CMU officials, CMUPD reach tentative bargaining agreement

Central Michigan University and CMUPD have reached a tentative three-year bargaining agreement.

Details of the agreement cannot be released per restrictions placed on the bargaining process, said Kevin Smart, director of employee relations at CMU. The Police Officers Association of Michigan, which has represented CMUPD as the department's union for more than 20 years, will present the tentative agreement to the 16 members of the union on Tuesday for a vote.

"Generally, the way the bargaining process works is 60 days prior to the (end of the contract), the two groups will get together," Smart said. "At some point in the process, the two groups will come to a tentative agreement."

If the union ratifies the agreement, he added, Smart will then present it to Lori Hella, the associate vice president of Human Resources. After Hella, the agreement will then switch hands to Barrie Wilkes, vice president of Finance and Administrative Services, to look over the agreement one last time. Once finalized, University President George Ross will sign off on the agreement.

Smart said the negotiation process can take as long as it needs to come to a complete agreement.

"The faculty are going through the same thing," he said. "Each bargaining team has to go back to their constituents. That's a very key part of the process."

Dan Kuhn, a business agent for POAM and the representative for CMUPD, said he believes Right to Work will not affect the negotiations. Public Act 312 exempts police and fire fighters of municipalities from the option of Right to Work.

However, CMUPD does not fall under that act.

"If they wanted to opt out, they could opt out," Kuhn said. "They probably won't, though. Our membership has grown. This is going to effect bigger unions like the Teamsters and Michigan Education Association. It has not hurt our unit whatsoever."

The new contract between CMU and CMUPD will contain Right to Work language, Kuhn added. He will recommend the tentative agreement to the unit.

"We'll see what happens in the coming weeks," Kuhn said. "I expect them to vote on it in the next week."

Much like the faculty negotiations, Smart said the bargaining relationship between CMU and the police has been "outstanding."

"The POAM represents a lot of units across Michigan," he said. "There are two other unions in Michigan (for police.) In my view, the relationships are very strong and effective."

Smart said he hopes to have some more details on the new contract by the end of the day on Tuesday after the union members vote.

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