Southwestern Michigan College and Full-time Faculty Headed to Mediation
Months of negotiations between Southwestern Michigan College and its full-time faculty have gotten the two sides nowhere in contract negotiations. Now a mediator will work with both parties in an attempt to find a resolution. The college issued the request for mediation and called on the Michigan Employment Relations Commission for assistance.
Most of the full-time faculty at the school unionized in January 2018 after concerns regarding a variety of issues including a change to the schedule and disclosures about the school’s president’s compensation were raised. The changes to the schedule included a lengthening of the fall schedule and a shorter winter break.
According to the president, the negotiations so far have produced nearly two dozen tentative agreements on individual issues, but there has been no progress on an overall agreement. Three additional negotiation sessions are schedule despite the school calling on assistance from a third-party mediator. There was no statement made on what issues are causing a holdup in progress.
Union representatives issued a statement welcoming mediation. The statement also said, “While we have certainly been able to reach tentative agreements on certain key issues facing the college, such as an academic calendar which previously put us out of step with other colleges in the region, there are still major concerns that we believe will only be solved with outside assistance.”
The most recent board meeting for the school updated attendees regarding the negotiations and the upcoming mediation, and gave information about updates that are scheduled to occur around the school’s campus.