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Paid Family and Medical Leave Act- impact bargaining in coalition with other unions is beginning


Dear Colleagues:

Last year, our unions participated in a ballot initiative campaign to win paid sick leave and family leave for all workers in Massachusetts.  Voters overwhelmingly approved the initiative and workers across the commonwealth won an excellent new benefit.  You can read more about the new law here:

Paid family and medical leave (PFML) will now cover employees who are welcoming a new child into the family, dealing with serious illness or injury, or caring for an ill relative.  All UMass employees, including part-time and seasonal employees, will have the right to paid leave.  Most full-time faculty and librarians already qualify for one semester of paid parental leave as outlined in our contract (full-time NTT qualify after 3 years; see Article 27.3 of the contract for info on all leaves). Faculty and librarians who are 50% or greater are eligible for paid sick leave and have access to a sick leave bank. That still leaves many of our members, primarily those who are under 50%, without access to either paid sick leave or paid parental leave. The new PFML allows businesses and other employers who provide the same or greater benefit to all their employees to opt out of this new law. Since UMB does not provide the same or greater benefit to all employees covered by the PFML, we are required to offer (and pay for) the PFML to all FSU members, even when many FSU members are eligible under the contract for similar or greater benefits.     

The state law leaves open the question of who pays for the new benefit.  The cost is 0.63 percent of salary.  For example, PFML for a staff member earning $50,000 per year would cost $315 per year, with the cost to be divided between the employer and the employee.  Payroll deductions will begin on July 1, 2019, in order to create the PFML fund, and benefits will begin on January 1, 2021. 

Unions across all five UMass campuses are joining in coalition for impact bargaining and demanding that the administration impact bargain with us to implement PFML on our campuses, and to decide together what percentage of the benefit will be paid by the employer.  Classified staff, graduate students, faculty, and professional staff units from across all five campuses are part of this coalition. 

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns, and we will update you as we proceed.  Let us know if you want to be part of this impact bargaining team as well. 


The MTA Summer Conference will be at UMass Amherst from August 4-August 7. Take MTA-sponsored workshops on everything from grievance and member advocacy training,representing members in Title IX investigations, to toolkits for fighting for racial justice and more.  This is also a great opportunity to meet fellow MTA members from across the state. For details see here (the deadline to register is Friday, July 19th).  The FSU can reimburse a portion of your costs of the conference. Contact the FSU office if you are interested.



Marlene Kim

FSU President

Professor, Economics

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