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UMass Faculty Staff Assistance Program

 

Dear PSU Members,

At the Annual Meeting last week, we discussed whether or not to reopen the contracts. There is another effort by the MTA Higher Ed locals to get the contracts funded before reopening:

Our contract funding is stalled in the House Ways & Means Committee. It is important that you act now to move our contract forward in the funding process - or we risk not getting our contract funded this year - or at all.

Recent lobbying:

In the past months MTA higher education union leaders and members have met with many legislators to push for the funding of the MTA higher ed contracts that await action in the House Ways & Means Committee. However, the House has shown no inclination to act on these contracts. Last week, we joined MTA higher ed. union presidents in a meeting with the House Speaker's Education Director to request that the Speaker commit to funding the higher ed. contract bills this session. We are now awaiting Speaker Robert DeLeo's response and expect to hear from his office by Wednesday or Thursday of this week. Your calls to the State House this Tuesday could pressure the Speaker and Chairman Charles Murphy of the House Ways & Means Committee to act favorably on our contracts.

Tuesday, June 1st - Lobbying Day for Contract Funding:
On Tuesday, June 1st, please join MTA colleagues from the state colleges and universities in a statewide lobbying campaign to honor and fund our higher ed. contracts. Every higher ed. member is being asked to make calls to the State House to pressure legislators to move the contract funding bills out of the House Ways & Means Committee and to the House floor for a vote. Your action is desperately needed this Tuesday if we are to succeed in this lobbying effort. (If you do not receive this email in a timely way, but could make these calls on Wednesday morning, please lobby targeted legislators then.)

Make the following three calls to the State House:

  • Call your Representative:
    • Ask to talk with your representative or a legislative aide and request that the representative support the funding of our PSU/MTA contract (bundled in HB 1141 Ask your representative to contact both Chairman Murphy of the House Ways & Means Committee and Speaker DeLeo to request their support for funding our contract as well. The bill must first be voted on favorably by the House Ways & Means Committee. Then it will move to the House floor for a vote.
    • To find out who your State Representative and State Senator are, go to: www.wheredoivotema.com
    • To reach your legislator by phone, call the main State House number (617-722-2000) and ask to be connected to your legislator.
    • In addition to making this phone call, consider send an email to your representative. Related email contact information can be found at:http://www.mass.gov/legis/memmenuh.htm
  • Call Chairman Charles Murphy's office:
    • Ask the Chairman - through his legislative aide, perhaps one in charge of education policy, to support a favorable vote by the House Ways & Means Committee on the funding of our PSU/MTA contract (bundled in HB 1141). Emphasize that you want this bill acted upon ASAP and moved to the House floor, so it can be voted on this legislative session.
    • Chairman Murphy's contact information:
      • Phone: 617-722-2990
      • Email: Rep.CharlesMurphy@hwm.state.ma.us
  • Call Speaker Robert DeLeo's office:
    o Ask to speak with Education Director Tom Moreau. Indicate you would like him to ask the Speaker to commit to the funding of our PSU/MTA contract (bundled in HB 1141). Emphasize that you want our contract acted upon ASAP and would like the Speaker's support in getting this bill moved out of the House Ways & Means Committee and to the House floor, so it can be voted on favorably this legislative session.
    • Speaker DeLeo's contact information:
      • Phone: 617-722-2500
      • Email: Robert.DeLeo@state.ma.us

Communicating your message to House legislators:

  • First introduce yourself, indicating your title/type of work at a particular community college, and state that you live and vote in the representative's district. Clearly state the purpose of your call - the funding of the PSU/MTA contract bundled in HB 1141. If possible and given the time, spend a few minutes emphasizing some key points. If sent to voice mail, leave a brief, but focused message.
  • Note that it is always relevant to share why the funding of this contract is important to you (i.e. doing more with less, struggling with health insurance/care costs, impact on you and on students given the increased enrollment demands at your particular college and/or your particular work area or program).
  • Review the "Just the Facts" document if you want more background on the contract funding process to date and the relevant talking points. If given the time, some key points I would emphasize are:
  • Contracts were negotiated with full consideration given to the gravity of the state's fiscal situation. That is why the contract includes a wage freeze for an entire year and allows for only a 1 1/2 percent salary increase in the following year.
  • As state employees, we negotiate contracts with no control or consideration given to the costs of health insurance premiums, co-pays, or deductibles - all of which were greatly increased in the last two years. So, in essence, we are currently earning far less, not taking a zero year.
  • Our contract was negotiated in good faith with the assumption that once it was bargained and ratified, it would, in fact, be funded. Not to have a negotiated and ratified contract funded removes the possibility of good faith bargaining and makes a mockery of the entire collective bargaining process.
  • The governor has signed and requested that legislators fund this contract, so the next step is for the House Ways & Means Committee to act on this request. it is the moral and legal obligation of the Legislature now to act favorably on this contract funding bill.
  • Legislators all understand the importance of an educated citizenry and productive workforce to fuel the state's economy and create healthy communities. But effective public higher education, including the recruitment and retaining of quality faculty and professional staff, is not possible if the state refuses to fund the bargained contracts of those who implement our community college mission.
  • Close by thanking them.

We know this is a last minute request - on very short notice. That being said, if every PSU member who receives this message makes these calls to the State House on Tuesday - June 1st, we will be sending a very powerful message to fund these contracts. Remember this is an election year. It is important that your voices are heard by these legislators.

Please call State House leaders, and then ask a colleague to do the same. Your calls today could make the difference in funding our contracts tomorrow - or not.

As always, thank you for responding to this important political action request.

In solidarity ,

Jo Martone & Kathy Rhines
PSU Co-Chairs

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