Emergency action for health care in Mass. public higher ed

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, adjunct faculty at community colleges, state universities and in the UMass system have been working diligently to convert our courses, advising and other services, to online formats to support our students in their education.

We believe it is unconscionable that thousands of higher ed employees lack employer-provided health insurance, just at the time when a health care safety net is most needed. Many adjunct faculty work the equivalent of full-time jobs, teaching at multiple colleges to cobble together a living, yet do not qualify for health care coverage.

This moment serves to highlight the grave injustice of this situation, as well as the social risk posed by failing to provide health insurance to part-time educators at our colleges and universities.

While our unions continue to advocate for legislation to provide health insurance to our members who are uninsured or underinsured, the time has come to demand emergency action for health care.

Members who lack health care have been sharing their stories with legislators on teletown halls and legislative meetings, and several legislators who are leading the COVID-19 response have stepped up to advocate for emergency action, without waiting for passage of the state budget in late summer or fall.

The federal CARES Act, the $2 trillion relief package passed by Congress provides funding for higher education to address the COVID-19 health care crisis. Congress is now working on a fourth relief package.

Please join us in contacting the legislature, Governor Charlie Baker, and Higher Education Commissioner Carlos Santiago to ask for emergency action for health care equity.

Thank you for your support and action, your union colleagues in Massachusetts public higher education.

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