NMU faculty contract situation very frustrating

It appeared the ongoing stalemate between the Northern Michigan University-American Association of University Professors faculty union and NMU administration had come to an end.

Until it didn’t.

The two sides on Oct. 2 announced that a tentative agreement on the faculty contract, which expired in July and has been in mediation since, had been reached.

Turns out it wasn’t the case.

The union on Thursday issued a statement that said administration made “very little movement, often just moving money from one part of the contract to another instead of adding money to the offer.”

It indicated that to get administrative movement on the key issue of base salary raises, sacrifices in other areas of the contract were made.

This, it was reported, was unacceptable to the “greater faculty union membership.”

NMU administration on Thursday released a statement on the matter.

“Late last Friday afternoon the administration and the union did, in fact, reach a verbal tentative agreement,” administration said. “Plans were made to edit and finalize the language for signatures and dissemination to the union for review on Monday and a ratification vote to occur later that week or early the next.”

It said that on the morning of Oct. 2, the union leadership contacted the administration about developing a press release as a joint statement announcing the verbal tentative agreement. However, it learned late in the afternoon on Oct. 4 that the agreed-upon language would not be distributed to the union for their review and vote.

“Again, we are disappointed but will continue to bargain in good faith to reach an agreement,” administration said.

Without seeing exactly when on behind closed doors, we are unsure how the misunderstanding came about. We were happy to hear the original announcement that a tentative agreement had been reached, but apparently that feeling was premature.

It’s discouraging to see the two sides haven’t reached some sort of agreement, and hope they can find a resolution to their differences. Faculty needs decent pay, but NMU has to stay in good financial health.

We are still holding out hope that the situation will come to a satisfying conclusion, and the sooner the better.


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