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Tell President Meehan not to place the new PFML tax on the back of workers!


Dear Colleague,

While we were unable to reach an agreement at our last bargaining session, we are still bargaining over the new PFML law. We have learned that a growing number of public and private sector employers are paying the full amount of the tax. In addition, we've learned that the legislature has set up a fund to reimburse public employers for the minimum 49.5% of the tax they are required by law to pay.  This would leave UMass paying just our portion--amounting to about $4.5 million--for all its employees across the entire UMass system—something it can afford.    

The email below was sent to President Marty Meehan on Friday September 27 and it was updated Wednesday October 2 with 38 UMass Union leaders signing on. 

Please add your voice to those of the coalition bargaining team and send a letter to President Meehan, adding in your reasons for why this payroll tax should not be passed onto us.  You can use the sample language below (the sample language is followed by the original letters sent by the coalition to President Meehan).


Marlene Kim

FSU President

Professor, Economics

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Sample Language for you to send to President Meehan

Dear President Meehan,

The Paid Family and Medical Leave Law (PFML) is great for those who don’t have these benefits, but it’s a pay cut to us.  The law was intended for those without these benefits, but the employer and UMass should pay the full tax to fund these benefits.  Other state agencies are paying the full amount of the tax.  Don’t pay for this on the backs of employees and working people. 

The following letter was sent To President Meehan on October 2, 2019

Dear President Meehan, 

Please note that we have yet to receive a response to our letter from last Friday, 9/27. We have been asked by several UMass union leaders to add their names to the list of union leaders who signed the original letter, below, which expresses our opposition to the University’s plan to make UMass employees fund their own bargained benefits by deducting the PFML tax—the maximum allowed by law—starting this pay period. You have now heard opposition to the plan from every classified, professional, and faculty bargaining unit from the five UMass campuses and several of the public safety units too. We believe that you will hear similar concerns from numerous rank-and-file union members as well.

Letter Sent To President Meehan on  September 27, 2019 (with the additional signatures from UMass union leaders added):

Dear President Meehan,

We are reaching out to you to ask you to do right by your employees and instruct UMass to pay 100% of the new Paid Family and Medical Leave payroll tax. Many other public and private sector employers are taking on the full amount of this new tax, rather than passing it on as a pay cut to their employees. UMass should do the same.

As it stands, the Legislature has established a reserve to compensate state agencies for the portion of the tax that all employers are required, at a minimum, to cover for state-funded employees (49.5%). Accordingly, UMass is only facing a total cost of about $4 million a year to cover the tax for all UMass employees--something that our $3 billion budget can easily afford. Indeed, a 5% reduction in the use of consultants will more than cover this cost!

We ask you not to impose a pay cut on your workers. Instead, stand with other state employers who have not reduced their employees’ take-home pay, like the Legislature, State Auditor, State Treasurer, Secretary of the Commonwealth, and Sheriffs. Please demonstrate that you value your employees by paying the full cost of this new payroll tax.

Thank you,

Anneta Argyres, President, PSU-Boston

Sarah Bartlett, Vice President, PSU-Boston

Dennis Bruffee, PSU Unit B, UMass Amherst

Leliz Cedrone, Executive Board, SHARE/AFSCME, UMass Worcester

Henry Cornu, President, MTU, UMass Lowell

Cynthia “Cindy” Costa, President, AFSCME Local 507, UMass Dartmouth

Dr. Catharine Curran, President, Faculty Federation, AFT Local 1895, UMass Dartmouth

Heather Deirdre, USA Bargaining Team, UMass Amherst

Scott P. Fulmer, President GRACE, UMass Lowell

Mike Gagliastre, President, AFSCME Local 2616, UMass Worcester

Justin Green, President, NEPBA Local 190, UMass Amherst

Jennifer Gregg, Treasurer, DCU, UMass Boston

Joe Griffin, Treasurer, AFSCME Local 2616, UMass Worcester

Warren Hinckle, UAW Local 1596-UMB GEO Director, UMass Boston

Angelo Iaconi, Treasurer, SHARE/AFSCME, UMass Worcester

Jameal Jackson, Co-President, SHARE/AFSCME, UMass Worcester

Marlene Kim, President, FSU, UMass Boston

Verena Lisinski, Chairperson, ESU, Local 1895, MFT, UMass Dartmouth

Joe Malinowski, President, AFSCME Local 1776, UMass Amherst

Matthew Malo, President, IBPO Local 432, UMass Amherst

Leslie Marsland, President, USA, UMass Amherst

Ellen Michaud Martins, President, UAF-UAW, Local 1596, UMass Lowell

Carol C. McDonough, President, MSP Lowell

Kathy Melish, President, UAW Local 1596 (UMass Boston and Lowell)

Valerie Mount, Executive Board, SHARE/AFSCME, UMass Worcester

Miguel Neves, President, AFT Maintainers, Local 6350, UMass Dartmouth

Patricia (Bossi) O'Brien, Vice President, UAF-UAW Local 1596, UMass Lowell

James Phenix, Vice President, AFSCME Local 2616, UMass Worcester

Nicholas Piscitello, Chapter President, SEIU 888, UMass Lowell

Wilfredo Potocki, President, NEPBA Local 285 (Supervisors), UMass Boston

Le’Kecia Powell-Watkins, President NAGE Local 300, UMass Medical

Christos Protonotarios, Secretary, CTU, UMass Lowell

Janelle Quarles, President, CSU, UMass Boston

Chris Rich, Steward, AFSCME Local 2616, UMass Worcester

Thomas Shruhan, President, NEPBA Local 280 (Patrolmen), UMass Boston

Risa Silverman, Co-Chair, PSU-Amherst

Robert Talbot, Secretary, UAF-UAW, local 1596, UMass Lowell

Brad Turner, Chair, PSU JEC, Co-Chair, PSU-Amherst