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.

And let’s not forget the eight women laid-off from the Early Learning Center this summer, some of whom are also among PSU’s most senior members. It seems quite clear that the administration has targeted those with greater years of service, and in PSU’s case, women in particular.

In the wake of these layoffs, we are also learning of new efforts to privatize the work formerly done by UMass Boston employees, starting with the Early Learning Center and moving to University Health Services and the Facilities Department. This is right in line with the privatizing prejudices of our Board of Trustees, University President and Governor, and it lends a new, more sinister meaning to Barry Mills’ recent phrase “UMass Boston’s mission of transformation.”

We don’t yet know what steps if any the administration has taken to address the concerns widely raised about UMass Boston’s bloated upper-level administration. But we do know that while these devastating staff cuts were being planned, new positions were found for upper-level administrators from Keith Motley’s office, new administrators have appeared on campus, and spending on highly-paid consultants has continued unabated.

So we must ask:  is the purpose of these cuts to save money, or is it to restructure UMB around new priorities—and new people? Far from signaling that UMass Boston has turned a corner, these targeted layoffs and the evidence of increasing privatization are unmistakable signs that we are headed in the wrong direction. They may balance our books, but we should all be ashamed of the results.

It has long been a November UMB tradition to celebrate our staff and faculty with the “Years of Service” awards. Instead, that tradition has been mocked with the devastation of coworkers’ and friends’ lives who together have given over 433 years of service to our community—that’s 433 years dedicated to the recruitment and retention of our unique student body and to all the services which enable their education.

And attention must be paid:  not just to the service and dedication of both the unit and non-unit staff singled out for layoff, but to the fact that so many are so close yet so far from an earned retirement; to the obvious targeting of people of a certain age; to the gender dynamic. Some of us thought we were better than this; some of us believe we used to be better than this.

If you share our outrage, please join us on Wednesday, November 29th at One Beacon St. from 8:15 to 9:45 am, where the Administration and Finance Committee of the UMass Board of Trustees will be meeting. Join us in demanding that they use a fraction of their plentiful reserves to reverse these layoffs. If only the Board were as serious about sustaining our diversity flagship campus as it is about imposing discipline, it could easily avert this crisis.