UMass union leaders received a letter of support from the UMass Amherst Department of Environmental Conservation Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.
“We stand in solidarity with all UMass Amherst staff members impacted by recent layoffs and furloughs related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”
The committee urged that furloughs be used only as a last resort, for UMass administration to apply furloughs equitably across all workers, and for UMass Administration to negotiate in good faith and provide increased transparency.
Dear Faculty and Staff Union Representatives,
As members of the Department of Environmental Conservation (ECo) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, we are writing to express our disappointment with the recent staff furloughs. We would further like to express our unwavering support and sincere gratitude to all ECo and broader UMass Amherst staff members who are an integral part of our community. We stand in solidarity with all UMass Amherst staff members impacted by recent layoffs and furloughs related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
We recognize the unprecedented challenges facing UMass Amherst and thank everyone, including undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty, staff, and administrators, for their commitment to our community. That said, we hope that financial actions impacting any member of our community are considered only as an absolute last resort.
To the extent that furloughs to UMass employees are a necessary step to maintaining financial solvency, we ask the following from the UMass administration:
- Increased transparency and improved communication as to why furloughs are occurring rather than other potential financial actions.
- Distribution of furloughs equitably across all UMass employees: faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students. If we are one community, then we must face the economic challenges of the pandemic together. Furloughs and salary cuts should be scaled with annual earnings (similar to the US tax system) such that the most vulnerable in our community do not carry a disproportionate amount of the financial burden.
- Commitment to negotiate in good faith with all UMass unions and to engage in community forums and discussions on any furloughs or layoffs. Importantly, we ask the administration to share with the community evidence that it has exhausted all viable alternative financial actions before choosing to layoff or furlough any individual.
Thank you for your valuable time, effort, and devotion to UMass Amherst and our shared community during these unprecedented times. We recognize the sacrifices made to guide us through the ongoing pandemic. We look forward to working with you to build a more just and equitable community now and in the future.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Toni Lyn Morelli, Faculty Representative, ECo Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee
Kadambari Devarajan, Graduate Representative, ECo DEI Committee
Dorian Kos, Undergraduate Representative, ECo DEI Committee
Dipa Lamsal, Undergraduate Representative, ECo DEI Committee
Olivia Lukacic, Graduate Representative, ECo DEI Committee
Armand Martinez, Undergraduate Representative, ECo DEI Committee
Desiree Narango, Postdoctoral Representative, ECo DEI Committee