Community college faculty push for contract funding

Community college faculty push for contract funding

MCCC action 

Members of the Massachusetts Community College Council statewide union are taking action to demand fair and equitable treatment from the state Legislature, which has yet to honor and fund ratified contracts that contain pay raises going back to 2021. The union also is demanding the Healey administration offer the MCCC the same raises given to other public higher education unions.

In addition to rallies in Fall River, Bedford, Lowell, Lynn and Worcester scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 1, and Thursday, Nov. 2, a delegation of MCCC members will deliver a petition to Gov. Maura Healey on Thursday. All of the actions are aimed at getting ratified contracts funded after months of delay and ensuring that MCCC members receive the same one-year contract extension and salary increase offered to other unions representing workers at UMass and the state university campuses.

“It’s frustrating to know that the money has been settled, but nobody has seen a change in their paychecks since 2020. That becomes demoralizing,” said Claudine Barnes, president of the MCCC, which represents community college faculty and staff at the state’s 15 community colleges.

Barnes is a professor at Cape Cod Community College and has repeatedly pointed out that low pay has made it difficult to attract faculty to regions with higher costs of living.

MCCC Vice President Joe Nardoni, a professor at Middlesex Community College, will bring a petition to Healey’s office on Thursday, demanding better pay and treatment for community college faculty and staff.

“It’s frustrating to know that the money has been settled, but nobody has seen a change in their paychecks since 2020. That becomes demoralizing.”

MCCC President Claudine Barnes

Nearly 6,000 people have signed the petition over the past few weeks, Nardoni said.

“Our members are angry, not only because our pay raises have been delayed amid a period of soaring inflation, but also because community college faculty are being told that our cost-of-living adjustments moving forward cannot be as generous as the ones being offered to other state employees, including those in the other sectors of public higher education,” Nardoni said. “It is not fair.”

Faculty members from other community college campuses will be joining Nardoni at the State House to deliver the petition on Thursday.

Actions at community college campuses include:

  • MCCC members at Bristol Community College have organized a campus rally set for noon Wednesday outside of the G Building, 777 Elsbree St., Fall River.
  • MCCC members at Middlesex Community College have stand-outs planned for 12:30 p.m. Thursday at the Cowan Center on the Lowell campus, 33 Kearney Square, Lowell, and on the Quad at the Bedford campus, 531 Springs Road, Bedford.
  • MCCC members at Quinsigamond Community College will have a stand-out at 1:30 p.m. Thursday outside of the entrance at 670 West Boylston St., Worcester.
  • MCCC members at North Shore Community College will hold a stand-out at 11 a.m. Thursday at the Lynn campus, 300 Broad St., Lynn.

MCCC members from across the state have voiced concern about having adequate staff to support initiatives such as MassReconnect and early college access for high school students. Using funds generated by the Fair Share Amendment passed by voters last year, MassReconnect allows people 25 and older without a college degree to attend a community college at no cost. Healey has said the state anticipates up to 8,000 people will take advantage of the program this fiscal year, and 10,000 more next fiscal year.

The MCCC is affiliated with the Massachusetts Teachers Association, which is leading the Higher Ed For All coalition dedicated to increased state funding for debt-free, high-quality, public higher education. MTA President Max Page said that the inability to deliver a fair and timely COLA to community college educators is one more reason why the Legislature needs to pass the Cherish Act, which is backed by a coalition of education, business and community leaders.

“The treatment of community college faculty and staff is shameful and needs to stop now with fair, funded contracts,” Page said. “While we fully support increasing access to public higher education, the full-time and part-time faculty and professional staff at community colleges are facing untenable workloads already. If we want to support students and educators, then the Legislature needs to pass the Cherish Act and properly invest in our public colleges and universities.”


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