this, in addition to the call-in on Thursday 11/29/18:

-- Campus labor leaders meeting to plan a joint strategy, and sending an immediate message to Chancellor Subbaswamy and President Meehan demanding that they release the funds they have.

-- We considered legal charges if we do not get paid immediately.

-- We considered plans for the following week, which may include walk-ins to demand answers from our administrators, boycotting all administrative committees, demonstrations, sit-ins, civil disobedience, or even withholding grades if we have no answers by the end of the semester.