MARQUETTE — Just days ago teacher contract talks at NMU had gone from bad to worse. Faculty at Northern Michigan University are currently without a contract. But after at a meeting held just hours ago, they have reached a tentative verbal agreement.
After months of frustration, talks, rally’s, more meetings and even a state mediator being brought in, there is finally a beginning to the end of the six month long saga.
“The mediator came and initially it didn’t seem like it did much good,” said AAUP President Rebecca Mead, “but this morning the chief negotiator for the administration called our chief negotiator and said let’s make a deal.”
The points of contention centered around pay and health care. The prior contract the NMU board proposed would have cost the average faculty member about twenty five hundred dollars per year due to health care and some teachers were ready to quit their jobs.
“I believe that today we made a break through,” said Chief Contract Negotiator Brent Graves, “and have a tentatively proposed deal that is a break even for the faculty financially and creates some new processes that will allow the faculty and the administration to work together.”
Due to new state laws contract extensions were not an option. The negotiations will not cause any changes to summer classes. The proposal will go through the board to be voted on soon. The Union Chief Contract Negotiator added that this is a step in the right direction, but a lot of work is still left to be done before everything is settled.