UMass Activists Meet June 6

The 2,500 or so grad student employees at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst do more teaching and research than the 1,000 or so professors there. The grad students are paid about $12,000 per year for 20 hours a week of work. The professors make around $100,000 per year for 40 hours of work per week.

UMass Amherst is one of the biggest employers in the Valley. The wages it pays its workers affect the region's economy, and influence wages other local employers pay, according to UMass Amherst economist and labor studies professor Stephanie Luce.

Grad student employees at Rutgers make double the wage of those at UMass Amherst; at UConn, they make 50 percent more than the workers at UMass. The Rutgers workers are members of a union

UMass does millions of dollars a year worth of research for the U.S. military and companies like Microsoft and defense contractor Northrop Grumman.

Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick promised during his campaign to improve UMass. But he has cut wages for grad student employees, while granting hefty raised to UMass non-teaching officials, many of whom make well over $100,000 a year. He has refused to raise taxes on billionaires to give raises to grad student employees, a large percentage of whom are from India and China.

UMass tells the grad student workers their low wages are justified by their future earnings potential as professors. But after four years as undergrads and seven more years getting a PhD, history graduates have just a 20 percent chance of landing a full-time college teaching job, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts (PHENOM) will hold its annual meeting June 6 in Springfield, Mass. at 3 p.m. at the Springfield Technical Community College, Building Two on the seventh floor.

That day at 2 p.m. PHENOM activists will lobby delegates at the state Democratic party convention at the Mass Mutual Center. At 6:30 p.m. PHENOM will have a dinner party with music.

A review of PHENOM’s activities and accomplishments from the past 12 months are at the “history” page at


Members of the union for UMass Amherst grad student employees pose for a photo during a break in contract negotiations with representaves of Governor Patrick, and listen to a giant rat at the taxpayer-funded home of the top official at UMass Amherst. photos by Eesha Williams


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