Dear Chancellor Subbaswamy and President Meehan,
Today our unions learned that we will not be receiving the salary increases and retroactive pay that were promised to us. We had told our members to expect to see the increases in their paychecks as of this Friday (for classified staff) or December 14 (for MSP), as we were told by administrators on our campus. Workers have been waiting eighteen months for these raises. You cannot imagine how upset they are to be told that they will not have their money before the holiday.
We were patient during contract negotiations that took far too long. When you asked us to negotiate two contracts (a one-year and a two-year) we obediently agreed, and then when you asked us to merge those agreements back into a three-year contract, we did that too. We celebrated when we settled, and we were relieved when the legislature passed the supplemental budget including our raises, and Governor Baker signed the budget.
Our members earned these raises with their hard work every day for this University. They do not deserve to be treated like pawns in a strategy contest between UMass and Governor Baker. They have already waited too long. We have not had a raise since 2016, and time is up. The negotiated raises did not even meet the cost of living, as President Meehan acknowledged two years ago, and there is no excuse for not meeting the basic obligation to pay your employees what they are owed.
As always, our unions are more than happy to help advocate for increased funding for UMass — indeed, our major campaign of 2019 was intended to be the Fund Our Future effort led by MTA and other groups. But we cannot continue to advocate for funding if that funding is not used to reward staff and faculty for their hard work. The money for our retroactive pay and our raises has been allocated by the state, you promised it to us, and workers are demanding that it arrive in our paychecks before the end of 2018.
Joe Malinowski, President, AFSCME Local 1776
Leslie Marsland, President, USA/MTA
Eve Weinbaum, President, MSP/MTA
Brad Turner and Mary Malinowski, Co-chairs, PSU/MTA