Faculty Union at UMass Accepts One-Year Pay Freeze
By Steve Kolowich - Chronicle of Higher Education
February 25, 2009
The union of faculty members and librarians on the University of Massachusetts’ campuses in Amherst and in Boston has reached a tentative agreement on a contract that includes a one-year moratorium on salary increases.
Officials of the union, the Massachusetts Society of Professors, said they hoped the agreement, reached on Friday, would persuade the UMass Board of Trustees not to raise fees for students. The board’s finance committee recommended on Friday that the trustees raise fees by $1,500.
While the union consented to the pay freeze in order to “prevent layoffs and program cuts on campuses,” according to Randall Phillis, its president, other union leaders voiced reservations about how the university had reacted to the budget crunch.
The trustees’ finance committee recommended the fee increase “despite protests that the federal money just approved by Congress in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act could restore funding” to the same level as in the last fiscal year, the union said in a news release.
The release went on to quote a vice president of the union, Dan Clawson, as saying, “Even if the federal money is only available for two years, it still represents two years in which UMass families won’t have to struggle to cover extra payments. The enactment of a premature fee increase when it may not yet be necessary stiffs students and their families.”
The contract stipulates that, following the 2009 freeze, the salaries for unionized workers on the two campuses will increase 1.5 percent in 2010, then 3.5 percent in 2011 and in 2012.