Posted: April 7, 1998

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

State university faculty union leaders should come back to the bargaining table before conducting a strike authorization vote, the chief labor negotiator for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system said today.

MnSCU has asked a state mediator to call the parties back together in order to try to work out a contract settlement, said Anne Weyandt, MnSCU negotiator.

"We believe our differences are not that great," Weyandt said. AWe remain optimistic that we can work them out through the normal process."

Weyandt said the most recent MnSCU salary offer is one that faculty members should seriously consider.

"Our latest offer C a 3.7 percent raise for this current year plus another 4.2 percent raise next year C is fair and equitable," she said. "The current average MnSCU faculty salary of $48,600 is at or above the average nationally and regionally for faculty salaries at comparable public four-year institutions," Weyandt said.

Weyandt pointed out that the Chronicle of Higher Education reported this week that faculty salaries nationally have increased by an average of 3.4 percent, more than twice the rate of inflation. Nationwide, the average faculty salary increase for colleges that offer bachelor's and master's degrees was only 2.8 percent.

"Because we are a public institution, we need to keep in mind the issue of affordability both for the taxpayers and for the students," Weyandt said. "We want our state universities to remain places where students can get a quality education at an affordable price."

While MnSCU wants to return to the bargaining table, Weyandt also pointed out that the conducting of a strike authorization vote does not necessarily mean that a strike will occur. "A strike vote is just one step in the bargaining process," she said.