I am the President of the Faculty Staff Union at UMass Boston. I broke my leg this past weekend, so I wasn’t going to address you today. But I decided to appear because I wanted to tell you that UMass Boston is broken. We’ve been appearing at Board of Trustees meetings for over two years to tell you that it is broken, but we have received few resources and little help.
I want to thank Stacy D VanDeveer for his comments on the parking bargaining posted recently on the FSU blog. Professor VanDeveer’s comments provide a useful perspective on how we might approach the issue of parking as a bargaining unit. That said, in the spirit of collegial debate, I’d like to respond to the three points he makes in his post.
Marlene Kim and a few others have very generously listened to my concerns about our union’s demands that UMass students and programs subsidize faculty to drive their cars to campus. I think this is bad policy on social justice, community impact and environmental grounds. My concerns are threefold: Continue reading
I attended the FSU meeting today on parking, and the turnout was pretty light. I get it because my schedule is crazy, too, but this parking issue is too important to let our busy schedules get in the way. So in order to make sure everyone is in the loop, I am going to break it down here for everyone.
The proposal on the table from the administration is awful. The biggest problem as I see it (from a faculty perspective) is that they have removed the multi-park passes, which means that you would have to buy semester/annual passes in order to get a pre-tax discount, and many of us don’t come in enough days to make buying a semester or annual pass worth it. This means we would be stuck paying the $15/per day rate. You cannot get the tiered rate unless you purchase the semester/annual passes. This will very quickly eat up that 2% raise we just got. We need to be incentivized to come to campus, not to stay at home! I could go on and on about other issues, especially when you consider our students and their financial situations, but I will leave it at that for now.
FSU and other unions are working with the Mt. Ida community to protest this acquisition. The next opportunity to voice your concerns will be at the upcoming Board of Higher Education’s Academic Affairs Committee meeting.
This meeting will take place on Tuesday, April 24, at 9 am at One Ashburton Place, Conference Room 1 on the 21st floor. If you want to give a three minute public comment, email EQuiroz@dhe.mass.edu.
At UMass Boston, almost half of the student population comes from immigrant families and many students and staff are DREAMers with undocumented or uncertain legal status. DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and undocumented students at UMass Boston are not eligible for public sources of financial aid. Those with DACA and TPS status can pay in-state tuition rates, but immigrants without those temporary statuses are often not eligible, even if they grew up in Massachusetts. These students often take 8-10 years to complete a UMass Boston bachelor’s degree because they are paying by course. Without DACA, undocumented students are unable to acquire legal employment. Nationally, an estimated 800,000 young people have DACA status.
When President Trump declared that DACA was to terminate on March 5, 2018, I witnessed DACA students experience extreme psychological and emotional stress as they faced living in the U.S. once again without legal status or protection from deportation. As the March 5th deadline approached, federal judges ordered the Trump administration to temporarily reinstate parts of DACA, including allowing DACA recipients to renew their protected status. DREAMers, as well as our students from Haiti and El Salvador with TPS (Temporary Protected States), are living in limbo. They are a part of the fabric of our Boston communities, yet federal laws seek to exclude them.
In late January of this year, the UMass Boston administration announced parking fee increases from the current daily rate of $6 per day to $15 per day on campus and $9 per day at Bayside once the new parking garage opens. This new fee structure was adopted on the recommendations of a report by the Walker Parking Consultants.
These increases would have a devastating impact on the entire UMass Boston community, amounting to an immediate pay cut for faculty and staff and a tuition increase for students.
The FSU reached out to students, faculty, and staff to hear first-hand how increased parking fees would affect their lives and the future of UMB.
“It will be really difficult,” Professor Beckwith warned, “for students who ha[ve] already committed themselves to degree programs [and] workers who can’t immediately go somewhere else.” Consequently, “we’re going to lose a lot of students’ both now and in the future.” This is obvious to undergraduates, a well – “Some students might just have to drop out due to not being able to afford the parking,” said sophomore Mitchell Lyon.
For anyone who missed the FSU Candidate Forum on February 28th, you can watch it in its entirety below.
Missed the FSU Candidates Forum? Watch the whole thing here!Candidates for Executive Committee from left to right: Monique Fuguet (Senior Lecturer in Mathematics) – NTT Faculty Representative; Joseph Brown (Assistant Professor of Political Science) – Pre-Tenure Faculty Representative; Steve Striffler (Director of Labor Resource Center, Professor of Anthropology) – Candidate for FSU President; Tim Sieber (Professor of Anthropology) – Tenured Faculty Representative; Marlene Kim (Professor of Economics) – Candidate for Reelection for FSU President; Jeff Melnick (Professor of American Studies) – Tenured Faculty Representative; George Kelley (Senior Lecturer in the College of Management) – NTT Faculty Representative
Posted by UMass Boston Faculty Staff Union on Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Almost one month ago, the Group Insurance Commission (GIC) voted to drastically limit the health care plan options to both current and retired public employees.
The Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA) immediately announced it would hold an emergency meeting, and urged members to speak at GIC public hearings in Boston, Lowell, Cape Cod, and other locations, send comments to the GIC online, and to attend a Senate Committee on Ways & Means hearing regarding this issue.
Now, thanks to the organization and rapid response of the MTA and others who helped in this fight, including members of the public, state representatives, and more, the GIC has voted to undo their disastrous decision.
This is a great victory not just for the public employees who don’t have to worry about losing their health care plans, but for anyone who cares about such major decisions being open to public debate. That, after all, was what shocked so many, the secrecy surrounding the initial vote.
Thankfully, the GIC seems to have gotten the message. As Melvin Kleckner noted, “I don’t think it takes a political expert to conclude our process was flawed.”
But whether or not the GIC decides to use a “flawed process” (i.e., deliberately try to prevent the public from having time to voice their concerns) in the future, the MTA has proved that they, along with other unions and everyone who cares about people having access to health care, will always be ready to defend our state’s public employees.