UAW continues to negotiate with administration

Adelle Whitefoot

Members of UAW Local 1950 still have not settled on a contract with administration after six months of negotiation.

According to Michelle Kimball, UAW Local 1950 union president, the administration’s best offer is zero percent cost of living adjustments to salary for the next three years. Kimball said she feels like the administration is holding out on the union members.

“We ask for a bunch of financial information about the university and sent it to our international office to crunch the numbers,” Kimball said. “Once we get our information back from the international office, we’ll know for sure.”

According to Kimball, they plan on having a new proposal for the administration by March 27.

The administration is demanding that the health benefits cut become retroactive, which would require the secretarial staff to pay back part of their health care package for this year, Kimball said in an email.

“Health care is a nation-wide issue, and it’s not the university’s fault,” Kimball said. “But it is their fault that they won’t pay us enough to afford health insurance.”

According to Kimball, in the past, the university had a policy that anyone who wanted to opt out of health insurance through NMU had to prove that they would to be covered by another company.

Now, an employee that wants to drop their health insurance can just walk in to human resources and do so without any problems, Kimball said.

“They changed the policy knowing that some people would not be able to afford the new health care plan,” Kimball said.

According to Kimball, by changing the health care plan and not making a cost of living adjustment, earnings of new employees in the union would be pushed below minimum wage.

“Members of this union need our support to obtain a living wage,” Kimball said in an email. “Full-time employees at a public university should not live in poverty.”

The union held another informational picket on Thursday, March 1 outside of Cohodas. The first one was on Feb. 7 outside the University Center, and they are planning another one for Wednesday, March 21 on the corner of Wright Street and Tracy Avenue.

“Members are supporting each other and are really rallying together,” Kimball said. “It’s really great to see.”