Employees Address Board
The NMU Board of Trustees’ regular session this morning opened with comments from four employees and a former student who filed advance requests to address the board. Michelle Kimball (AIS-Library), president of UAW Local 1950, is pictured during her presentation.
Other employees who spoke included John MacDevitt (Counseling and Consultation Services), Ron Sundell (Earth, Environmental and Geographical Sciences), president of the NMU chapter of AAUP, and Frankie McCormick (Chemistry). Their concerns focused on salary and benefit issues associated with current contract negotiations and the impact of faculty understaffing on the student academic experience.
McCormick (Chemistry) said her department has been unable to meet demand for CH321, an organic chemistry course, for the past four years and has a current waiting list of 30. “A one-year position has been approved, but we need additional full-time faculty to keep pace with the growth. There is not a local population of trained chemists to hire. Many of the science courses have prerequisites—often more than one. Retention rates may drop if students can’t get the courses they need. Funding may be impacted because STEM degrees awarded and four-year graduation rates will surely be important. Recruitment may suffer as well if it is reflected that NMU is unable to accommodate students’ needs.”
Addressing the UAW Local 1950 negotiations, Kimball said one-third of her union members have taken on second jobs and 8-13 percent benefit from state aid: “Now factor in the proposed health care insurance with its $1,000 a year in out-of-pocket risk plus 10 percent co-pays on top of a $2,400 per year premium cost. For the 45 employees in my group earning less than $24,000 per year, that claims more than 10 percent of their gross salary. That makes health insurance unattainable. Please don’t let health insurance become an elitist issue on campus.”