NMU faculty union members receive wage increases

By Journal Staff

MARQUETTE — An agreement has been approved by Northern Michigan University administration and leadership of the university’s faculty union concerning wage increases.

The memorandum of understanding stipulates a 6.25% wage increase in the upcoming fiscal year that begins July 1 and a 2.75% increase in the second year beginning July 1, 2025, which is also the final year of the current five-year contract. This proposal affects nearly 400 employees of the university consisting of about 300 full-time faculty and 100 contingent faculty.

These rates replace the current 2.5% yearly increase originally negotiated for the period.

NMU President Brock Tessman said that in November 2021, Northern entered into an agreement with the American Association of University Professors-American Federation of Teachers faculty that allowed for a reopener on wages for the fiscal year 2024-25.

Last Friday morning, the NMU Board of Trustees approved the agreement. Tessman said the board and the NMU administration are “very pleased to be able to continue to offer market competitive wages for our faculty members as we know that they often go above and beyond to help our students succeed.”

“I truly appreciate the good-faith process that took place back in 2021 to include a wage reopener option and the successful discussions that have taken place resulting in this MOU,” Tessman added. “With more stable enrollment and state appropriation funding than was the case in 2021, we are able to financially recognize their outstanding work in this manner.”

According to Rick Mengyan, president of NMU’s AAUP/AFT faculty union and member of the negotiating team for the agreement, the MOU will use a sliding-scale system, giving greater percentage increases to lower-salaried faculty as a way to provide the most assistance where there is the most need. He said the wage reopener article was one of the last compromises introduced in the original agreement.

“Ultimately, this reopener language got us to a ratified agreement in 2021 despite the significant contention during the nearly year-long negotiations that included months of mediation,” said Mengyan. “We appreciate that NMU’s current administration was willing to take a completely different approach by engaging in collegial and open discussions regarding increasing base compensation for AAUP faculty.

While there is still a gap between where our faculty will be with this agreement and catching up with inflation, we recognize that the administration’s willingness to work together and their starting to invest in our AAUP/AFT faculty are huge steps in the right direction to building on a foundation for better working conditions.

Remember, faculty working conditions are student learning conditions.”


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