Dear APA Members,
By now you are fully aware that the funding for 2017-2020 APA Agreement is stalled at the Massachusetts Office of Employee Relations (OER). The APA contract was delivered to OER, approved by DHE Commissioner Santiago, on August 8, 2018. Delivery of the letter of agreement from the DHE to the Governor’s administrators starts the countdown of 45 days in which the contract can be approved and forwarded to the Legislature for funding. Our Executive Board has been told that the OER will not recommend funding this Agreement.
The likely outcome of OER’s decision is that Governor Baker will simply ignore the 3-year successor Agreement, which will result in it being sent back to the bargaining table for re-negotiation. The APA, through strong efforts by the membership and MTA Affiliates to contact Legislators, the Governor and the DHE, has made some progress in bringing this issue to the attention of state officials. We are escalating that effort. As of today, we have only two and a half weeks before the 45-day clock stops ticking.
The OER is stating that the APA contract exceeds the 2% limit on the financial parameters offered by the Governor during collective bargaining because the Agreement includes a small increase stipend for employees of Massachusetts Maritime Academy when at sea and a small increase to the uniform allowance for University Police Officers.
It is very important to clearly state and accept that uniform allowances and stipends have been a part of the APA Agreement in, at least, the last four bargained contracts. They are not salary increases. These separate items have NEVER been considered as part of the Financial Parameters that guide contractual, cost-of-living salary adjustments. Finally, these items are paid out of local campus budgets – they do NOT require additional funding from the state. As we contact our state representatives to enlist their aid in moving this contract to a final funding resolution, it is vital that we correct the misinformation that is being given about these items as exceeding parameters.
Communication about the APA contract funding has been challenging. It is virtually impossible to look up and target the Governor’s office or any of the officials working under OER, Administration and Finance or the Division of Human Resources. Therefore, it is urgent that we engage the resources available to us through our Legislators. They are uniquely adept at getting through to the Governor’s offices and even to him directly.
We are connecting with our sister unions (next up: K-12) through the MTA to ratchet up the pressure on our Governor and his officials to fund this overdue Agreement. We will begin meeting directly with Representatives and Senators in their local district offices to explain why letting this contract go back to the bargaining table is unacceptable. We will be taking the message to social and mainstream media, and we will make an effort to visit the offices of the OER (in protest, if necessary).
We invite you to join us. Your local chapter will keep you informed about the timing and location of our next efforts. Thank you for working with us to demand the respect and attention our membership – and all public employee union members – deserve.
President, Association of Professional Administrators