The FFA (Ferris Faculty Association) and Ferris administrators have reached a tentative three-year contract agreement.
Both parties agreed to terms of a new contract during Thursday’s bargaining meeting. Jim Rumpf, President of the FFA, said an offer was made to the administrative side. After a nearly two hour discussion, an agreement was made on the proposal.
“The administration wanted a five-year contract, but because of the uncertainty in health care costs, we could not go over three years,” said Rumpf.
An agreement was also made to distribute a copy of the proposed contract to all FFA members. Each member must have a copy for five days. Rumpf said they would schedule a meeting for the contract to be ratified by the Board of Trustees in order for it to be official.
Communications Officer and spokesperson for the administration Marc Sheehan said the economic environment made it very difficult to negotiate a contract.
“I think the key was shortening the length of the proposed agreement from fourth-fifth year to a three-year agreement,” said Sheehan.
Chase Haberman, a sophomore in pre-pharmacy, understands why both teams would have a difficult time agreeing on a contract.
“I think stuff like this is bound to come up if they have to come up with a new contract so often, but I can see why the FFA would be nervous to set a long term contract in stone with this economy,” said Haberman. “It’s a vicious cycle that is unlikely to end anytime soon.”
Sheehan said with all factors combined and low state spending, the increases in salary, although modest, were very competitive.
“If faculty members are looking at that and the economy, it’s a tough time to look at gains in any kind of salary right now.”
Sheehan said they would also like to have tuition less than it is right now.
“As a university, we understand that education is difficult these days and we’re doing what can to keep that cost down for students,” said Sheehan. “It’s a challenge.”
As for the agreement, Sheehan said the percent increases are the base salary for faculty members. There are additional funds, called salary market adjustments, for faculty in particular. There are also funds to compensate Departments below the national average.
The ratification of the contract will be finalized when both the FFA set their vote and the Board of Trustees schedule a vote to make the contract official.
Rumpf said he believes there are definite ways the contract could have been improved, but, “it’s the best we can do at this particular point.”