MARQUETTE — Negotiations between NMU American Association of University Professors union members and the NMU administration continue. A meeting that lasted more than two hours between the groups was held on Friday, leaving a lot more work to be done. We caught up with union representatives today for the very latest on the negotiations.
NMU President Dr. Fritz Erickson addressed a large group of faculty to talk about the contract proposal that is on the table. Dr. Erickson said that he was conveying the position of the Board of Trustees and that they were using comparisons with other universities in the offer.
“In many ways, being told that this is the best you’re going to get or this is as good as other universities, and about the same; there may be something to that,” said Rebecca Mead, president of the AAUP NMU Chapter. But at the same time we’re being asked to accept a contract that will have a net loss for us and that just doesn’t set well.”
The Board of Trustees has offered the teachers a ten percent pay increase over five years, which the union says does not offer them a fair cost of living increase. The union also says that the new health care plan is only beneficial if you are single and you don’t actually use it.
“Much of our message is about the fact that it’s not just about money, although that’s always important, it’s also about other issues like working conditions and job security and things like that. Feeling like people appreciate your work and don’t take you for granted. These things affect not just us but the entire university and its effective function,” added Mead.
The union team presented a new proposal today and is waiting on a response from the board. The NMU administration meets on Wednesday AAUP has a meeting on Thursday where they are hoping to have an update for teachers.