Ferris State, faculty negotiating labor deal – classes start Monday
BIG RAPIDS, Mich. – Fall classes start Monday at Ferris State University, and bargainers for the university and Ferris Faculty Association are trying to hammer out an agreement before then.
The two sides began labor negotiations in May, and resumed Wednesday with the assistance of State Mediator Fred Vocino. In a news release, the university says the talks have focused primarily on economic issues, with the FFA seeking pay hikes of 6 percent annually over the next three years. The prior pact expired June 30.
FSU says it’s offered pay raises of 1.5 percent for each of the next five years, plus annual “supplemental market adjustments” totaling $300,000 per year – for an an average total compensation package exceeding 2.25 percent per year.
University bargainers say tuition, room and board need to be “competitive”, because the FSU student debt load is “among the highest in the state for public universities.”
The FFA has sought 6-percent annual hikes, according to the university, which says that would result in tuition rising by about 12 percent, or $1,560.
“This is obviously a burden we cannot ask our students to bear,” says University Budget Director Sally DePew.
FSU’s director of Labor Relations, Steve Stratton, adds: “With the projected decline in high school graduates, the market is tightening. Universities are being forced to adjust staffing and budgets to keep higher education affordable for students and their families.”