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Nuts & Bolts: parking survey, outsourcing of FMLA, take action to stop FMLA outsourcing, semester parking passes and NEA student loan refinancing


Dear Members,

As I write this out of the corner of my eye I see them.  The pile is calling for me to open them.  I move the pile across the room but still they demand attention. They are of course a pile of blue books.  I wondered when we began using blue books.  A google search indicates Butler University first used them in the 1920s.  Butler’s school colors are blue and white.

Thank you for attending our end of semester gatherings!

Thank you to all who stopped by on May 7th and May 8th to hang out with colleagues and eat some snacks.  It was great to see you all.

Parking Survey forthcoming

The UMass union coalition of CSU, DCU, FSU and PSU are developing a member survey to learn about your current mode of transportation to campus and to learn what, if any, would result in you changing your modality.

Our goal is to send this to you before May 24th.  We ask that you take a few moments to provide the coalition with feedback which we will use as we move forward in campus negotiations this summer.

Note:  The Bayside lot officially ceases operations on September 1. 2024.

Outsourcing of FMLA: Concerns

Over the past several weeks the unions at UMass Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell, and, most recently, the Medical School have been notified by our Human Resources department that they plan to outsource family and medical leave management to a for-profit, third-party company, FMLASource, within the coming months. This company would also handle workman’s compensation claims and ADA accommodation requests.

Many of the unions across these campuses have voiced significant concerns about this announcement and we are sharing the following with members so they can better understand those concerns, and the work the unions are doing on their behalf.

What might this outsourcing mean for employees? What are the union's concerns?   Family and medical leaves come during stressful times in an employee’s life, when they are ill, expecting a child, or caring for a family member. This is a time to offer more, not less support. Outsourcing the process of requesting and navigating these leaves to an off-campus, faceless, for-profit company raises concerns about the quality of engagement and support our members will receive. Handing over the administration of leaves to a company self-promoted as “managing absenteeism” and advertising its ability to limit things like intermittent leave, seems counter to any robust protection of our federal and state rights to take time off during these periods.

Many of our contracts already have language about requesting and managing leaves. Contract leave language may exceed FMLA and/or work in tandem with such leaves. Outsourcing these leaves may have direct conflicts with current contract language. Moreover, privatizing leave management to an entity outside of our employer, circumvents an employer/employee relationship where our unions have the ability to directly advocate for members, with an intermediary which has no legal obligation to work with the unions.

Finally, the outsourcing of leave approvals requires our members to hand over their private medical records to an impersonal, for-profit organization. This raises concerns about the confidentiality and privacy of our information, its security, and how it will be used in the future.

Should I worry? What can we do about this? To paraphrase Mother Jones, “Don’t worry– Organize!” Our union locals and our parent unions are united in standing against this outsourcing and ensuring that our members’ rights are not eroded.

Local unions at UMass Boston, Dartmouth, and Lowell have requested meetings with management and the vendor to ask questions and find out more about these proposed changes; many have sent cease and desist letters to let their employers, know that this is a decision that must be bargained; and we are exploring other legal avenues to force the administration to meet its obligation to the unions and to our members.

We sent a joint letter (see the May 6th Nuts & Bolts) to President Meehan and some Massachusetts officials expressing our anger at this move to outsource FMLA leave management to a private, for-profit, company. We raise concerns about the consequences for our members, questions about data privacy and integrity, and the validity of this as a cost-saving measure for the university. Given that we have been told that this decision is being made at a system-level (UMass President’s Office), we hope that President Meehan will recognize his obligations to those who work for UMass across the state. 

However, it is the willingness of our members to speak up and take action that will be critical to our success.  It is important that our employer knows that it is not only the union leadership concerned about this change. 

Outsourcing of FMLA: Take Action

We ask you to act.   Please add your name to the petition of UMass faculty, librarians and staff telling President Meehan to stop the outsourcing.  Go to

Semester Parking Passes

Just a reminder that your semester pass runs from January 15th to May 31st.    

MTA Benefits: NEA Private Student Loan Refinance Program

When you join the FSU, you are also a member of MTA and NEA.  One of NEA’s benefits is student loan refinancing. For more information go to


Caroline Coscia                                 

FSU President                                   

Senior Lecturer II                               

Political Science Department