News: Press Releases

September 3, 2015

President Meehan announces funding of UMass labor contracts

Says new academic year should begin with “a clean slate” and “total focus” on students and mission of service to the Commonwealth

BOSTON -- Sept. 3, 2015: President Marty Meehan today announced plans to fund UMass labor contracts, saying the University needs to begin the new academic year “with a clean slate and with harmony restored to the labor environment.”

“The University of Massachusetts is moving forward on every front and faculty and staff are at the heart of the success we are enjoying. We need to begin the new academic year with a total focus on our students and our mission of service to the Commonwealth,” President Meehan said.

President Meehan has authorized the retroactive funding of $10.9 million in collectively bargained salary increases affecting 6,500 faculty and staff across the UMass system. The increases at issue were agreed to but not fully implemented in Fiscal Year 2015 because the parties differed on whether specific funding from the state was required before the increases could be transmitted.

“After meeting with legislative leaders and members of the administration, I feel confident that state government recognizes the need to fund this obligation,” President Meehan said.

UMass establishes contracts with its unionized workforce after receiving negotiating instructions from the state. The current three-year contract calling for annual 3.5 percent salary increases was based on salary directives UMass received from the Patrick administration. Last year was the first year in a three-year contract cycle, and the University has historically received specific funding to cover the cost of the first year of a new contract, as called for under Chapter 150E of state law. The state did approve $2.2 million of the $13.1 million needed to cover the first-year cost of the increases, leaving $10.9 million as a point of contention.

“We are continuing to seek state funding for the cost of these contracts and are hopeful that the Legislature and Governor will approve funding in the upcoming supplemental budget bill. We have made our case for the need for additional funding and know that the Legislature and Governor share our commitment to quality and affordability,” President Meehan added.

In addition to the retroactive funding, UMass is moving forward with funding the second year of the contracts.

President Meehan said he was pleased to have the labor situation resolved, and added: “I understand the frustration that faculty and staff have felt about this situation and appreciate their patience, as well as the efforts they make every day on behalf of our students and University. Everyone connected with the University of Massachusetts – students, faculty, staff, alumni, administrators and trustees – share the same goal of unrivalled excellence, and we pursue this goal more effectively when we work in partnership and harmony.”

 

Contact: Robert P. Connolly, 617-287-7073