MCCC fights ‘unfair’ contract demands
Members take action in response to proposals for ‘numerous takebacks’
By Scott McLennan
F ull-time faculty and staff members represented by the Massachusetts Community
College Council have begun job
actions and protests at the state’s
15 community colleges in response
to contract negotiations that union
leaders decry as disrespectful in tone
and disappointing in content.
“I’m perplexed,” said MCCC
President Joe LeBlanc. “Everyone says
how great we are and how important
the community colleges are for the
state, but when it comes to showing that
respect during bargaining or putting
Twelve months ago, the MCCC
Day Unit representing full-time faculty
and staff made a formal request to
bargain a three-year successor contract
with the colleges and the state Board
of Higher Education. But it took
several more months for the colleges
to start meeting with the MCCC
MCCC bargaining team Chair
Claudine Barnes characterized
the negotiations as atypical and
unfortunate. She blamed the BHE and
the college representatives at the table.
“This has been unfair to our
members and to students. They are
forcing us into job actions. Their
proposals have numerous takebacks
and it’s a lousy monetary package,”
The BHE and college presidents
are offering smaller raises than those
seen in recently settled contracts for
faculty and staff members at the state
universities and on University of
Equally troubling are proposals by
the colleges that strip away professional
judgment, change the faculty tenure
process to include student outcomes and
weaken workers’ rights.
LeBlanc and Barnes described the
package offered as straining the day
unit and forcing out part-time workers
while creating an environment that will
make it more difficult to attract highly
qualified full-time employees.
“Why are they pushing us on
student outcomes? That is completely
unheard of in higher ed,” LeBlanc said.
“Is it because they want us to be more
like the local high school? I hope not.”
As MTA Today went to press,
MCCC members on most of the
community college campuses had
voted to adopt work-to-rule actions
in response to the proposals, and the
remaining campus chapters were
scheduling votes on actions.
Under work to rule, MCCC
members withdraw from all voluntary
work and adhere strictly to the
guidelines of the existing contract.
MCCC members have also
been speaking out at meetings of
campus boards of trustees about their
frustrations over the current round of
bargaining and have been carrying signs
demanding a fair contract at stand-outs
held when state officials were visiting.
MCCC members on all campuses are
wearing buttons and stickers designed
to raise awareness of the contract issue.
Barnes said the demonstrations
and member actions are having an
impact. On some campuses, she
said, the actions have led to alliances
between the MCCC and students,
as well as between the union and
members of the boards.
“Even when there was just a threat
of actions taking place, management
pulled some of the bad proposals off
of the table,” Barnes said. “I think
this is teaching newer members —
and reminding all members — of
the need for collective action and the
importance of solidarity.”
‘Even when there was just a threat of actions
taking place, management pulled some of the
bad proposals off of the table. I think this is
teaching newer members — and reminding all
members — of the need for collective action
and the importance of solidarity.’
— MCCC bargaining team Chair Claudine Barnes
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