President’s Message: May 17, 2024

Hello APA Members,

I wanted to provide an update on negotiations. Our Executive Board has been working hard and putting in a lot of long hours drafting proposals for language changes to our contract. These proposals are a direct response to the survey results and issues that were identified as the most important. thanks to responses from more than a third of our members, as well as issues that have been brought to our attention from grievances and institutional issues at the nine campuses we have more than 12 proposals that are either ready to be presented or are well through their second drafts. Please remember to thank your Chapter Presidents for all their hard work and time and efforts.

We have met with Management representatives, once to establish ground rules and once to begin presenting proposals. The Management negotiation team has presented three proposals that the APA bargaining team has responded to by providing our revisions. The APA bargaining team also presented three proposals,and are ready to present several more in our next meeting. As proposals are being presented and bargained, we will keep you up to date on our progress and we may reach out for your support in the near future.

Our Silent Representatives have gone through their training, and are ready to play a key role of adding more eyes and ears to our bargaining team. Having Silent Representatives in attendance shows the power of union solidarity and holds management teams accountable for their words and behavior;, so we are excited to see how they can benefit the APA as we embark on the first negotiations in several years that will address language changes. As you may remember, we did use silent representatives the last time we bargained, but because it was an extension contract and not a full bargaining session, we did not get a chance to see what their full impact would be. If you are one of our Silent Representatives, thank you and we are grateful for your service and presence in negotiations.

Last year’s contract funding delays brought to the forefront another issue that the APA and other higher education unions have been struggling with for years – expedited contract funding. I’m pleased to report that the Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA) Higher Education Leadership Council (HELC), composed of the leaders of the higher education unions of the MTA, have made it one of their goals to address the process of contract funding. HELC had MTA’s
legal division explored ways to put union contract funding outside the legislative process, but found it to be a solution that required too many constitutional amendments to be productive. Other promising options that HELC and MTA are still looking into will be having the governor allocate a reserve fund within the executive branch budget to fund the contracts immediately after ratification, and then have the legislative process reimburse that budget line as part of their process. Another option is to have the legislature create budgetary bills that only include union contract funding and no other funding to keep them moving. These are ideas and the details are being figured out, but I find it promising that the MTA is finally moving forward to help higher education with finding ways to get our contracts funded faster.

I will provide more updates as contract negotiations continue and we need action from our membership. We are working on getting grants from the MTA for organizing funds, in case we need to hold informational pickets and organize, should our bargaining team encounter larger issues along the way . If you have ideas on actions and materials that can be used for those activities, please let me or your local Chapter President know.

In Solidarity,
Seth Bean, APA State-wide President.