Traverse City News and Events

NMC Files For Fact Finding In Faculty Union Negotiations

Jan. 24, 2019

Northwestern Michigan College (NMC) announced on Wednesday that it had filed a “Petition for Fact Finding” with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC), in hopes of finishing up contract negotiations with faculty members. The college and the NMC Faculty Association -- the faculty union -- have been working to come up with an agreeable contract. The most recent contracts between NMC and the NMC Faculty Association officially expired on December 31.
 
Negotiations officially began on September 21 and continued with weekly sessions throughout the fall. NMC says “progress has been made on most non-economic areas” of the contract, including “34 tentative agreements” on matters such as academic responsibilities, faculty evaluations, and sabbaticals.
 
However, the contract negotiations have left NMC and the NMC Faculty Association at an “impasse” on wages and other economic issues. Most recently, the college proposed salary increases with steps ranging from 3.2 percent to 17 percent for three years. NMC says these raises would, over the course of a three-year contract, cost the college $542,812.
 
The NMC Faculty Association, meanwhile, is proposing an immediate four percent wage increase across the board, plus step increases for each of the three years of the contract. NMC says this plan would give faculty members raises between 12.49 percent and 25.5 percent over the course of the three-year contract, and would cost the college a total of $1.2 million.
 
NMC shared these details and numbers in its Petition for Fact Finding to MERC. The Fact Finding process will see the state appoint an impartial third-party representative to review the contract negotiations and “create a non-binding report on the remaining disputes.” The concept is for the Fact Finder to hear both sides of the issue from the involved parties and provide a written recommendation to help the parties settle. According to MERC, if there is no settlement after this process, the employer “may implement terms of Last Best Offer.”

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