COVID 19 Updates
A Message from the President
Dear Statewide Members;
As we near the “opening”, such as it is, of our campuses for the beginning of the Fall Semester, I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the herculean efforts made by the APA workforce to keep our campuses rolling toward reopening successfully. It’s been an extraordinary six months.
Who could have known that the state college and university campuses could be transformed from brick and mortar institutions to online universities in, what amounted to, a week? If we had attempted to plan this transition, it would have taken YEARS.
Let’s acknowledge that much of the credit for the success of this massive endeavor belongs to you. Without employees, who were willing to give up dining rooms, dens and kitchens to office space, this epic change could not have been achieved. Keeping the faith that employees could somehow head home, set up an office, watch children, plan home school curriculums, care for elderly parents or chronically ill family members, prepare three meals per day and still – somehow – achieve some semblance of a work day – fulfilling their duties and responsibilities as required, was a tough sell. We all have to marvel at what was accomplished.
Your work ethic, institutional loyalty, concern for students and colleagues, and extra commitment in time and effort has been amazing. This has been a really hard time for our colleges and Universities – as it has been for you. There is no doubt that sacrifices will have to be made. At UMass, some of the Community Colleges and at Salem State, employees have had to endure layoffs and furloughs. The Salem State employees were gracious and generous in their support of each other and their institution. They deserve much credit for caring about the University’s future success, but most poignantly, for their commitment that no jobs would be lost and that the burden would be shared.
I don’t think we could be more proud of our union members in this very challenging year. Your performance has demonstrated that telework is a truly workable option for the workplace. You’ve shown the administration how flexible and responsible our membership can be in tenuous times. You’ve assured that our institutions will survive – no matter what it takes. Thank you.
While we applaud you for all that you have done, it is important to take some time to care for you. The stress of being engulfed by work and family responsibility, as well as very legitimate fears about health and safety can take a toll. Some of you are still trying to use personal time and vacation time before one or the other expires or gets rolled over to sick leave accrual. Please, please make an effort to take some time to refresh.
If the stress of these difficult days is getting to you, remember that as a state employee, you have access to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
If returning to work safely is a concern for you or your family, contact your HR department and explain your circumstances. If you do not find satisfaction in these conversations, enlist the help of your local or state APA officers. We’re here to help.
Finally, welcome back to the school year. Hopefully, we will inch our way back to what we all recognize as ‘normal’. Until then, be safe and healthy. Take pride in what you can and will do in your workday. Know that you are appreciated!
With sincere best wishes from the APA Executive Board,
Statewide APA President
Fitchburg State Local Chapter President