Posted: June 19, 1998
Contact: Doug Anderson, firstname.lastname@example.org, 651-201-1426
Despite a final offer that would have given state university faculty members pay raises equal to or better than those received by technical or community college faculty, talks between Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and the Inter Faculty Organization broke off Friday with no agreement and no plans for further meetings.
In its final offer, MnSCU abandoned a proposal to allow more flexibility in the hiring of adjunct professors to temporarily replace faculty members on extended leave. That action left faculty salary as the only issue left to resolve.
"We heard over and over, through letters and e-mails, that this dispute was not about money," said MnSCU chancellor Morris J. Anderson. "We listened to those who said they felt we were not respecting faculty members because of the proposal regarding adjunct professors. I am saddened and disappointed that removal of that issue did not result in a settlement."
MnSCU's final offer would have increased faculty salaries by 10 percent over two years. The raises would have boosted average state university faculty salaries from the current average of $53,400 to $59,000. The most highly paid state university professors would have seen their salaries rise from $93,000 to more than $102,000.
Anne Weyandt, chief negotiator for MnSCU, said the proposed salary increase is nearly double the average salary increase granted to faculty at similar institutions nationally. The proposed increase is equal to or better than any other faculty salary settlement in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.
"Our final offer is a very fair and equitable proposal," Weyandt said. "We went as far as we could go without seriously endangering programs and cutting services to students." Salary increases above the final offer almost certainly would result in faculty layoffs and tuition increases on the campuses of the seven state universities.
Though no new talks are scheduled, Weyandt said, "We remain committed to listening and responding to faculty considerations that are within the context of a settlement that is reasonable and affordable from a campus perspective."
The Inter Faculty Organization represents about 1,800 faculty members at seven state universities. MnSCU has reached settlements with two other major faculty union representing technical and community college faculty at 29 state colleges.