Judge defers decision in unfair labor practice claim

TRAVERSE CITY — Northwestern Michigan College (NMC) made the case before an administrative law judge (ALJ) today to dismiss the unfair labor practice (ULP) complaint filed by the MEA. NMC contended that the Michigan Public Employment Relations Act six-month statute of limitations had expired before the MEA filed its complaint in April.

The ALJ denied the motion without prejudice, making the next step a hearing on both the statute of limitations issue and the merits of the ULP complaint itself. Because the ALJ did not conclude that the charge was filed in a timely manner, NMC will have the opportunity to present evidence on both topics at a hearing in October. The hearing is yet to be scheduled.

The MEA’s ULP charge contends NMC wrongfully withheld raises from faculty in January 2016. However, because wages and benefits are mandatory subjects for bargaining in all union contract negotiations, NMC is restricted from unilaterally changing compensation levels without an agreement in place.

NMC will continue to bargain in good faith in an attempt to reach an agreement that is in the best interest of NMC faculty, our students, the college and the community.

Status of NMC-MEA Negotiations

Since the faculty voted to unionize in March 2015, NMC has:

  • Presented numerous written proposals and counter proposals for the union’s consideration, the first on June 12, 2015 and most recently, a comprehensive proposal and set of tentative agreements on August 19, 2016.
  • Followed established negotiating practices, engaging in 17 collective bargaining sessions with union negotiators between May 15, 2015 and March 7, 2016.
  • Requested mediation through MERC on March 7, 2016.
  • Participated in seven sessions with MERC mediators between March 22 and August 5, 2016.
  • Petitioned MERC on August 8, 2016 for fact finding analysis to advance negotiations.
  • Reached 18 tentative agreements with the union.

RELEASE DATE: August 22, 2016

For more information:

Diana Fairbanks
Executive Director of Public Relations, Marketing and Communications
(231) 995-1019
dfairbanks@nmc.edu

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