NMU faculty union discusses possibility of going on strike

Talks of a strike come as mediated discussions continue with university administration over faculty contracts.
Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 7:00 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Northern Michigan University faculty are looking at the possibility of going on strike.

The faculty union discussed the topic on Thursday during its regular meeting, as part of ongoing contract negotiations. Union President Dwight Brady says members talked about the ramifications of authorizing a strike.

“Today’s meeting does not mean that we are going on strike,” said Brady. “It simply means that we are taking the temperature of the faculty to see what their disposition is with regard to going on strike.”

While Brady says he hopes faculty are not faced with having to go through with a strike, it could become necessary. According to union members, mediated negotiations with NMU administration are not moving as quickly as they would like.

However, in an interview with TV6′s Don Ryan, university President Fritz Erickson said discussions with the mediator are going well.

“The great thing is we share a common goal,” Erickson said. “The common goal that we have is to do the best we can for our faculty because they are the central point of connection with students.”

When asked if a potential strike concerns him, Erickson said he believes an agreement can be made regardless of if the union decides to strike.

“I don’t think it’s going to have a big impact on us completing negotiations,” he said. “I think we’re going to be able to complete them in fairly short order, whether there’s an authorization or not an authorization.”

At the faculty meeting, union members discussed what grounds they could have for striking.

“As public employees, we cannot strike legally for financial reasons, but we can strike for unfair labor practices,” Brady said. “That’s what we’ll talk over with membership, if we have just cause for that type of thing.”

The union concluded its meeting with a vote to determine how members feel about a possible strike. Ballots will be accepted until September 6, and results should be calculated soon after.

UPDATE: Union leaders calculated the final tally just before 6:00 p.m. on Friday, September 3. 183 members voted in support of giving the union authorization to strike, and 35 voted against it.

You can watch Don Ryan’s full interview with President Erickson on Sunday, September 5, at 7:30 a.m. eastern time on the Ryan Report.

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