The MSP is an activist union. When problems come up on campus, we mobilize our members to speak up, and we work together to find solutions. We know that our strength is in our collective action and our strong membership. We fight for “bread-and-butter” contractual issues including salary and benefits, and we also work on social justice issues that are important to our members.
Faculty and librarians are committed to our students and the wider community, and we work to make UMass the best university it can be. To that end, we advocate for public higher education at the state and national level. The MSP is committed to:
- Defending academic freedom
- Protecting faculty governance and peer review
- Standing in support of quality public education and accessible and affordable public higher education
- Supporting our immigrant communities and protecting vulnerable groups
- Upholding a planet-friendly, healthy environment for workers
- Promoting equity and fairness on campus and beyond
- Creating a transparent and democratic MTA union
If there is an issue that aligns with MSP's values that you would like to work on and think MSP should be a part of, contact the office to talk about starting a new campaign.
2023-2026 Sucessor Contract Bargaining
We had our first bargaining session for our successor contract on February 3rd, 2023. MSP's team, 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). Both teams (MSP and the Administration) have committed to meet every other week until a deal is done. One of our goals is to strive to achieve a fair and reasonable settlement in a timely fashion and MSP will use the power of our strong union membership to bring our members to the table to speak on particular issues when needed.
Latest Bargaing Update
Your MSP bargaining team met with the administration’s team on March 3, 2023 for our third session. As a reminder, we are Kate Hudson, College of Education; Marc Liberatore, CICS; Lori Reardon, MSP Senior Staff; Sigrid Schmalzer, History; Brendan Sharkey, MTA; and Jeremy Smith, Libraries. The administration’s bargaining team includes: Michelle Budig, Office of Faculty Development/Sociology; Michael Eagen, Provost’s Office; Ann Kostek, Human Resources; Kristen Gibbons, Provost’s Office; Barbara Krauthamer, Dean, HFA; Jocelyn Tedisky, Provost’s Office; and Mark Tuominen, Associate Dean, CNS.
At that meeting, we put the remainder of our substantive proposals on the table. Our proposals are organized around three major themes: (i) Pay, benefits, and equity; (ii) Climate justice; and (iii) Online and multimodal teaching and workload.
i. We hold to the principle that the University must fairly and competitively compensate all its workers. Base wages must rise to account for recent inflationary pressures, as must salary floors and promotional increments; merit raises ought to be available for excellent work; and other benefits should improve to make work more tenable, to bring us into line with our peers across the country, and to preserve UMass Amherst’s position as a leader and flagship institution.
ii. We believe that we share with the administration the goal of reducing UMass’s net carbon emissions, and forging an institution that is responsible and sustainable in its operations. UMass should improve green transit options, including better support of the PVTA and bicycle commuters. We should also close the campus during the natural lulls of Thanksgiving week and at the end of the calendar year.
iii. High-quality online teaching is a significant effort, especially if done concurrently with traditional in-person instruction. The administration must appropriately recognize and compensate faculty who engage in this work.
For more details on our proposals, please visit https://umassmsp.org/site/assets/files/1269/2023-2026_bargaining_themes_principles.pdf.
Getting our proposals on the table is just the first step in negotiations – we’ll keep you posted as things progress, but we’ll need your help in winning at the table! Please get in touch if you have testimony and expertise you can share with the team and at the table. We’ll be calling on the membership to drive home to the administration the importance of our agenda!
Contract Bargaining Update Archive
Bargaining udpates will be archived here.
Kathleen Lugosch and Christine Turner on Bargaining [Watch on Vimeo]
Climate and Environmental Justice
UMass Amherst Environmental and Social Action Movement (ESAM)
The MSP is engaged in climate justice work through a multi-union effort to address the climate crisis. As union members and workers we aim to leverage our power to bargain with the administration around climate justice proposals which support the campus goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2032 including good union job opportunities. The multi-union group has several goals to achieve broad support for climate justice bargaining proposals, including:
- Educating ourselves as members across unions
- Reaching out to students and inspiring action
- Building alliances with other campus and community groups
- Participating in bargaining on climate justice proposals
In Spring of 2021, the multi-union group linked arms with students to form the UMass Amherst Environmental and Social Action Movement (ESAM). For more information please contact Madeleine Charney, chairperson, MSP Climate Justice Committee at email@example.com.
Why is climate a labor issue?
By making climate a labor issue, we ensure that the inevitable transition to a low carbon economy takes into account the well being of affected workers. Our aim for a "just transition" means a fair process that does not cost any workers or community residents their health, environment, pay or benefits. At the same time, the very future of a livable planet is at stake; it is critical that powerful organizations like unions successfully work with employers to dramatically decrease their institution’s carbon footprint.
On October 14, 2021 ESAM hosted a Community Forum on Climate Change. There was a panel discussion on climate change, environmental justice and local initiatives for change featuring speakers who are unions organizers, students, local activists and Native American leaders. You can view the recording.
On June 22, 2021, 174 UMass Amherst employees attended an all-union member meeting joined by undergraduate and graduate students. The focus was sharing PSU, USA and MSP bargaining proposals that support and expand on the campus’ drive to be carbon neutral by 2032. The union proposals address remote work, additional campus closure days, incentives to reduce driving, retrofitting and green renovations of campus buildings, and more efficient heating and cooling across campus.
UMass Climate Justice Resources
- MSP Member Madeleine Charney on the radio discussing union sustainability proposals with Max Page (MTA VP and MSP member) starting at 32:45
- Presentation by Madeleine Charney to MSP members at 4/29/21 General Assembly giving overview the climate justice campaign
- Carbon Mitigation Questions and Answers from the Carbon Mitigation Task Force
- Summary of Carbon Mitigation planning to Campus Leadership Council
- Video detailing UMass Amherst Carbon Mitigation plan overview
100% Membership (All In)
Over 90% of UMass Amherst full-time faculty and librarians are members of the MSP, but we want everyone to be a part of our union. The MTA is launching a statewide “All In” campaign, and the MSP is working to get 100% of faculty and librarians to join us. The goal of “All In” is to build the power we need to win the gains we believe are most important for our students and ourselves.
We need the support of everyone to reach out to our colleagues in colleges, departments, and programs all across campus. This campaign is a lot of fun – it involves social activities and getting to know your colleagues on other parts of campus. Contact the MSP office if you are willing to speak to your colleagues about the union and for more information about how how you can help with the campaign.
Funding for Public Education
On a per-student basis, state support for public higher education in Massachusetts is fully one third less than it was in 2001. The impact of this chronic underfunding is felt by students, faculty and staff. The MSP is deeply committed to championing public higher education and fighting to secure more funding for our Universities.
MSP members have been active fighting for funding for public higher education through the Fund Our Future campaign and PHENOM.
Fund Our Future
The Fund Our Future initiative is an MTA led coalition effort to increase funding for public education. Through the Fund Our Future campaign, our members have worked with educators and students across the state to put pressure on our legislators by educating the public, testifying at advocacy days and attending demonstrations.
In 2007 MSP helped found PHENOM, the Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts. PHENOM is a statewide advocacy coalition and grassroots network uniting students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members from all 29 campuses in the Massachusetts college and university system.
PHENOM is fighting to restore state funding for public higher education and to stand up for excellence for faculty, staff, and students alike. PHENOM works statewide, but also through individual campus councils, including a campus chapter at UMass Amherst.
We need your help in the fight for funding! If you want to join the Fund Our Future campaign or PHENOM contact Emily Steelhammer in the MSP office.
We join you in grieving the murder of George Floyd and the many other Black victims of police brutality. At the same time, we are inspired to witness the mass mobilizations of peaceful demonstrators who are calling for profound and lasting change. MSP activists are participating actively in anti-racism work alongside K-12 teachers in the Massachusetts Teachers Association and with our sisters and brothers in the diverse unions represented in the Western Mass Area Labor Federation. [Please read MSP's full 6/5/2020 statement on racial justice that was sent to our membership.]
On 9/9/2020, The MSP organized and co-sponsored a panel, Labor and the Movement for Black Lives: Intersections of Economic and Racial Justice. This panel featured short presentations by MSP members and UMass Amherst scholars and local union members, followed by a discussion with the audience. Facilitated by Asheesh Siddique (Assistant Professor of History), panelists included: Dean Robinson (Professor of Political Science), Ethel Everett (Western Mass Area Labor Federation and SEIU member), Brian Sargent (Assistant Professor of Sociology), Youngmin Yi (Assistant Professor of Sociology), Toussaint Losier (Assistant Professor of African American Studies) and Kevin Young (Associate Professor of History).
Labor and the Movement for Black Lives: Intersections of Economic and Racial Justice [Watch on Vimeo]
The MSP was also a proud co-sponsor of “Perspectives on Covid-19 and Anti-Asian Bias and Xenophobia”. On 9/23/2020 Members of the University of Massachusetts and surrounding Amherst area community participated in a discussion and Q&A titled “Perspectives on Covid-19 and Anti-Asian Bias and Xenophobia”. Watch the two hour event, including the Q&A.
Please contact the MSP office if you are interested in participating in union-led anti-racism efforts.
Section 60 Transfer from ORP to SERS
Labor Solidarity and Coalition Work
An injury to one is an injury to all. The labor movement is based on the idea that we are stronger together. When we stand up for others, it isn’t because we are kind or selfless, but just the opposite: collective action is in our own self-interest. We become stronger by lifting up others, and the next time we need help we will know where to turn. MSP is active in several coalitions with other unions and organizations around the state. We are a key part of at least four labor coalitions:
UMass Unions United (UUU)
UMass Unions United is a coalition of the labor unions mostly affiliated with the Massachusetts Teachers Association at UMass Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, and Lowell. Recently the coalition has been planning actions to put pressure on both the Governor's office and the UMass President's office to settle good contracts.
The UMass Amherst Labor Coalition
On the Amherst campus, MSP is part of the Amherst chapter of the UMass Unions United. Our local Amherst Labor Coalition consists of all the unions on our campus, including: Professional Staff Union, University Staff Association, GEO/United Auto Workers 2322 and AFSCME 1776. The Coalition meets about once a month to discuss issues our members are facing and how we can support each other.
Western Massachusetts Area Labor Federation (WMALF)
The Western Massachusetts Area Labor Federation represents unions in the Pioneer Valley and Berkshires. They provide support for local unions and other organizations advocating for workers' rights. We plan to work with the WMALF and with the Massachusetts AFL-CIO on media and political/legislative advocacy work as well.
Massachusetts Jobs With Justice (JWJ)
Massachusetts Jobs with Justice is a coalition of community, faith, and labor groups in Massachusetts organizing working people and allies to fight for the rights of all workers: locally, nationally, and internationally. MSP is a Mass JWJ member organization.
State Employee Labor Coalition
The coalition of state employees, including the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), National Association of Government Employees (NAGE), Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) and others who represent state workers meets and plans unions' strategies to work with the governor's office to improve the salary parameters offered to state employees. This group also discusses state policies that affect state workers, including changes to the GIC health insurance plans, and political campaigns.
The MSP works with and supports many community groups and organizations doing important social, political and labor work. Some of the organizations we support are:
- Climate Action Now of Western Massachusetts (CAN) - CAN is dedicated to building a powerful climate justice movement in our region. We see this movement as essential to preventing climate catastrophe.
- Mass Divest - Mass Divest is a coalition demanding that the Massachusetts Pension Fund stop funding climate disruption by divesting from its holdings in fossil fuels.
- Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance (MEJA) - MEJA consists of students, parents, educators, community and union members who stand in support of universal, free public education. MTA is a major supporter of MEJA.
- Massachusetts Jobs With Justice (JWJ) - JWJ connects labor, community, student, and faith-based organizations and activists to mobilize around workplace and community social justice campaigns.
- Massachusetts Safe Communities Coalition - The Safe Communities Act would protect the civil rights of all state residents by making sure our tax dollars are not used to deport immigrant families or to create a Muslim registry.
- Pioneer Valley Workers Center (PVWC) - The PVWC builds power with low-wage and immigrant workers, especially food service and farm workers in Western Massachusetts. PVWC holds trainings for workers and activists, and organizes the Sanctuary in the Streets network for immigrants’ rights.
- Raise Up Massachusetts (RUM) - Raise up Massachusetts is a grassroots coalition of community organizations, religious groups, and labor unions committed to building an economy that works for all of us. RUM is focusing on passing legislation providing paid leave, a $15 minimum wage and the Fair Share Amendment.
- Science for the People (SftP): Western Massachusetts - Science for the People is an organization dedicated to building a social movement around progressive and radical perspectives on science and society. SftP is STEM workers, educators, and activists who believe that science can be a positive force for humanity and the planet.
- US Labor Against the War (USLAW) - USLAW is the organized voice within the labor movement fighting for peace and new priorities, to secure human needs and to demilitarize U.S. foreign policy.