Madeloni to address UMass trustees

Outraged by regressive bargaining proposals, leaders from several unions representing faculty and staff across the University of Massachusetts system have demanded to be heard at the UMass Board of Trustees meeting, which is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 17.

“From instructors and maintenance workers to clerical staff and administrators, we’ve heard a consistent message from those negotiating successor contracts, namely that UMass is attempting to reduce benefits and alter long-standing policies and practices while at the same time leveling threats that if contracts are not settled quickly, workers will lose money,” explained Barbara Madeloni, president of the 110,000-member Massachusetts Teachers Association. “This is not only outrageous on its face but very troubling at a deeper level.

“These collective proposals would destabilize the UMass system by devaluing and demoralizing the people working daily with students,” Madeloni continued. “We need contracts that reflect the true value of the work UMass faculty and staff do on behalf of the students.”

Madeloni is scheduled to speak before the Board of Trustees, along with representatives from MTA-affiliated unions representing professional and office staff, faculty and librarians in the UMass system. The meeting is scheduled for the University of Massachusetts Lowell Inn & Conference Center, 50 Warren St., Lowell.

In addition to the five speakers the Board of Trustees is allowing, members of other MTA affiliates, as well as faculty and staff represented by the American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts, the United Auto Workers and AFSCME, will be at the meeting. The workers represent campuses in Amherst, Boston, Lowell and Dartmouth.

“All of the employee unions have been getting versions of the runaround, with blame for these cuts shifted among various sources,” Madeloni said. “We decided that it was best to speak to the trustees in a unified voice to let them know that no matter what the source of these misguided ideas is, we need to see a more serious investment in the UMass system.”

As faculty and staff air their concerns before the trustees, members of the UMass Unions United coalition will be delivering a petition signed by those supporting their contract campaigns to the chancellor’s office.

Five employee unions on the Amherst campus formed the coalition in response to bargaining proposals made there. They have already held one demonstration to emphasize the theme, “We will not concede to greed.”

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