Strength in numbers
The recent 6/22/2020 e-mail from President Stanley notes wage reductions and cuts in the retirement benefits for many non-organized MSU employees. There is one very important sentence in President Stanley’s statement. “because MSU cannot unilaterally implement such a change for employees covered by collective bargaining agreements.” This is why unions are important now more than ever. It was a collective APA/MEA voice which said no, enough is enough. In one e-mail the president of MSU clearly displayed the value placed on those who support so much of the University. Those employees just lost 50% of a benefit without a choice. On the accounting side, the University just reduced a long-term retirement obligation by 50% simply by taking advantage of the current situation.
Recently, MSU did approach the APA/MEA with a proposal for wage and retirement cuts. The cuts offered were permanent whereas President Stanley’s e-mail notes the executive staff are taking “temporary cuts”. The basis of the University’s own financial presentation had a great deal of doom and gloom in their projected financial statement, but it also had many problems with its assumptions. The presentation took full advantage of stating that the world would not return to some sense of normal. It missed noting many opportunities which would help offset any presumed losses. MSU has a very healthy endowment fund which most of it can be used at the University’s discretion. In short, the accounting was very slanted for the purpose for which they came. It was not “shared sacrifice.”
When the investment banking giants collapsed, MSU lost $400 million dollars in one day. MSU lights did not go off. There was not even a flicker. But in these very anxious times, the University comes to their staff for yet another sacrifice. MSU staff have been under-rewarded and over-worked for far too long for the University to feel it appropriate to take such an advantage during these times. Enough is enough. There are discretionary dollars available and many of the short term loses will return. What won’t return is anything taken from the staff at this time.
The members of the APA/MEA stand strong and together. Thank you for your dedication to your professions, the APA/MEA, but most importantly, to yourselves.