February 12, 2009
Tentative labor agreement reached with state university faculty, Minnesota State Colleges and UniversitiesContact: Melinda Voss, (651) 296-9443, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Inter Faculty Organization, which represents more than 3,000 faculty members at Minnesota’s seven state universities, and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system today reached a tentative labor agreement that calls for no across-the-board salary increases or annual step increases for the next two years.
The agreement would leave current terms and conditions in place.
The IFO Board of Directors will review the tentative agreement Friday and make a recommendation to the faculty at large, who must approve the agreement if it is to take effect. It will then be forwarded to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees for approval.
The tentative agreement came early in the contract negotiations. The current contract with the IFO is set to expire June 30, 2009.
“The IFO team believes that this is a proposal that is appropriate for these extraordinary times,” said Rod Henry, IFO president. “With millions of people being laid off and taking pay cuts, and with an unprecedented state budget shortfall, the IFO team believed that the usual contract bargaining process would get in the way of providing stability for our universities, the students and public they serve. We also want to focus on saving faculty jobs.”
He added, “We know that an inability to accurately project finances over the next few years could require more layoffs, open positions, or greater losses for our universities. We know that the long-term commitment we make to our students and their families for the timely completion of a quality, reasonably-priced education is put in jeopardy by last-minute layoffs or hires.”
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Chancellor James McCormick praised the efforts of the IFO to reach an early tentative agreement.
“This will allow the presidents of the state universities to have some certainty as they plan for budget cuts for the next two years,” he said. “We are hopeful that maintaining salaries at current levels will result in fewer layoffs and fewer severe program cuts than they otherwise would have planned.”
Minnesota's 31 state community and technical colleges, and universities serve more than 420,000 students across the state.