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FA, CMU to have motion hearing Thursday, FA expects CMU to impose contract terms in future

An injunction signed by Isabella County Circuit Court Judge Paul H. Chamberlain expires today, allowing the Faculty Association to issue a job action, including a strike, as it did on Aug. 22.

Central Michigan University and the FA have a motion hearing at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at the Isabella County Courthouse, 200 N. Main St., with Chamberlain.

In an email to faculty obtained by Central Michigan Life, FA President Laura Frey said the university is trying to make the injunction permanent.

The motion will also be heard on the location of the PA 54 lawsuit, according to the email.

The FA is challenging PA 54, which prevents public employees from earning “wage step increases” after the expiration of a contract.

About 40 CMU faculty members have been affected by this law, and CMU is trying to change the venue of the PA 54 lawsuit from Isabella to Ingham County, Frey told CM Life in previous reports.

CMU made its final offer Nov. 11 and rejected the FA’s counter offer last week.

In his recommendation, Fact-finder Barry Goldman favored the university on salary and benefits and the FA in retirement and promotion issues.

In the university’s final offer, CMU adopted all of Goldman’s recommendations, including a pay freeze for one year and modest increases for the following two. It also allowed FA members to keep MESSA as a primary insurance provider until June 30, 2012, under certain conditions.

The FA proposed a one-year contract, instead of three, and agreed to a one-year pay freeze. The FA also withdrew its proposal for a $600 signing bonus for 12-month faculty.

“We thought that offering a one-year tentative agreement that included every concession from the faculty that the administration demanded would allow all of CMU to move forward,” Frey said in a press release. “In doing so, it also would provide a longer cooling-off period before the teams return to the table next year to begin work on a new three-year contract.”

CMU is standing by its final offer, and encourages the FA to take the proposal to a membership vote, Director of Public Relations Steve Smith said in a press release.

Frey said the FA has expected CMU to impose contract conditions all along, and its final offer is likely positioning for that.

However, there is no set legal timeline which determines when this can take place.

“The case law provides that ‘neither PERA (Public Employee Relations Act) nor the labor mediation act provide specific limits on the number of days which must pass after fact-finding before the public employer may unilaterally implement its last best offer,’ and, thus, a reasonable period of time should pass before implementation,” CMU General Counsel Manuel Rupe said in an email, referencing a 1986 case, AFSCME Council 25 v. Wayne County.

If the administration impose the conditions, they will be making a very poor decision showing disrespect for students and faculty, Frey said.

The FA will hold a membership meeting at 7 p.m. Sunday in the Mount Pleasant High School Auditorium, 1155 S. Elizabeth St.

FA President Laura Frey said the topic for the meeting is not finalized.

The FA will gather outside Warriner Hall from 7:30 to 8:15 a.m. today to show solidarity, said Frey in the email.

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