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Fixing the Faulty Foundations of UMass Boston’s Budget Cuts

In part one of this series on UMass Boston’s budget crisis, we reviewed the causes of this deficit. Now, we’ll look at the various ways the FSU has been fighting these cuts by working with our sister unions, the Classified and Professional Staff Unions (CSU and PSU) and our state affiliate, Massachusetts Teachers Association, and offering alternative solutions that wouldn’t hurt the students, faculty, and staff.

In April 2017, over 200 protestors came together outside the Board of Trustees meeting at UMB to protest the cuts. FSU President Marlene Kim spoke to the Trustees, telling them how the cuts were harming students and faculty, and that CAPS courses were being cancelled that summer which many students needed to graduate. UMass system President Marty Meehan told the Trustees that they had no intention of cutting these courses, since they were profitable. But they were wrong: CAPS courses had been cut, without their knowledge. The courses were reinstated that afternoon.

The FSU wrote a petition to protest these cuts, the lack of faculty input, and the lack of transparency in the budget cutting process. This petition garnered over 500 signatures and was presented to the Trustees at this April meeting and to Interim Chancellor Barry Mills. We also put out a call to faculty to report to us any problems in their departments  that resulted from these cuts. The FSU reported these problems to the administration so they could be resolved…but they were not, and the administration continues to insist there have been no problems affecting students or faculty whatsoever.

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The FSU Stands with the PSU and CSU on 11/29/17

The FSU is concerned about the cuts to the staff and stands in support of our UMass Boston coworkers who have been hit with layoffs. Let’s show our solidarity and be there to back the PSU and CSU at the Board of Trustees’ Administration and Finance Committee meeting on November 29 at 8:15 at One Beacon Street. If you can come, please RSVP to this site:  http://tinyurl.com/NovSolidarity

Below is content from a PSU email with information on the recent layoffs and upcoming action:

Last week our campus administration delivered a body blow to our UMB community, laying off numerous dedicated employees—both union and non-union—who have many, many years of service.

Here are a few facts about both the classified and professional unit layoffs:

  •        The average years of service of classified staff slated for layoff is 15.5;
  •        The most senior person on the CSU layoff list has 37.5 years of service;
  •        Employees on PSU’s layoff list have over 24, 26, 32, 34, and 35 years of service;
  •        61% of PSU members being laid off have 15+ years seniority, while only 31% of PSU’s bargaining unit has that much seniority;
  •        84.6% of PSU members being laid off are women, while women make up 62.8% of the PSU bargaining unit.

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Upcoming Action – 11/29/17 Protest to Protect Our Campus from Cuts We Can’t Afford

The Classified and Professional Staff Unions will be protesting these cuts at the Board of Trustees’ Administration and Finance meeting (1 Beacon Street from 8:15 to 9:45 a.m.) on Wednesday, November 29.

We hope you’ll be able to join to show your support.

 

Understanding the Faulty Foundations of UMass Boston’s Budget Cuts

The administration has cut faculty, staff, and classes. The FSU is concerned that these cuts threaten the educational mission of our university and has been working on campus to mitigate this outcome.  This two-part blog will examine the cause of the deficit, what the union has been doing about these cuts, and how you can help.

Barry Mills, in a recent November 9 email to the UMass campus community, stated that the deficit was caused in part by the cost of substructure-related construction projects.  Why?  Because back in the 1970s, when McKee/Berger/Mansueto (MBM) was contracted to build the substructure upon which the UMass campus rests, rather than creating a solid foundation, MBM was so negligent and irresponsible that an engineering report in the mid-90s determined the substructure below all UMass campus buildings were in “imminent danger of collapse.”

Temporary fixes like repairing expansion joints, propping up wooden supports, filling potholes – none of these changed the fact that the substructure was a danger to the entire campus. Fire trucks can’t even drive onto the campus plaza due to the risk of falling through. The danger was deemed so great that the substructure — which used to serve as our campus parking facility — was shut down in 2006. Also, because the substructure houses campus utilities like electricity, air conditioning, water, and heat, the utilities must be moved, adding even more to the overall cost of repairs – costs which the UMB campus is being forced to pay.

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Welcome to the UMass Boston Faculty Staff Union Blog

Welcome to the new FSU Blog! We have launched this blog as a more flexible alternative to our newsletter. Instead of waiting for a newsletter in your campus mailbox twice a year, you can now visit our blog to find up-to-date posts several times a month. We believe that this is a more effective way to inform and build active membership.

You can look forward to reading posts about the budget crisis, contract issues, FSU initiatives, member activism, the workings of the grievance process, union struggles and victories beyond our campus, analysis of news coverage, profiles of members, Q&A with union leaders, and much more.

This blog is managed by the FSU Communications Committee. The Communications Committee encourages member involvement. Please email us at fsunionblog@gmail.com if you would like to get involved with the blog, have an idea for a post, or want to submit a guest post.

 

In solidarity,

Members of the FSU Communication Committee: Tina Mullins (chair), Sofya Aptekar, Linda Liu, Marlene Kim

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