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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Open Letter to Students

September 7, 2004

Dear Students: To the new students who are just joining the UMass Boston community, we welcome you. To returning students, we welcome you back. We, the Classified Staff, are the first UMB employees you meet upon entering the campus. We answer your telephone calls and questions, register you in your courses, process your financial aid packages, arrange for your classrooms and course materials, and provide an enormous amount of academic, administrative, technical, and physical plant maintenance support to all university departments. We are also the lowest paid employees on this campus and the only employees in the UMass system whose contract has not been funded. In January of this year, Governor Romney returned our contract refusing to fund it, even though the contracts of the other 13,000 system-wide public higher education employees had already been honored. Romney deemed the $700,000 needed to cover our raises as “too expensive.” Before classes ended in May students provided us with over 520 letters protesting the fact that our contract has gone unfunded since July 1, 2001. Students also helped us protest when President Wilson got a huge salary increase of $91,000. Unfortunately, our situation has not changed. As of today (9/7/04), we have been 1,345 days without a pay raise. Our last pay raise was in January 2001. At this time, we are asking each of you to join us in the fight to right this wrong. We need to increase public awareness of our plight and in recent weeks have had some success. We placed a full-page ad in the Metro Newspaper. An article by Alissa Johnson in the Dorchester Community News showcased the unfairness of the Governor’s treatment of the lowest paid public university employees. We have lobbied the State House a number of times, in person, via telephone calls, and e-mails. Recently we demonstrated at the Democratic National Convention events that were held on the UMB campus. On August 4th, members of the classified staff attended the Board of Trustees meeting where Natalie Crawford-Smith, a classified staff member, was granted three minutes to persuade the Trustees to fund our contract. Members have given up their personal and vacation time to attend many of these events. Since mid-June, we have had a daily visibility picket line from 12:00-1:30 at the entrance of the campus trying to raise public awareness. On August 12th, Channel 4’s Dan Rea gave a live broadcast of our picketing and interviewed Shauna Manning, a classified staff member. The news clip aired live at 12:00 noon and again on the 4:00 news. That news clip will be playing on the university television monitors throughout the campus. Please watch it as a reminder that we still need your support.

As you know Romney is no friend to public higher education. He would like to increase tuition and fees until poorer students can’t afford to attend our great university. This is a public institution and as such should remain affordable and accessible to all. The purpose of our campus is to provide quality higher education to the surrounding urban areas. Please stand with us against this tyranny directed at the people who are the backbone of this university. We want fairness and justice for the lowest paid workers at UMass Boston. You, the students, have been affected with increases in fees.

Staff and faculty working conditions are student learning conditions. Please join us on our daily picket line at the end of University Drive and Morrissey Blvd. Help us pass out flyers. Contact the Governor at 617-725-4005 x7 and x8 and tell him to fund the UMass Boston Classified Staff Contract. Contact President Wilson 617-287-7000 and tell him to fund the UMass Boston Classified Staff Contract. Sincerely,UMass Boston’s Classified Staff

In A Nutshell Our Situation Is:

* UMass Boston and the University’s Classified staff AGREED to a contract covering 7-/01/01 thru 6/30/04.* We have NOT RECEIVED any of the salary increases provided for in this contract.* Governor Romney has REFUSED to forward our contract to the legislature for funding.* The Legislature has taken NO ACTION to rectify this situation.* UMass Boston’s lowest paid workers have not received a pay raise in over 3 YEARS.* Cost of rent, taxes, gas, home heating, medical plans, medical care, food, clothing, parking have all INCREASED.

We Want Our Contract Funded Now!