UMass, AFL-CIO to host meeting on Labor Center’s future

  • The University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) campus

@cmlindahl
Published: 9/19/2016 9:35:38 AM

AMHERST — The University of Massachusetts Amherst and state labor leaders plan to co-host a meeting with stakeholders of the school’s Labor Center to discuss its future.

The announcement comes after UMass Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy met in Boston last week with Steven Tolman, president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, and Francis Callahan, president of the Massachusetts Building Trades Council, according to a joint statement released by the organizations. That meeting was held following controversy over budget changes at the university’s Labor Center.

“We are united in reaffirming our commitment to support the vital work of the UMass Amherst Labor Center,” the statement reads. “We will cohost a meeting at the UMass Amherst campus in the coming weeks with key stakeholders in the Labor Center to consider ways that the UMass administration, labor, and key stake holders can partner to strengthen the Labor Center so that it can continue to play a leading role in advancing the cause of organized labor and Massachusetts workers for many years to come.”

The statement does not say when the meeting will be held.

Concerns about the Labor Center’s financial state were publicly aired after an email former director Eve Weinbaum wrote to her colleagues was posted on several blogs earlier this month. 

Weinbaum wrote that the center has been faced with years of budget cuts and that the administration has intended to shutter the program several times.

“Administrators explained that they would only allow the Labor Studies Master’s degree program to continue to exist if it served as a ‘revenue generator’ — to fund other parts of the University outside the Labor Center,” Weinbaum wrote.

Administrators disagree with Weinbaum’s account. John Hird, interim dean of the College of Social and Behavior Sciences, said that administrators are working with the center in order to develop plans to bolster enrollment.

Chris Lindahl can be reached at clindahl@gazettenet.com


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