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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

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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