NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Union members advocate for new contract

Members of the Massachusetts Community College Council union at NECC recently voted to go to “work to rule,” in reaction to ongoing contract negotiations with the Board of Higher Education.

I interviewed coordinator of academic coaching and president of the executive board of the Northern Essex MCCC union chapter   Linda Giampa to get some background on what the MCC is and who it represents.

“…We are a union and we represent faculty and we represent professional staff. I am a professional staff, professional staff people like adviser, financial aid, those will be professional staff and faculty is the instructor that teaches the classes,” she said. “The contract that we are negotiating now is for full time faculty and staff. We also have a separate contract for (adjunct instructors) but that one has already has been negotiated… We are affiliated with the Massachusetts Teacher Association, MTA and the NEO which is the National Education Association,” she said.

Faculty and staff union members at NECC are advocating for a new contract with the state's Board of Higher EducationPhoto by Editor-in-Chief/ Sports Editor Jose Rodriguez

Faculty and staff union members at NECC are advocating for a new contract with the state’s Board of Higher Education

Giampa told what work-to-rule is and explained why faculty and staff have voted to do this.

me what is work-to rule and give me an explanation why faculty and stuff are in work to rule ?

“We can’t strike,” she said. “… What work to rule basically is is that we just do the work that we are contractually required to do… So that means we don’t do extra things like we wouldn’t serve on extra committees, search committees… so we are asking our members not to do anything extra, they should only do what they are required to in the contract,” she said.

I interviewed Tom Greene, he is a faculty member and Day Grievance coordinator in the MCC union here at Northern Essex.

I ask him if he thinks an agreement will be reached soon?

“There is negotiating that is happening, (negotiations)are ongoing,” he said.  “It is really hard to tell how close things are for reaching in agreement. It seems a couple months ago the agreement was about to happen and lately it seems that it is dragging on and on and is not going anywhere,” Greene said.

Greene and I talked about the number of community colleges that are in work to rule in Massachusetts. “Right know I think it is only two but unless there were some kind of resolution two days ago now all of the colleges are being asked to vote whether or not (they will go on) twork to rule so maybe more very soon,” he said on Dec. 1

I ask NECC President Lane Glenn if he feels not having a contract affects the morale of staff and faculty. “I understand why some people may feel discouraged by not having a contract yet unfortunately, historically it is not unusual l for things like this to happen. That doesn’t make it right or comfortable but this has happened (a numbers of times) over the years for lots of different reasons, but certainly I understand how it can be discouraging for employees which is one of the reason that we want to make an agreement as soon as possible,” he said.

I asked him how is it impacting students ? “So far I have not heard any negative impacts on students,” he said. “I think our faculty and staff are very mindful not to negatively impact our students, they know the student are most important, they are the reason why we are here in the first place, Everybody, and I don’t know a single person in this college however they are feeling in every given day who would’ve negatively impact our students.”