Dear USA members,
There has been much talk about Governor Romney's re-organization plans for higher Ed and what this could
mean for the University. I have been working very closely with Bob Whalen our MTA Representative as well
as the leadership of MTA and higher Ed to try to figure this all out. We still have many more questions
than we do answers but we have received some information that I will pass along at the end of this
message. I encourage all of you to attend tomorrow's Annual Meeting for the USA at noon
in CC 168C where Bob and I will try to fill you all in. If you can not attend please send a
representative from your department so that someone can update you. If you have any questions or
concerns please bring them there tomorrow and we will try to address them. We are working on handouts
for the membership that will hopefully make some sense out of all of this. So I hope to see many of you
there because these issues we face could have a severe impact on us. As always please feel free to
contact me if you cannot make tomorrow's meeting.
The following is one piece of information we have:
IMPACT OF ROMNEY FY04 BUDGET ON USA MEMBERS
Below is a brief summary of how Governor Romney's FY04 budget proposal will impact the USA. I have also
included a brief summary of some very important K-12 issues.
I. Higher Education Funding and Reorganization
Romney has proposed increasing state-employee's share of their health insurance premiums to 25%!!!
PLEASE NOTE: His proposal is VERY different from the battle we have fought in the past on the 85/15.
Romney's proposal is that the Commonwealth will only pay UP TO 75% OF THE CHEAPEST INDIVIDUAL PLAN
- you will pay the rest so it could be much greater than 25%, especially if you have the family indemnity
plan (one estimate is that some employees could pay 50%).
The Higher Education budget has been cut at least $156 million more!!!
Reorganization: The Romney administration has proposed a dramatic restructuring of the Massachusetts
public higher education system. Details are sparse, but here is what we know.
- The University of Massachusetts-system will be dismantled.
- The University of Massachusetts-Amherst will become a separate and distinct entity - The Flagship.
The only University of Massachusetts. The campus will retain all tuition and fees (currently the campus
retains only fees; tuition is sent to the Commonwealth and appropriated).
- The Amherst campus will be expected to increase the student population by 15,000 more students.
- The Romney administration has stated that Amherst will be "privatized." Peter Nessen, the designated
Secretary of Education (a new Cabinet-level position), vehemently denies it is privatization but our
Kerry Murphy-Healy has stated that it will be "privatized" at some point in the future.
- The University will continue to get an appropriation which, according to Nessen, will NOT be reduced
over time like the other public higher education institutions that will be privatized.
- Tuition and Fees will rise initially by $838 (15%) for In-State students; $3,217 (22%) for
- Allegedly, more financial aid will be available to ensure affordability - what is not clear is if
this aid is in the form of loans (which means steeper debt) or scholarship. Most likely loans.
- UMass-Boston, Dartmouth, and Lowell will no longer be part of the system. They will come under the
Regionalization component of the Reorganization Plan. It is believed they will be called the University
of Boston, University of Dartmouth and University of Lowell.
- Six (6) institutions will be merged into three (3).
- Holyoke Community College and Greenfield Community College - under new name
- Mass.College of Liberal Arts and Berkshire Community College - under new name
- Fitchburg State College and Mt. Wachusett Community College - under new name
- The UMass Medical School, MassArt and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy will become state-assisted
institutions. Eventually losing all funding from the State to be essentially private institutions.
Tuitions will reflect market rates at comparable institutions.
- The remaining institutions (excluding Amherst) will be Regionalized.
- New Regional Councils will be created to deal with the institutions in its Region.
- All schools will retain their own Board of Trustees, the Chair to sit on the Regional Council.
- The Regional Councils will have local business leaders, K-12 representatives and community members.
The role of the Regional Council to align the schools with the economic needs of the region (sounds more
like trade school than a college)
The Romney Administration has only provided the broad outlines of this reorganization plan. The detailed
plan will be released probably in late-April/early-May. Due to a procedural maneuver, the Romney
Administration has forced the Legislature to take only a "yes" or "no" vote on the plan. It can not be
amended or changed - it's all or nothing. (By the way, this plan was developed by a group of Romney's
Bain Business Consultants. The MTA, through the Higher Education Leadership Council is submitted an
information request for any and all information used by the Bain, and its report to the Governor).
II. Collective Bargaining Law
Romney has proposed some radical changes to G.L. c. 150E that essentially gut your employee rights.
- Definition of "Managerial Employee" and "Supervisory Employee": One change would be to re-define
these two terms in such a broad way that many union members would lose their rights to bargain at all.
"Managerial employees," under 150E, are employees that can not organize into a union. The current
definition is limited in scope and really only applies to high level administrators. The new definition
would be extremely broad. The Governor's proposal adds, for the first time, the term "supervisory
employee" and excludes them from collective bargaining.
SEIU and MSP would really feel the impact of this change.
Many USA members could very likely lose their bargaining unit status because of the supervisory
components of their jobs.
- Subjects of Negotiation: Romney has proposed a radical change that will gut what we can bargain over.
Public sector unions will be able to bargain only about wages, hours and working conditions. Current
language allows us to bargain over "wages, hours, standards of productivity and performance, and any
other terms and conditions of employment (for K-12 that includes class size and work load)."
- Romney's proposal specifically excludes the following bargaining issues - what he calls "inherent
managerial rights" which include "the right"
- to direct, appoint and employ employees and determine the standards for hiring (Article 17 of the USA
contract would be null and void);
- to discharge and terminate employees (Article 26 - just cause);
- (- the only rights employee's retain to challenge a termination are state and federal statutory
rights - discrimination, whistleblower laws, union activity.)
- (- unions could include grievance and arbitration procedures (Article 27) in a contract but can
challenge a termination only for the above reasons.)
- to plan and determine the levels of service provided by the employer;
- to direct, supervise, control and evaluate the departments, units, and programs of the employer; to
classify positions and ascribe the duties and standards of productivity (Articles 20, 21, 29)
- to develop and determine levels of staffing and training (Articles 17B, 17C, 19, 22, 24A);
- to determine whether goods or services should be made, leased, contracted for, or purchased on either
a temporary or permanent basis (Articles 17, 18) -
- to assign and apportion overtime (Article 8); AND
- no employer shall collectively bargain over "any rights related to the seniority or longevity of
employees." (Articles 8, 9 - sick leave buy back, 11 - more vacation for more years of service, 14 -
salary schedules, 17, 22, 23)
- Romney has also proposed - repeal of the Pacheco Law (privatization protections)
- elimination of Civil Service protections
Romney vowed to hold K-12 harmless in the FY04 budgetyou decide!!!
- Local Aid was actually cut deeper than first thought once money shifted from other places is pulled out;
- Transportation aid to towns for buses was eliminated; for Regional School Districts it was cut in
half (meaning schools may turn to parents);
- Kindergarten Development grants were ELIMINATED;
- Early Literacy Program funds - ELIMINATED;
- Breakfast/Lunch Program funds - ELIMINATED;
- Class Size reduction funds - ELIMINATED;
- Early Childhood Education funds - ELIMINATED.
In the coming weeks, the USA and MTA will be providing you with more details and information as we get
it. We are developing a strategy and will keep all of our members posted on what they can do. This
assault affects all 99,000 of our members. You can also go to the MTA website (www.massteacher.org) where
there will be daily updates.
PLEASE REMEMBER: This is the beginning of the budget process. We have the power, if we all work
together, to influence what happens with Romney's proposals. BUT WE WILL ALL NEED TO WORK TOGETHER.
We know that all USA members are frustrated, having fought for our contracts for almost three (3) years
(not to mention the substantial budget reductions), but we will win that fight AND this is a fight we
definitely can and WILL WIN!!! Your fundamental rights as a state employee and the future of
accessible/affordable public higher education depend on it. INACTION IS OUR ENEMY!!
If people ask how we can ask the state to provide us with more funding when social services are in dire
straits, just tell them that the state can do both. The solution is simple
MASSACHUSETTS MUST RAISE REVENUES!!!
Donna Johnson, President, USA
Jim Plaza, Vice President, USA
Linda Hillenbrand, Vice President-Elect, USA
Robert E. Whalen, Consultant, MTA