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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Opinion — Its okay to outgrow your college friends
Opinion — It's okay to outgrow your college friends
Megan PoeApril 12, 2024

AP Union settles on three-year contract

The administrative/professional (AP) union, UAW Local 2178, ratified a new three-year contract this month, with the first year of the contract being from Oct. 1, 2009 to Sept. 30, 2010 and the second year of the contract going into effect Oct. 1, 2010.

The last contract ended in Sept. of 2009 and a new contract has been in discussion since. Due to disagreements among members of the union and a new compensation system, the union rejected two other proposed contracts this past year.

According to Kathy Godec, the AP union president, the ratified contract would give union members a $425 bonus for the first year (October 2009-September 2010), a 1.5% salary increase the second, and the contract will be re-examined in the third year.

“We have an economic reopener (in the third year) because there may or may not be money,” said Godec. “We’re hoping that the economy in the nation and in the state picks up.”

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The contract will also begin a change in the classification system, from an internal system used by NMU to a system used by other universities. Salaries will be based on the average of what others at the universities in the same employment position make. The change to this new system is the main reason the contract took so long to be ratified, Godec said.

“It has taken some time to iron out those details,” said Godec.

She also said the change in the system will allow NMU to recruit new employees competitively and offer salaries comparable with other universities.

Another part of the contract will decrease the amount of retirement funds for employees hired after Oct. 1. Jon Barch, Assistant Director of the Center for Student Enrichment at NMU and member of the bargaining committee for the union, said he does not agree with this part of the contract.

“Bottom line is I don’t think we should be taking away people’s retirement funds,” said Barch. “I just don’t think it’s right.”

Although Barch disagreed to that part of the contract, he did support the rest.

“I voted for the contract,” Barch said. “I think it’s the best we’re going to get right now.”

According to Barch, the second proposed contract was turned down mostly because they were going to change the retirement funds of current employees.

Barch said the contract agreement was reached by picking bargainers. Bargainers are people on the elected bargainer committee that represent the members of the union at the meeting. Also in attendance at the meetings are the director of Human Resources and a team of senior administrators (non-union employees that supervise the AP members), said Barch. There is also a union representative outside of the university who attends on behalf of the union.

The contract will have to be approved by the Board of Trustees in order to take effect and is on the agenda of the September meeting. Both Barch and Godec said they believe it will be passed.

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