Union has been without a contract since July while still working 24/7 to keep the students, workers and visitors safe on campus
Members of the MIT Police Association took their message directly to the public they protect Wednesday, handing out 2,000 flyers to students and faculty throughout the rain soaked day. The public push comes as the Association feels it has exhausted all other options and moves to federal mediation. The Union has met 14 times with university officials while the school continues to refuse to address reasonable quality of life and economic issues. At heart of the negotiation is whether MIT will follow the lead of other large universities in mitigating the impact of extraordinarily high inflation, acknowledging the extraordinary new burdens imposed on police officers, and ensuring that MIT will continue to attract and retain officers with the highest quality through providing comparable contract improvements.
“MIT is an internationally recognized school with an endowment of $24.6 billion dollars but pretends that it has no responsibility to account for inflation or to compensate our officers in parity with comparable universities,” said Alan McDonald, legal counsel for the Association. “What kind of message does that send to students, alumni and faculty about the value they place on public safety?”
There has been a lot of discussion in academia and the mainstream media about how schools must adapt and operate in the post pandemic world. First responders play an integral role within the campus, yet for them there is no virtual option. MIT police officers worked throughout the two-year pandemic in person on campus every day and will continue to do so. There was no other option and they often dealt with COVID-19 exposure and staffing issues because of it. At the same time, at least 15 upper management and civilian employees at MIT Police Department have been working remotely weekly and they continue to be out of the station one day in the Monday through Friday work week, for a total of 52 days a year. That is in addition to 17 administrative days for a total of 69 days each year they are not present on campus. This luxury continues even though MIT no longer follows pandemic protocol.
“The men and women of the MIT Police Association took an oath, an oath to protect those that study, work and visit the MIT campus, and that did not change during the pandemic. However, in the past two years the cost of living has increased substantially, and their wages are not keeping up with current economic conditions. We are simply asking for economic stability to take care of our families and not live paycheck to paycheck. We are calling on the university to give their police officers – the men and women who are charged with protecting all who step foot onto the MIT campus – a fair and timely contract,” said McDonald.
The Union is trying to negotiate a three-year contract and has met with MIT 14 times so far. They point to a comment made by MIT negotiators at the last negotiation meeting that the Union should not compare itself to Boston University or Harvard University Police Departments, both who recently received raises to combat high inflation costs, and both of which are close neighbors of MIT that will be competing with MIT for the best police officers. The comment once again points to MIT’s indifference to the realities of policing in 2022 The flyer asks supporters to contact administration or police management to voice their opinions about the situation.