NMU faculty agrees to five-year contract; still needs final approval

For the contract to be finalized, it must be approved by the NMU Board of Trustees. That is expected to happen as soon as this week.
Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 6:52 PM EST
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - A contract agreement for NMU faculty could get final approval this week.

After months of rallying, and 130 days without a contract, NMU’s faculty union has agreed on a new contract.

“Relief that it’s finally over because it’s gone on for a very long time,” said Dr. Lesley Putman, NMU Faculty Union Chief Negotiator.

On Monday night, the union voted 197 to 30 to approve the agreement.

The new deal would last five years. In it, faculty would return to pre-pandemic pay for teaching more than 12 credits. The union asked for new faculty to get paid closer to market value. That was removed from the deal in favor of pay raises for all faculty.

Putman has said lower pay has led to failed searches for new staff.

“For me, that was disappointing because I think that’s an important thing moving forward for the university,” said Putman. “But it doesn’t affect everybody.”

For the contract to be finalized, it must be approved by the NMU Board of Trustees. Putman expects that to happen as soon as this week.

A university spokesperson saying in part, “NMU is pleased with the outcome” and that “a deep debt of gratitude is sincerely owed to the members of all the negotiating teams for their hard work”.

Putman says faculty are relieved the agreement is done, but disappointed it took so long.

“We had to work without a contract so that was frustrating and just not knowing if we were ever going to get to an agreement,” said Putman. “So it’s been frustrating, but when it’s done there’s definitely a sense of relief.”

Putman says faculty look forward to teaching without contentious contract negotiations and thank the community for its support.

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