Higher ed contracts included in supplemental budget

On Friday, December 28, the state Legislature sent a $62 million supplemental appropriation bill -- including contract funding for nine of MTA's higher education units --  to the governor's desk for final approval. Gov. Deval Patrick has until January 7 to sign the bill into law, which he is expected to do.

The contracts, retroactive to July 1, 2007, affect the work lives of 6,000 full- and part-time employees at the University of Massachusetts and the nine state colleges. The one-year deals include a 3 to 3.5% raise and some good contract language ranging from pro-family initiatives on campuses to varying levels of funding for members to use for professional development.

The affected public higher ed units include the Classified Staff Union at UMass-Boston; the Classified/Technical Union at UMass-Lowell; Grant and Contract Funded Employees at UMass-Lowell; the Massachusetts State College Association, which represents faculty and librarians at Bridgewater, Fitchburg, Framingham, Salem, Westfield and Worcester State Colleges, as well as the Massachusetts College of Art, the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and Massachusetts Maritime Academy; the Massachusetts Society of Professors and Faculty Staff Union at UMass-Amherst and UMass-Boston; the Massachusetts Society of Professors-Lowell at UMass-Lowell; the Maintenance/Trades Union at UMass-Lowell; the Professional Staff Union at UMass-Amherst, which includes Unit B, a group of non-exempt supervisors, and UMass-Boston; and the University Staff Association at UMass-Amherst.

Bargaining for the next round of contracts is expected to begin early this year.