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UMass President Praises Legislators for Funding Labor Contracts

BOSTON — UMass President Marty Meehan praised the Massachusetts House for approving funding for UMass labor contracts when it passed a supplemental budget this week.

“We appreciate the strong support that the University of Massachusetts continues to receive from the House of Representatives and commend Speaker Robert DeLeo, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Brian Dempsey, and all members of the House for making a critical difference for the university that makes a difference in the lives of so many of our citizens,” Meehan said.

The $360 million supplemental budget approved by the House includes $10.9 million in funding of labor contracts with faculty and staff working in the UMass system.

“This kind of support allows us to recruit and retain faculty members who are among the very best in their fields and who make us the world-class academic and research institution that the Commonwealth deserves and needs,” Meehan added.

The House action comes at a time when enrollment throughout the UMass system continues to rise, reaching a record 73,700, according to fall 2015 projections. Meanwhile, recent Thomson Reuters rankings place UMass as the 57th-most innovative university in the world, and the new World University Rankings rate UMass as the number-one public university in New England, the 24th-best public university in the U.S, and among the best universities in the world.

The $10.9 million approved by the House would fully fund the first year of three-year contracts, covering 6,500 faculty and staff across the UMass system, the terms of which were prescribed by the Patrick administration. The salary increases were to have gone into effect during the 2014-15 fiscal year, but were delayed until Meehan authorized their payment last month, saying he intended to seek offsetting funding in the budget bill pending before the Legislature. The supplemental budget containing the funding for the university now moves to the state Senate for consideration.

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