CMU faculty begins new year with ratified contract; Frey says problems of the past not forgotten

Editor's note: This is the first in a series examining issues on campus from the 2011-12 academic year.

Last fall, problems between Central Michigan University Administration and CMU Faculty Association came to a roaring boil.

This fall, relations have calmed significantly, but a tension continues to simmer the groups relations.

FA President Laura Frey said there are issues between faculty and administration that have not yet been resolved.

“On behalf of CMU FA, it is important that the administration is aware that problems continue to exist with communication, transparency, and equity of support to faculty. The fundamental issues present throughout the 2011-12 academic year have not yet been made right by the administration,” Frey said in an email to Central Michigan Life. “There were inequities in terms of treatment to faculty as well as violation of faculty constitutional rights demonstrated by this administration in early fall 2011.

"If the administration has a commitment to a positive campus community, there is a lot of ongoing conversation that has to continue throughout the next academic year.”

The FA is entering the first full academic year of the 2011-14 contract that was ratified in January.

Frey said the FA will continue to work to make sure that all aspects of the contract are implemented according to the terms of agreement.

“We continue to hope that the administration will adhere to the contract and we will work with members as issues come up with them,” she said.

Philip Squattrito, FA Grievance Committee member and professor of chemistry, said while it is possible there won’t be a lot of fireworks between faculty and administration in the upcoming academic year, it is uncertain how remaining issues will be resolved.

“I would say there are still lasting concerns among many faculty about things that happened in bargaining last time,” he said. “They may look superficially like they’re settled, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t concerns.”

Squattrito said the Grievance Committee deals with situations where it is believed the contract has been violated.

“We are always interested in making sure the contract is adhered to,” he said. “That is the key purpose of the contract.”

Although the FA is entering the first full academic year of the new contract, it’s already the second year of the 2011-14 contract. While this is a non-bargaining year, the FA will begin to gather data and recruit volunteers in preparation to bargain again in two years, Squattrito said.

“We’ve had an interesting past couple of years,” he said. “I hope that we can continue to have that kind of participation and activity among our members, and it will be that energy we can use to move forward.”

Another main focus for the FA in the fall semester is the Protect Our Jobs campaign, Frey said.

The ballot proposal would establish the right for workers in Michigan to bargain collectively with public or private employers to negotiate wages and benefits.

Frey said states across the country have passed legislation within the past year that has been an assault on workers and their right to bargain. She said the Protect Our Jobs campaign is vital to the FA because it will protect the jobs, benefits and safety of the faculty and the quality of the university.

“Not only is this fundamental to CMU, but it’s fundamental to the short term and long term economic success and the health of Michigan,” she said.


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