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Commentary :: Labor
Gov. Romney Vetoes Retro Pay for Campus Unions
11 Oct 2005
As cost of living expenses, especially housing, skyrocket, Massachusetts Republican Governor Mitt Romney has leveled yet another vicious assault on union workers at the states’ 28 public colleges and universities. On October 5 Romney vetoed about $42.2 million in retroactive raises for thousands of workers, including union graduate student-workers, many of which live at or below the federal poverty level.
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Romney vetoes retro pay for campus unions
Romney vetoes retro pay for campus unions

By Bryan G. Pfeifer




As cost of living expenses, especially housing, skyrocket, Massachusetts Republican Governor Mitt Romney has leveled yet another vicious assault on union workers at the states’ 28 public colleges and universities.

On October 5 Romney vetoed about $42.2 million in retroactive raises for thousands of workers, including union graduate student-workers, many of which live at or below the federal poverty level.


Romney, a multimillionaire venture capitalist who recently announced the state has over 1 billion dollars in a ‘rainy-day fund,’ is fond of blithely telling workers that they need to make more “sacrifices.” At a press conference last summer a media worker forced Romney to admit he didn’t know the cost of subway fare in Boston.

A $131 spending bill passed Sept. 21 by the Massachusetts legislature included money for the pay raises and Romney approved $88.6 million but cut the rest because he said he doesn’t believe in ‘giving’ retroactive raises. This despite the fact that all the campus unions’ to receive these raises, have successfully agreed to contracts with their respective college administrations. The raises are part of numerous legally negotiated and binding contracts.

Those affected including 4,500 union member at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst who had $30.27 million vetoed by Romney for retroactive raises for the fiscal year July 2002 to July 2003. Romney also vetoed $11.91 million in retroactive raises for the same time period for administrators and support staffers at state and community colleges.

Unions at public campuses in Massachusetts bargain separate contracts with each campus administration. The contracts are then passed on to the governor’s office for consultation. When the legislature votes in the necessary funding, the governor historically has approved the contracts.

Traditionally, once the legislature allocated funds for the contracts, the governor signed off on them with minimal problems. But former Acting Governor Jane Swift, a Democrat, set in motion the governor’s office veto activity, when in July, 2002 citing a ‘fiscal crisis,’ she vetoed the pay raises of all campus workers even though in 2001 she signed off on the contracts. Swift is believed to be the first Massachusetts governor to have vetoed contract funding for campus workers. Romney is continuing this trend.

It will now take a two-thirds vote in each of the state’s legislative branches to override Romney’s new veto. The legislature early this year approved other retroactive raises for a different time period with Romney vetoing this. But legislators, under mass rank-and-file and labor/community pressure, unanimously voted to override that veto.

Some of this pressure included mass actions such as numerous protests at the statehouse and on various campuses, letter-writing/email campaigns, building alliances with progressive community and campus based organizations, work-to-rule days, and other bold and creative actions.

These and many more protest actions will increase until all union members receive what is righfully theirs according to the 2,500 member Graduate Employee Organization-UAW at UMass Amherst, a leading force in this struggle.

GEO encourages supporters to call Romney's office “to express outrage and disappointment that he continues to blatantly ignore the state's obligation to fund collective bargaining agreements with state workers.” Call (617) 725-4005 or fax (617) 727-9725.

For more information contact GEO at (413) 545-0705 or see www.geouaw.org.

-- 30 --

Union labor donated
See also:
http://www.geouaw.org
http://www.aflcio.org

This work is in the public domain.
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Comments

Re: Gov. Romney Vetoes Retro Pay for Campus Unions
20 Oct 2005
Wouldn't it be nice if we could veto the pay raise of the officials we elect to represent us instead of the other way around?
Romney Sucks. Just Like His Buddy Bush.
26 Oct 2005
Romney will get his next election. He can Dibold this state! HA! HA!
Besides, anyone who reads knows the Repubs are trying to stick it to the organized, poor, elderly and middleclass.
His time and the GOP's time is up!
Re: Gov. Romney Vetoes Retro Pay for Campus Unions
14 Jan 2006
Romney better not get in for President or we will be in for more trouble than we have with Bush. I can tell you I voted for neither of these people, as republicans only care for the Rich. Somebody voted them in. I say lets get back to the Democrats in Massachusetts!! For president I say Hilary Clinton all of the way!!
Re: Gov. Romney Vetoes Retro Pay for Campus Unions
18 Mar 2006
to june who say hilary is the solutiion.
the clintons did nothing for labor while they ran the white house. millions of jobs are overseas because bill is buddies with Wall St biggies like Bob Rubin who ran the Clinton eocnomic policy. Scam artists and internet billionaies were the "working class" the clintons enriched.

so june, ask hilary when she's going to cut off economic ties with fascist China so millions of textile, electronic and other manufacturing jobs can be returned to the USA at union wages?

hello readers: Democrats are for corporate capitalism. they just look more "progressive" because they aren't religious fundementalists. so what! Power is about $$$$$$$$$$$$$. And as the last great George Wallace, the Last Populist, said: there's no a "dime's worth of difference"
between the GOP and the "Democrats". (and yes, the other sainted serial Demorcratic rapist, JFK, was no Liberal either)>