We are grateful for Jillian Poland’s clear reporting of this two-year contract struggle in your recent, excellent news article covering the MSCA Council of Presidents (COP) bargaining.
On Feb. 20 we went back to bargaining; it has been 780 days since we have had a raise, and 599 days without a funded contract.
The COP, including FSU President Javier Cevallos, didn’t honor the contract they signed with faculty and librarians last year. We were forced to return to bargaining. This time, we elected open bargaining so that members can see for themselves what happens in the process described last week by The Gatepost.
FSU Chemistry Professor Steve Cok was an observer from FSU at our six-hour bargaining session at Worcester State. Because we, as union officers on the bargaining team, have spent more hours than we can count in bargaining, we asked Dr. Cok to share what he saw.
He said: “I noticed that it doesn’t seem like [the COP’s representatives] have the authority to make the decisions. I didn’t expect that each little dialogue [about each side’s proposals] would be so short: the COP had 11 people led by an attorney, and the union had 12 people led by a professor from Salem State. Most of the time, the teams were away from the negotiating table.”
He added, “When the COP went away to discuss proposals, they came back after the caucus but just had the same response they had before it. It was ‘no’ to compromises offered by the MSCA about pay for work we do. ‘Oh, but here’s a one-time $250 to make up for it.’”
Cok said, “I saw our [faculty] side come up with multiple pieces to work with. True, some of the bargaining issues are difficult to work with because of how different the nine campuses under the contract are. And yet, the COP had a one-line equation to calculate the cost as they attempted to make claims about their denials of our compromise positions.”
…and the meeting ended without agreement. We meet again on March 4. Anyone who wants more updates can visit www.mscaunion.org.
Robert Donohue / Professor of Psychology and vice president of the MSCA
Virginia Rutter / Professor of Sociology and FSU chapter president of MSCA