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Thursday Action and Bargaining Update


Dear FSU Members,

Last Thursday, around 200 union members from the FSU, PSU, CSU, GEO, and DCU met to discuss the shared problems the unions are facing at the bargaining table and with labor relations in general.    What can you do to help?

  1. Please join us for a rally with all the campus unions!

THURSDAY, 12:30-1:30 PM


We are demonstrating in order to send a clear message to Administration that they must take bargaining and labor relations seriously and bargain with us competently and fairly.

   2.  Send the Chancellor an email!

Whether you can make the rally or not, please send the Chancellor an email -- template below in both English and Spanish.  

   3.  Read on for a bargaining update and join us for our next bargaining session on Monday, December 13th from 4-7!

(Contact FSU or Steve Striffler for registration information; before you register, please make sure you can attend at least some of the bargaining session; we reached our capacity of 30 members last time and some folks couldn’t attend since we filled up)

A riveting bargaining update is below our signature!  Thank you so much for your support – we will not settle this contract without your help!!


Core Bargaining Team              

Caroline Coscia, Senior Lecturer II, Political Science, FSU Vice President

Katie D’Urso, MTA Field Representative

Jessica Holden, Librarian III, Healey Library

Maria Mellone, Non-Reappointed (i.e., laid off) Associate Lecturer, Math

Alex Mueller, Associate Professor, English

Lorenzo Nencioli, FSU Senior Staff Member

Jason Rodriquez, Associate Professor, Sociology

Heike Schotten, Professor, Political Science

Steve Striffler, Director of the Labor Resource Center and Professor, Anthropology, FSU President

Tony Vandermeer, Senior Lecturer II, Africana Studies

Bargaining Update (just the lowlights!):

1) Admin accepted much of our proposal to modestly increase promotional raises and salary floors for faculty.  This was welcomed.  Two important caveats, however.

  • First, Admin is tying the very modest increases in promotional bumps and salary floors for librarians to a proposal to remove (from the contract) the 37.5-hour cap on their workweek.  This is outrageous given how poorly our librarians are paid, how hard they work, and how understaffed the library is.  Admin’s argument seems to be that removing the cap on their hours would more closely reflect the current reality -- that UMB librarians regularly work more than 37.5 hours per week.  The FSU is all for a contract that reflects the reality of our working conditions, but this would remove the one workload protection librarians have and effectively cement the existing status quo of excessive work within an understaffed library.  It is bad for the librarians (and the library), and is unacceptable. 
  • Second, the Administration responded to our proposal that per course rates in the summer/winter session be set at $6000 with a counter of $5100.  $5100 would also be the new per course rate during the regular academic year as well, in effect raising the salary of a full-time Associate Lecturer from $40,000 to $40,800.  This is also unacceptable. $5100 per course is not sufficient – it does not result in a livable wage. 

2) Admin continues to insist on carving merit out of already ridiculously low raises.  As a reminder, the state is proposing raises of 2%-2%-2% (with a one-time 1.5% bonus the first year).  This is below the increasing cost of living.  Originally, Admin wanted to take 1% of those raises and put it towards merit.  We rejected that, reasoning that everyone deserves a 2% raise, and countered by saying that if the Administration wanted to give merit it should do so above the state’s 2% raise.  Instead, Admin countered with .75% in merit (instead of 1%).

3) Admin rejected our proposal to modestly compensate faculty for independent studies and for the advising of Ph.D students.  Despite the fact that many departments already compensate faculty for this work, Admin did not want to create a basic floor of compensation to guarantee a degree of equity and insure that all faculty receive some compensation (in the form of CLRs accrued over time).  Admin did not see this as a problem.

4) Admin rejected our proposal to allow students of terminated employees an extra semester at the discounted rate of tuition – to allow them to continue their education without having the rug pulled out from under them.


English Version of email to Chancellor – or write your own…

Dear Chancellor,

It is time for the UMB Administration to step up to the bargaining table in order to live up to the university’s commitment to make UMass Boston a “health-promoting” university. It is time to recognize the personal sacrifices that UMB students, staff, librarians, and faculty have made to keep this university running during a pandemic. It is time for the Administration to live up to its promise to our students that UMass Boston seeks equity and social justice.

It is not too late. You can do this NOW by engaging seriously and fairly with the union’s proposals at the bargaining table. The state’s proposed pay increases demonstrate that the governor does not value our work, our time, or our lives. Until NOW, the UMB Administration has shown the same disrespect, dismissing our proposals out of hand and obstructing the progress of bargaining. IT IS TIME TO STOP WASTING OUR TIME. As a member of the FSU, I urge you to instruct the administrators in charge of bargaining to engage in fair negotiations at the table, arriving prepared to accept proposals that improve the health of our university. This means providing requested information promptly, bargaining reasonably, fairly, and efficiently, and making budgetary concessions to improve our capacity to work and live. 

UMass Boston only works because we do!

Spanish version

Estimado Sr. Rector Marcelo Suárez-Orozco: 

Me dirijo a usted en momentos clave de nuestra vida universitaria. No solo estamos en plena redefinición de la visión que nos guía como institución, sino también en el delicado ejercicio de negociación laboral entre la Administración de la Universidad de Massachusetts Boston y su personal académico, administrativo y de servicio. Es el momento para que la Administración de UMB honre el proceso de negociación y respete el compromiso de la universidad de hacer de nuestra institución, en sus propios términos, un espacio de “promoción de la buena salud.” Asimismo, es un momento crítico para reconocer, más allá de la retórica, los sacrificios que nuestros estudiantes, personal académico y administrativo y bibliotecarios han realizado para mantener las funciones de la universidad durante la pandemia. En momentos como este es fundamental que la Administración se ponga a la altura de las promesas de igualdad y justicia social que ha repetidamente hecho a la comunidad. Aún no es demasiado tarde. 

¡Es hora de la verdad! Es hora de mostrar un compromiso serio y justo con las propuestas sindicales externadas en las mesas de negociación en los últimos meses. La propuesta de aumento salarial del estado demuestra que el Gobernador no valora nuestro trabajo, nuestro tiempo, o nuestras vidas. Hasta ahora, la Administración de UMB se ha alineado con la misma falta de respeto e indiferencia hacia nuestras propuestas y ha obstruido a cada paso los procesos de negociación. 

Basta de perder el tiempo y de emplear el desgaste como estrategia. Como miembro del personal sindicalizado, lo exhorto a instruir a los administradores correspondientes sobre la necesidad de entablar un diálogo respetuoso y serio que permita procesos de negociación justos. Una condición sine qua non de lo anterior es presentarse a la mesa de negociación dispuestos a escuchar y aceptar las propuestas para mejorar la buena salud de nuestra universidad. En otros términos, los administradores deben estar dispuestos a proporcionar con prontitud la información solicitada, a negociar de manera razonada, justa y eficiente, y a hacer concesiones presupuestales para mejorar nuestras capacidades laborales y vitales. 

¡UMass Boston solo vive porque nosotros vivimos!