MTA calls UMass cuts and job losses ‘destructive’

MTA calls UMass cuts and job losses ‘destructive’

The Massachusetts Teachers Association is condemning the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees and President Marty Meehan for passing a budget that would eliminate approximately 2,000 positions and furlough more than 3,000 workers.

“Research shows that investing in public higher education is one of the best ways to lessen the short-term impact of an economic crisis."

MTA President Merrie Najimy

The trustees voted at their July 20 meeting to cut 6 percent of UMass’s full-time equivalent workforce and vastly expand furloughs across the system’s campuses.

“This misguided plan will be a blow to our students, our communities and the families of hardworking public employees, as well as the employees themselves,” said MTA President Merrie Najimy. “The members of the MTA will fight these cuts and demand from the federal and state governments the funding that our public schools and colleges need. Our members are the protectors of our campuses. We will not allow a disconnected Board of Trustees to do irreparable harm to the essential institutions that are our public colleges and universities.”

The MTA supports a progressive tax plan that targets highly profitable corporations and extremely wealthy investors in order to raise the revenues the state needs. The union is also calling for the federal government to provide the resources necessary to support public education.

“It is utterly nonsensical and indeed destructive to cut jobs and programs on our UMass campuses,” said MTA Vice President Max Page. “The UMass Board of Trustees took steps today that will weaken UMass and shut down opportunities that people desperately need if our Commonwealth is to succeed and help working families. Rather than fighting alongside the MTA and its 18,000 higher education members, the UMass president and the Board of Trustees have chosen to rush into slashing campus budgets – instead of doing their job of defending our university.”

MTA leaders were critical of the UMass trustees and Meehan for not advocating for the public university system, which is a key economic driver in the state.

“Research shows that investing in public higher education is one of the best ways to lessen the short-term impact of an economic crisis and provide long-term recovery tools when compared to other types of community investments and public spending,” Najimy said.