Still no contract for UMass Amherst union workers

Hampshire County

Negotiations over union contracts at UMass in Amherst have taken nearly two years.

22News talked to both the university and workers about why negotiations are taking so long.

“We need labor to be a priority,” Vice President of Massachusetts Society of Professors Christine Turner said.

Unions at the University of Massachusetts are fighting for better working conditions for non-tenured faculty, equal pay across unions and better wages. On Friday, unions addressed the Board of Trustees about their contracts-which have been under negotiation for 18 months now.

“We’re hoping to get a contract resolution soon,” UMass spokesperson Ed Blaguszewski said.

“We all want more money for the university and we would prefer to be spending our time and energy with our students more than fighting for our contracts,” Turner said.

It is not unusual for contract negotiations to go past the end of the last contract. Both the university and employees agree investment in higher education is what helps keep the state moving forward.

Professors are frustrated they have to fight for what they say are simple changes.

“We’re focused on making the case for increased investment by the state that will advance all of those agendas and an important part of that is making sure our employees get supported so that they can continue to do the great work they are doing,” Blaguszewski said.

Union contracts are negotiated based on the amount of money the governor gives to the university in the state budget

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