Contract negotiations continue

Faculty and administration still discussing terms after more than one year

Ferris State University’s Faculty Association (FFA) is continuing negotiations with the Employer Negotiations Team (ENT) in hopes of reaching a possible contract settlement.

Beginning July 23, 2009, the Employer Negotiations Team (ENT) and Ferris Faculty Association (FFA) have had a total of 28 meetings to discuss a potential resolution to the negotiations.According to the ENT, Michigan’s $2 billion deficit in the general fund and an unapproved deficit in the 2010-2011budget is a critical factor in issues concerning reaching a potential contract agreement.

Junior Kevin Tran said he understands how Michigan’s bad economy has had a negative impact on the financial resources of the university. However, Tran said that negotiations between the ENT and FFA should come to a conclusion which benefits the entire institution.

“With the economy the way that it is, the only way Ferris can continue as an institution is by coming to an agreement on all sides,” said Tran. “I want to see actual progress in the future.”

On Aug. 17 2010, expecting a basis for agreement, the ENT proposed a $7.5 million four year enhanced economic offer, which also included a fifth-year option. The proposal included market adjustments increasing from $250,000 to $300,000 for each of the four years.

The proposed health care plan includes a 4 percent increase in the contributions of the university along with a reported $50,000 supplement in years containing an increase of more than ten percent.

The ENT also negotiated a contract that began with a 2 percent salary increase, which rose through the remainder of the contract to 2.25 percent, 2.5 percent and 2.75 percent.

According to a Memorandum from the ENT, this is a similar or higher increase compared to other negotiated faculty contracts at similar universities. The Memorandum states that schools such as Northern Michigan University saw no increases for both the 2010-11 and 2011-12 school years. Wayne State University maintained consistently at 2 percent for the 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12 academic year.

As both the ENT and FFA attempt to find a means of agreeing upon a sufficient contract settlement, administration, faculty and students await the final decision.