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Community College Educators Hope for "Fair Deal" for Holidays

They have been working without a contract since June. Members of Massachusetts Community College Council demonstrated at Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner this week in advance of the next round of negotiations on Friday. (S. McLennan)
They have been working without a contract since June. Members of Massachusetts Community College Council demonstrated at Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner this week in advance of the next round of negotiations on Friday. (S. McLennan)
December 10, 2015

BOSTON – Both sides are expected to sit down again on Friday in efforts to hammer out a new deal for thousands of faculty and staff members at community colleges in the Commonwealth.

Massachusetts Community College Council President Joe Leblanc says about 2,500 faculty and staff have been working without a contract since June.

That's why he says the union set up pickets this week to call for what members consider a fair deal with the State Board of Higher Education.

"They talk a great game about the importance of your local community colleges,” he states. “We're training the workforce of the future, training transfer students and so forth. But, when it comes to paying for it, they're coming up short. "

This is the first full contract for higher education to be negotiated under the new administration of Gov. Charlie Baker. At issue are both pay and working conditions.

LeBlanc says he remains cautiously optimistic that a new contract deal can be struck this week in time for the holidays.

LeBlanc says the state is pushing to force staff at community colleges to teach online courses. He says many teachers want to do that, but it should be a choice. Then there is the pending three-year deal covering pay.

"Every other higher-ed union across the state has received an increase of 3.5 percent,” LeBlanc points out. “As of right now, the state has been offering us 2 percent to 2.5 percent, so, that's just not right."

The talks Friday will be in Worcester.


Mike Clifford, Public News Service - MA