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The Point: The Fair Share Amendment


Greetings, Colleagues:

One thing you will notice if you read The Point in the coming weeks and months is that sometimes we dive into the knotty and granular details of issues that are very particular to our campus and daily working conditions.  In those email blasts we (the Communications Committee) will write or solicit contributions from colleagues that are rooted in local knowledge and primary research.  These email blasts should be construed as excavations, provocations, and invitations to consider matters of concern that we believe to be underappreciated. 

But some weeks we will just try to shine a light on a larger issue, with established stakes, that we simply want to amplify—and urge you to take action on. At such times we will mostly want to point your attention to some credible resources to engage with and then get out of the way.

This week is one of the second kind of weeks and our call is straightforward: we want you to vote for and (if possible) do some work in support of the Fair Share Amendment (Question 1) that will be on the ballot in Massachusetts this November.  The aim of this constitutional amendment is almost breathtakingly simple: it will put a tax of 4% on earnings above $1 million dollars and require that all of this revenue be applied to public education and transportation.  It has been a long road to get this measure on the ballot (read here if you want a good quick overview) and without resorting to overblown rhetoric, we join the many observers who consider this to be a once in a generation opportunity to reverse decades of austerity budgets that have left public education in Massachusetts reeling.

Those punishing budgets, as the many supporters of the amendment point out, have exacerbated existing imbalances in the Commonwealth and have meant that communities of color have “been harmed by inequitable and inadequate access to transportation and public education.”  All of us committed to UMB’s urban mission can likely understand why this major change to our constitution is necessary.  (And perhaps this is stacking the deck, but the first ad in opposition to Fair Share has recently been released and you may notice an interesting thing or two about its cast of characters. Also, you sports fans probably won’t be surprised to learn that Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft is pouring loads of money into the anti-Fair Share campaign.)

What can you do?

Learn More: Perhaps the best way to do this is to come to a forum organized by the MTA for students, staff, faculty and community members on Thursday, September 22nd at 4 p.m in Room 1300 of University Hall.  This forum will highlight in particular how Fair Share will benefit all of our students and improve working conditions for staff and faculty.  There is also a zoom option if you can’t be there in person.

Join In:  The best way to join the Fair Share effort is to volunteer for a slot during one of the many virtual phone banking sessions that will be held over the coming weeks.  This is a simple and accessible way to play a part in making sure that we do all we can to ensure the passage of this absolutely crucial measure.

This is your union.  Please let us know at if you have other ideas about how we all can support the Fair Share Amendment.


The Communications Committee:

Lynne Benson, Senior Lecturer, Women’s, Gender, And Sexuality Studies

Jessica Holden, Librarian III, Healey Library

Linda Liu, Lecturer, Sociology

Jeff Melnick, Professor, American Studies

For information on the FSU, links to our contract and bargaining updates, and a calendar of events, see the FSU webpage