The four UMass campuses united at the December 4, 2017 Board of Trustees’ meeting in Lowell.
Tom Goodkind, President of the Professional Staff Union, and Janelle Quareles, President of the Classified Staff Union, excoriated the Board for absolving themselves of all responsibility for approving UMB’s construction plans that have slid UMB into debt and prompted budget cuts that risk destroying UMass’s “diversity flagship campus”. They also emphasized how the Trustee’s actions have led to dedicated UMB employees losing their jobs. What’s particularly galling is that many of these former employees are near retirement-age and unlikely to obtain other jobs in the future.
The Lowell adjunct faculty has suffered as well from low pay and a lack of healthcare benefits. In fact, UMass Lowell is notably the only campus in the UMass system that does not provide adjuncts health care benefits. Communication Director of the UMass Lowell Union of Adjunct Faculty (part of the United Auto Workers Local 1596) Teresa George pilloried the Board for their treatment of these adjuncts, which has resulted in faculty members dying from preventable causes. Forty adjuncts attended the meeting in solidarity, holdings signs demanding “Adjunct Justice” during her talk.