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NMU, union reach contract agreement

Funds also OK’d for Kaye House work

December 16, 2012
By JACKIE STARK - Journal Staff Writer ( , The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - After roughly a year and a half of negotiations, Northern Michigan University and United Auto Workers Local 1950, a union that represents campus technical and office professionals, have reached a contract agreement.

The union ratified the contract Thursday by a vote of 95 to 32 and the NMU Board of Trustees unanimously approved it during its regular meeting Friday.

"Given the economic climate, I would definitely say it's a good contract," said UAW Local 1950 President Michelle Kimball. "It sets us up for three years of working with administration, there's some money on the base. It wasn't all for nothing. I definitely appreciate the membership approving it and the board for approving it and NMU for working with us for such a long time to come to some sort of agreement that was at least equitable."

Article Photos

The Northern Michigan University Board of Trustees recently approved $216,000 for renovations to Kaye House, the home typically used by the president of the university. (Journal photo by Dan Weingarten)

The contract includes a 25 cents per hour base wage increase, which equates to 1.75 percent, in fiscal years 2013 and 2014. An additional 10 cents per hour equity increase will apply to the lowest-paid employees at each classification level. Members will also receive one-time payments of $300 and $200 over the two years of the contract. UAW Local 1950 will join other campus employee groups in shifting to a new health care plan that requires increased copays and annual deductibles. The required health care contribution per member will increase each year of the contract, accounting for a 20 percent share of total health care costs on an annual basis. The contract expires June 30, 2014, with a possible one-year extension.

The board also approved an AFSCME 1094 reopener on its previously accepted contract with the university. The reopener resulted in a 1.5 percent base wage increase and a one-time distribution of a $150 university contribution to the pre-tax employee HRA accounts or a taxable cash payment.

A total of $216,000 was approved by the board for renovations to Kaye House, the home typically used by the president of the university. The money will come from the university's deferred maintenance fund.

NMU Communications and Marketing Director Cindy Paavola said since Haynes, who was a Northern professor and Marquette resident before he was appointed to the top job on campus, is not living in Kaye House, now would be the most advantageous time for renovations to take place.

Planned renovations include addressing lighting, plumbing and aging entryway issues, as well as improving accessibility to the public area entryways and addressing interior finish

and flooring issues.

Vice President for Advancement Martha Haynes also gave a presentation to the board on possible fundraising opportunities associated with construction of a new John X. Jamrich Hall.

Haynes said the university could stand to raise large sums of money by offering to name classrooms and communal spaces within the building after donors.

Haynes said the rooms could cost anywhere from $50,000 to $500,000, depending on the type of room, its location and its intended use.

Trustee Stephen Adamini was not present at the meeting.

In other action the board:

- Approved a new wildland firefighting academic minor and certificate program, effective fall 2013

- Approved fiscal year 2014 capital outlay project priorities, which universities are required to submit annually to the state. NMU's top three priorities are a renovation and addition to the Learning Resources Center, an academic facilities upgrade project involving Forest Roberts Theatre, the McClintock Building and the Physical Education Instructional Facility and the renovation of Cohodas Hall.

- Authorized a five-year charter contract with Experiencia Preparatory Academy in Detroit, for which the board had previously authorized a charter

- Agreed to cancel classes for the annual Martin Luther King Day observance - university offices will remain open

- Agreed to establish a Center for Innovation and Industrial Technologies at NMU, whose mission is to provide students and employers with the required technical support and professional skills necessary to positively impact industry in the region and nation

- Approved the presidential goals for 2012-13. Areas of concentration are enrollment/ retention, branding/marketing/identity/presence, financial management, endowments and excellence/experience.

- Authorized the sale of property at 603 W. Baraga Ave. for $28,000

- Accepted $2,000 in gifts and about $21,000 in external grants

- Approved changing the name of the Sociology and Social Work Department to the Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology Department

- Finalized a meeting schedule for calendar year 2013 that includes the following dates: Feb. 14-15 (retreat); May 2-3; July 11-12; Sept. 19-20; and Dec. 12-13

- Granted professor emeritus status to Cornell DeJong, social work, and Rodney Clarken, education

- Approved board standing committees, which will be chaired by the following: Sook Wilkinson, academic affairs; Stephen Gulis Jr., finance; and Rick Popp, executive

- Approved resolutions commending outgoing trustees Brian Cloyd and Jon LaSalle for their service to the board and university

Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is



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