NMU faculty contract mediation begins

Faculty at NMU have been working without a contract for 19 days now.
Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 6:34 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - A state mediator is helping with stalled contract negotiations for faculty at Northern Michigan University.

The faculty union at NMU requested the mediator, as they have been working without a contract for 19 days now.

The president of the faculty union, Dwight Brady, says in the 25 years he’s been at the university, a state meditator has never been brought in for faculty negotiations until now.

“We want to get back to doing what we do best and that’s focusing on what we do in the classroom,” said Dwight Brady, NMU Faculty Union President.

Day one of mediation in NMU’s faculty contract negotiations is complete. During seven hours of talks on Monday, the faculty union says the mediator found out what was important to both sides.

Another mediation session is scheduled for Monday, July 26 to discuss the contract in detail.

“Really it’s not that scary in the fact that you are just bringing in someone from the outside who is an objective contributor to the discussion,” said Brady.

Brady says the top goal remains increasing faculty pay after agreeing to take a one-year freeze on salaries last year.

“We did that during a COVID year, during a very unique situation, and we did not intend for those cuts to be permanent,” said Brady.

NMU declined our request for an interview and instead released a statement saying, “After one session of mediation, the administration is optimistic of a timely resolution of a new contract for the faculty at Northern.”

With the first day of classes five weeks away, the faculty union hopes to have negotiations complete before then.

“Certainly, we would like to have this resolved as soon as possible, but we want to make sure we have a fair contract that our membership will support,” said Brady.

Under Michigan law faculty continue get paid and show up for work under the last contract. However, they lose the right to grievances and arbitration until a new agreement is reached.

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