The Massachusetts Society of Professors (MSP) is the union representing over 1400 faculty and librarians on the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus. The MSP was founded in the 1970s after the faculty and librarians suffered through several years of frozen salaries, deteriorating working conditions, and uncaring or incompetent administrators. A majority of faculty and librarians voted to form a union, together with our sister chapter, the Faculty Staff Union (FSU) representing the faculty and librarians on the Boston campus. Since that time, there have been many changes to our bargaining unit, and MSP now includes all non-tenure-track faculty, full-time and part-time faculty and librarians. We have also won many new benefits through decades of activism and collective bargaining, including paid parental leave, a flexible sabbatical bank, promotions to Senior Lecturer and Senior Lecturer II, paid family and medical leave, and many more.
State & National Affiliations
MASSACHUSETTS TEACHERS ASSOCIATION
On the state level, the MSP is affiliated with the Massachusetts Teachers Association. MTA is the largest union in Massachusetts with over 100,000 members (about 14,000 in higher education) and we are considered one of MTA's locals. MTA's members are in every town of the state; therefore the union has a lot of political clout with state government. MTA provides MSP/FSU with a consultant who assists with planning, bargaining and grievances. 2 of MSP’s own members serve on the MTA board and each May, the MSP sends between 20-28 delegates to MTA’s Annual Meeting where the MTA budget and policy issues are debated and voted on. In addition to plugging our local union into a powerful state-wide network, MTA also provides member benefits and discounts which can be found on the MTA Member Benefits page.
NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION
On the national level, we are affiliated with the National Education Association. NEA is the largest union in the country and plays an important role in debates around national education policy. One of MSP's members serves as an NEA Board Member representing the state of Massachusetts. In addition to valuable educators liability insurance, the NEA also offers their members a wide range of NEA benefit and discount programs.
Dean Robinson on the importance of MTA and NEA affiliations [Watch on Vimeo]
JOINT COORDINATING COMMITTEE (JCC) BYLAWS
The JCC is the legal entity that associates the MSP and the FSU (Faculty Staff Union) into one local union that spans two campuses: UMass Amherst and UMass Boston. The JCC is the body that bargains and submits our collective bargaining agreements for ratification, formulates and implements policies and programs of the local, and determines whether or not to submit grievances to outside arbitrations. MSP and FSU share JCC expenses including our shared bookkeeper, annual audits, payroll services, and arbitration costs.
Although the MSP and FSU are affiliated with the JCC, the MSP runs its day-to-day affairs independently of FSU in order to ensure that the faculty and librarians on the Amherst campus receive representation best suited to their needs. MSP has its own bylaws to govern our organization on our campus.
MSP’s Co-Presidents, Vice Presidents, Secretary, and Treasurer make up the Executive Committee, informally known as MSP officers. They set the agenda for the Executive Board, evaluate priorities and plans, and oversee the MSP budget and operations. MSP officers are elected by the membership at the spring General Assembly membership meeting. Officers meet separately from the Executive Board during alternate weeks on Wednesday from 8:45 - 10:00 a.m. The Executive Committee also meets with the Chancellor and Provost once a month to discuss important issues raised by faculty and librarians. Officers serve two-year terms.
Labor Center/Sociology, Thompson Hall, 7-0458
Computer Science, Computer Science Bldg, 5-3061
Collection Services, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, 7-1026
History, Herter Hall, 5-6776
TECS, Furcolo Hall, 5-9392
English, South College, 5-5495
Communication Disorders, Communication Disorders Building #315, 5-4007
Educational Policy, Research and Admin, Furcolo Hall, 7-3148
The MSP Executive Board is the decision-making body of the union. Executive Board members are elected at the spring General Assembly membership meeting. Meetings are held every two weeks on Wednesday from 8:45 - 10:00 a.m. Board members serve three-year terms.
English, South College, 5-5518
Economics, Crotty Hall, 5-6329
Research & Learning Svcs, Libraries
Electrical & Computer Engineering, Knowles, 5-0401
Biology, Morrill 3, 5-2599
Labor Center/Sociology, Thompson Hall, 5-0577
History of Art & Architecture, South College, 5-8712
Afro-American Studies, New Africa House, 5-2751
Music and Dance, Fine Arts Center
Sociology, Thompson Hall
Chemical Engineering, Life Sciences Lab
Political Science, Thompson Hall, 5-0406
English, South College
Biology, Morrill III South, 5-2775
History, Herter Hall, 5-2751
Math & Stats, LGRT, 5-0999
History, Herter Hall
Department Representatives and Activists
The MSP Department Reps and Activists are the first line of communication between what is happening in departments and the union. We rely on Reps and Activists to bring to the MSP issues that matter to faculty and librarians, while also letting our members know what the union is planning and how members can be involved. Department Reps and Activists help MSP advance our mission as a social justice union to fight for more than just bread-and-butter issues, and to be engaged and involved in issues affecting our students and our community.
Contact the MSP Office for information on current department reps or if you are interested in representing MSP in your department.
Contract Bargaining Team and Support Committees
Every three years, the MSP elects a Contract Bargaining Team to negotiate the successor collective bargaining agreement. This small group of faculty and librarians sits across the table from the administration, negotiates, and discusses any proposed changes to the contract. At the same time, Bargaining Support Committees are responsible for working on specific issues, formulating bargaining proposals, and mobilizing people to support our positions.
The Contract Bargaining Team for the 2023-2026 contract in alphabetical order, consists of: Kate Hudson (College of Education), Marc Liberatore (CICS), Lori Reardon (MSP Senior Staff), Sigrid Schmalzer (History/HFA), Brendan Sharkey (MTA) and Jeremy Smith (Libraries).
Several faculty members serve as Faculty Advocates. Formerly known as the Grievance Committee, this group works closely with individual faculty who are experiencing problems or trying to avoid potential problems in the workplace. Faculty Advocates often accompany our colleagues to meetings, strategize about resolving concerns, and serve as liaisons with the MSP to support our members.
If assistance is needed, the MSP will pair members up with a Faculty Advocate. Current Faculty Advocates are: Luke Bouvier (French and Italian), Erik Cheries (Psychological and Brain Sciences), Steve Eyles (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology), Josh Michal (Music and Dance), Emily Hamilton (History), Kate Hudson (Educational Policy, Research & Administration), Melanie Radik (Libraries) and Caroline Yang (English).
Brendan is our MTA Consultant assigned to represent MSP. He assists our local with contract language enforcement through both informal and formal processes and connects us to important MTA initiatives.
MSP Senior Staff
Lori assists and informs individual bargaining unit members regarding a wide range of issues related to their rights, benefits and working conditions under the union contract. She works with UMass administrators to enforce contracts and resolve issues informally. She also sits at the bargaining table and serves as a resource in MSP contract negotiations and campaigns. Lori coordinates and facilitates workshops for members (tenure, promotion, personnel committee, PMYR, etc.) and is an invaluable resource for any tenure related questions.
Brian recruits new members and union activists in order to build and strengthen the union. He works on organizing initiatives and coordinates member outreach during campaigns. He conducts new employee union orientations and assists new and current employees with membership questions and concerns. Brian also meets with and helps problem-solve workplace issues for MSP’s non-tenure track faculty members and provides staff support to MSP leaders responsible for union governance.
MSP Membership Coordinator
Alisa maintains and updates the union’s membership records. She processes payroll deductions in coordination with HR and acts as the liaison between MSP and MTA with regard to collection of member dues/fees. Alisa assists members with questions and issues specific to invoices, payroll deduction and membership status.
Executive Board Minutes
Minutes from meetings of the Executive Board are posted once the Board approves the minutes.
1/29/2020: Bargaining updates, higher education conference debrief, department visits, lobby day, retiree program, Western Mass labor union legislative breakfast, Cherish Act trivia night, MSP 45th celebration
11/6/19: Updates on PFML bargaining, UWW impact bargaining, anomaly/pay equity committee and new MSP budget items; uncollectibles, departments co-sponsoring events, faculty transition to retirement workshop
10/2/19: Amendment to MSP donation policy, bargaining update, bargaining committees, reports from dept meetings and organizing plans, plan for joint dept. rep and board meeting, the MSP Connection, retiree membership program
9/26/2018: Contract updates (funding, anomaly process, labor management committees), political agenda and MTA legislative priorities, role of board members and department reps, All-in organizing, department visits