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NMU faculty want raises after a one-year pay freeze

Northern Michigan University campus entry sign photo

Professors at Northern Michigan University are looking for a better contract after they say they took “one for the team” during the pandemic and agreed to a one-year pay freeze.

Faculty held signs during a rally last week at the Marquette campus to bring attention to contract talks between the union and NMU administrators, The Mining Journal reported.

Union leader Dwight Brady said NMU has proposed a two-year contract with no increase in base pay along with a 1% bonus. The current contract expires June 30.

“Last year, we took one for the team and settled for a pay freeze and reduced compensation for summer and overload pay because of COVID,” Brady said. “However, we cannot and will not accept essentially frozen salaries again.

“Our faculty members have worked extra hours and put themselves at risk to offer face-to-face instruction during a global pandemic,” he said.

Chief negotiator Lesley Putnam said NMU has saved money by not replacing retired professors. She said the school also is getting millions of dollars in COVID-19 relief from the federal government.

“We will continue to work through issues, including budgets, with both the board of trustees and the faculty union in a timely manner,” NMU President Fritz Erickson said.