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As Congress and presidential candidates trade accusations over immigration reform, advocates and experts urge caution in spreading misinformation; Alabama takes new action IVF policy following controversial court decision; and central states urge caution with wildfires brewing.

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Congress reaches a deal to avoid a partial government shutdown again. Arizona Republicans want to ensure Trump remains on their state ballot and Senate Democrats reintroduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

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Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

Community college faculty in MA demand contract funding

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Monday, November 13, 2023   

The union representing faculty and staff at Massachusetts's 15 community colleges are demanding a pay raise.

They're asking the state legislature to fund ratified contracts that include pay raises going back to 2021, and to ensure members receive the same salary increases offered to other teachers' unions at UMass and state university campuses.

Massachusetts Community College Council (MCCC) Union President Claudine Barnes said low pay affects a community college's ability to recruit and retain quality educators.

"If the state really believes in Massachusetts as the 'education state,'" said Barnes, "they need to adequately fund these positions."

Barnes said the state's community colleges serve 50% of students pursuing higher education in Massachusetts, and yet only receive 25% of the state's higher-ed budget.

MCCC members have circulated a petition with more than five thousand signatures demanding Gov. Maura Healy offer members an 8% pay increase - the same as other higher-ed union workers. Healy has offered a 2% raise.

Barnes said members are concerned there won't be enough staff to support the new MassReconnet program, which offers free community college to people 25 and older without a college degree.

"Because if we don't have the advising staff to help these students get through college, if we don't have the faculty to teach these courses, it won't work," said Barnes. "We're setting students up for failure."

Barnes said the MCCC contract and others have been caught up in the supplement budget process.

But she said she's hoping lawmakers and the governor can get raises to her members before the holidays - or as she put it, before anyone else decides to leave for higher pay elsewhere.




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