Northern Michigan University (NMU) faculty members are seeking a better employment contract after having gone through a one-year pay freeze because of the pandemic.
Dwight Brady, NMU chapter president of the American Association of University Professors (NMU-AAUP), said that the professors already “took one for the team” when they agreed to no increase in base pay and only a 1 percent bonus last year.
The contract is set to expire on June 30 and the union has made it clear that it will not settle for frozen salaries again.
“Our faculty members have worked extra hours and put themselves at risk to offer face-to-face instruction during a global pandemic. We do not think it is unreasonable to seek a fair contract that reflects the effort and commitment of our faculty,” Brady told The Daily Mining Gazette.
NMU-AAUP members rallied at the Marquette campus on Thursday to bring awareness to contract negotiations between the union and school administrators and address the latest Board of Trustees’ update.
“We were just getting started on the financial portion of negotiations when the administration informed us on April 6 that they would no longer discuss financials until after the Board of Trustees meetings at the end of the month,” said Brady.
“This means we are losing nearly a month of critical time to reach a deal on a contract, and we felt it was important to have a public show of solidarity before the end of the semester.”
The union wants a three-year contract that would place its faculty compensation on par with other regional universities in Michigan. NMU faculty currently receive the fourth lowest compensation among the state’s public institutions.
Despite the delays, NMU President Fritz Erickson has promised to see the issue through to a satisfying conclusion.
“We will continue to work through issues, including budgets, with both the board of trustees and the faculty union in a timely manner,” he said.