Ferris faculty back at bargaining table for new contract

BIG RAPIDS, Mich. -- Faculty at Ferris State University will meet with school leaders at the bargaining table Tuesday and Friday, with hopes for both sides to reach an agreement.

Members of the Ferris Faculty Association have spent the last five weeks working without a contract.

Just last week, faculty members held a vote of no-confidence in university President David Eisler.

The Board of Trustees responded to that vote, saying the vote was a tactic used to pressure the university during contract negotiations.

"With contract negotiations scheduled to resume next week, it is imperative that both sides come to the table ready and willing to do what is best for the entire university community," board chairman Paul E. Boyer said.

"We urge negotiation teams from both sides to remain at the bargaining table until a tentative agreement is reached so faculty can receive the salaries and benefits of the next contract without further delay," Boyer said.

The board went on to say it urges both sides to come to the table ready and willing to do what's best for the university and its students.

"I encourage the FFA to return to the bargaining table, negotiate and help the faculty they represent get a contract," President Eisler said in a statement. "The university is ready to meet with them and will meet every day until we reach an agreement."

Faculty is asking for a nearly three percent annual salary increase, but the university is only willing to give a less than 2.5 percent raise for the first three years. Here is a full breakdown of the faculty proposal versus the university's proposal:

FFA Proposal
  1. Three-year contract.
  2. 2.75 percent salary increase each year.
  3. $300,000 Supplemental Market Adjustment each year, which is approximately an additional 0.75 percent salary increase per year.
  4. Increase in health care contributions to reach the hard cap maximum with retroactive payments for all of 2018 for those eligible.
  5. Additional 3 percent increase per year for ancillary medical benefits (dental, vision, etc.).
  6. Increase in overload pay from $85 to $95.
  7. Change in the benefit plan year to Jan. 1 in lieu of July 1.
University Proposal
  1. Five-year contract.
  2. 2.25 percent salary increase each year for the first three years, followed by a 2.50 percent salary increase for years four and five.
  3. No Supplemental Market Adjustment (ended when the contract expired June 30, 2018
  4. Increase the University’s contributions to health care to the state’s hard cap maximum.
  5. Increase ancillary medical benefits by 3 percent each year.
  6. Increase overload pay in year four of the contract to $90 and in year five to $95.
  7. Change the benefit plan year to Jan. 1.

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