The United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) Local 2178 union recently reached an agreement with the university and finalized their new ratified labor contract that will be in effect for the next three years.
NMU’s Board of Trustees approved the UAW Local 2178 contract via conference call to finalize the changes for the contract that took effect on Monday, Oct. 1, according to Jon Barch, president of UAW Local 2178.
The UAW Local 2178 is a union on campus that represents the administrative professionals that are employed at NMU.
The union, which represents 178 employees, voted 106-6 in favor of the new contract around late September, according to an NMU press release.
“When working on the financial aspects of the contract, we followed a very formal process of proposal by one-side, private discussions, responses with the new proposal from other side, etc.,” Barch said. “Both teams were very firm, but respectful, in their positions.”
One of the specific changes that was made to the contract is a significant increase in the employee contribution costs related to their health care, including doubling of costs for things such as deductibles and co-pays.
“There is now an increase from a $1,600 premium contribution from each employee to a $2,300 premium contribution,” Barch said. “This was a big loss in compensation for our members; however we understand why the university proposed it.”
To partially offset the compensation loss, the union negotiated a $400 annually-funded Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) to pay for some of the deductibles and co-pays, as well as a $500 base salary increase, said Barch.
To keep up with inflation and to compensate for the lack of raises in recent years, the union also negotiated a small base salary increase of two percent, 2.25 percent and two percent for years one, two and three, according to Barch.
The university is pleased that the negotiations for this contract moved along very quickly, said Cindy Paavola, NMU director of Communications and Marketing.
“The employees that make up the administrative and professional union play a critical role to the university,” Paavola said. “They take care of technological aspects, the student services portion and administrative and business operations. It’s great that this contract was able to be agreed upon by both sides.”