Interim Chancellor Newman, keep us all safe!

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Attention UMass Boston Community

We need your support in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic impacting UMass Boston and our wider community.

This situation is a national emergency. It is a state of emergency in the Commonwealth. We understand that this crisis is unprecedented in recent history and that there are many complexities in trying to continue University operations while also protecting the health and safety of our community.  GEO, CSU and PSU requested to bargain with the campus administration to collaboratively determine guidelines for meeting the demands of this crisis. 

While we had one meeting, the University has chosen not to engage in bargaining with us and has released its own plan unilaterally.

The unions support the University’s desire to continue to educate our students and meet other critical commitments.  But the University’s current plan falls short of protecting the health and safety of its employees and the wider community as we try to continue to do that.

While we agree that we need to maintain essential campus functions, we need to make UMass reconsider what is truly essential. There should be clear guidelines for determining what staff really are essential to be on campus and make every effort to make that number as small as possible. No department or duty should be called essential without first seriously considering whether it justifies risking the health of employees, students and the community at large.

As much as possible, and we believe much is possible, we should be operating remotely into the foreseeable future. There should be clear guidelines for authentically determining essential staff to remain on campus.  Every effort must be made to make sure that number is as small as possible. 

Any staff required to be on campus must be provided with appropriate protective equipment and workspaces with reasonable social distance between individuals.

University employees should be supported in making it through this crisis in ways that protect their safety, minimize their risk and support them in meeting their family and caregiving responsibilities. Staff members should not be required to use their accrued time if they are at high risk of infection, need to care for others or deal with school closures affecting their families during this crisis.

We are asking for your support in sending a message to the administration that they must take these concerns seriously and address these issues.  You can show you support by signing and sharing this petition.

We, the undersigned members of the UMass Boston community, call on Interim Chancellor Newman and her administration to immediately implement the following policies to protect students', employees' and the public's health:

1.     Allow all employees at high risk to COVID-19 to remain home, with full pay and benefits and without using their own earned leave time;

2.     Require only skeleton staffing levels for truly essential on-campus functions during this emergency;

3.     Provide all staff on campus with the personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies they need to reduce the risk of exposure to the corona virus;

4.     Not require any employee to use their own earned leave time if they have to be off-campus or cannot work due to COVID-19 (including exposures, illnesses and school closures);

5.     Ensure that all student workers, graduate student employees and benefited UMB employees continue to be paid so they can support their families.