FFA approves collective bargaining agreement

FFA votes in favor, two months after previous contract's expiration

After months of contract discussions and negotiation, the Ferris Faculty Association voted to approve a five-year collective bargaining agreement.

Starting at last Thursday’s general assembly meeting, the FFA engaged in a two-day long vote that concluded at 5 p.m. on Aug. 26. The contract will now be transferred to Ferris’ board of trustees for further approval and ratification.

Associate Provost Steve Reifert, who represents the administration in contract negotiation, has been consistently pleased with the conduct of his meetings with members of the FFA.

“I can’t necessarily speak for all, but I know that the administration is very pleased [with] the way we resolve this and very pleased with the vote of the faculty. [The administration] is looking forward and moving forward to have a great academic year,” Reifert said.

Reifert explained that the contract is “never done” until all voting is complete. The full contract will only be made publicly available dependent on the results of the board of trustee’s vote. Their next regular meeting is scheduled for Oct. 6, but Reifert predicts that the vote will be conducted sooner. He also predicts minimal challenges in getting the contract approved by the board.

The new contract is set to include changes in economic packages from faculty healthcare coverage to promotion and merit.

While Reifert called the changes made in this year’s contract “needed, important and valuable for both sides,” FFA Vice President John Caserta expressed a less positive perspective on the great compromise of a faculty contract.

“The new CBA falls short of giving the faculty the full respect that they deserve for the work and leadership they provide to the students and university,” Caserta said in a comment submitted to the Torch. “The administration continues to harbor the myth that it is their money.  They callously have forgotten that it is the dedicated work of the faculty that provides the money for their overpaid salaries.”

FFA President Charles Bacon was unavailable for comment on this story.

Despite Caserta’s dissatisfaction with the contents of the contract, multiple sources have expressed contentment with the nature of this contract cycle’s discussions. At this time five years ago, students’ first week of the fall semester was interrupted by a faculty strike. Bacon has previously referred to a strike as a failed negotiation.

Both Bacon and Reifert previously attributed this year’s progress in contract negotiation to their early start during the spring semester and the absence of outside attorneys at the negotiation table.

Pending the results of the board of trustees vote and approval of the new collective bargaining agreement, the Torch will continue to follow this story with more details on the contract’s contents.