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The Point: Calling all union parents


This week's Point was written by Linda Liu, Lecturer, Sociology; Jared Poole, Assistant Professor, Management; and Joseph G. Ramsey, Senior Lecturer, English, American Studies, and Honors College.

As faculty parents of young children, we often have to work in moments stitched together from our kids’ naps and evenings before our own exhaustion sets in. Written piecemeal in just this way, this installment of the Point is a call to our colleagues who are parents to join us in a union parents’ group. All too often, parents working alongside one another are too busy scrambling to meet day-to-day demands to organize around our shared concerns and needs. We totally get how and why this is the case! But, we also hope to change this atomizing division of work and family life by coming together in this group. Our small founding cohort envisions our group as pursuing the following:

  • Mutual aid/support: “It takes a village to raise a child,” so the saying goes, but some of us are still seeking our village. Perhaps our professional journeys have taken us far afield from family and friend networks, or we’re relying on expensive paid childcare options. Today, Massachusetts has some of the nation’s highest childcare costs and demand that outstrips supply. Meeting up to socialize, share resources, and offer guidance can be a crucial means of supporting one another through the many challenges--and joys--of parenting. Playgroups anyone?
  • Education: Many of us have shared questions and concerns, and we can be a tremendous fund of knowledge for each other and other members of the UMass Boston community. For instance, what are the university’s policies on parental leave? How can one go about finding affordable, accessible, and high-quality childcare? When did your kid start crawling, walking, potty-training, etc.? For parents with college-aged children, what are the pros and cons of the university’s discounted tuition benefit? Some of us have had to find answers to such questions on our own, but we imagine there is more than enough wisdom at UMass Boston to go around.
  • Advocacy: Did you know that UMass Boston used to have an Early Learning Center that provided lower-cost childcare to university students, employees, and local families? It was closed down in 2016 during a round of budget cuts, despite the outcry of staff and parents with children enrolled in the center. It’s long past time for UMass Boston to make up for these cuts by supporting working parents on campus. We’d like to help advocate for better childcare supports and identify other issues of shared interest. By coming together collectively as parents, we can build visibility and power to bring about the transformations we’d like to see.

This is only the beginning of our joint vision of what we’d like this nascent group to be and do. We’d also like to hear your ideas on what this group could be. In the coming weeks, our parents’ group plans on holding a virtual and an in-person meeting for colleagues in the FSU who wish to participate. In the future, we hope to expand this group to our sibling unions, the PSU, CSU, and GEO. We very much welcome your interest and input, so please feel free to contact the three of us to be put on our group mailing list or with any questions you may have.

In solidarity,

Linda, Jared, and Joe