Havre Daily News
Members of the Montana State University-Northern faculty union last week voted to approve a new two-year contract.
The contract includes retroactive pay increases for faculty members, creates policy for tuition waivers for employees' spouses and children, and sets compensation for faculty overseeing independent or directed studies.
Federation of Teachers Local 4045 president Roger Stone said the agreement works well for faculty members.
“We had a good deal,” he said.
Of the 67 faculty members eligible to vote, 33 voted for the agreement and three voted against it, he said.
“In talking to one of the past presidents, it's actually a good turnout,” Stone said.
The agreement includes a state Legislature- and Board of Regents-approved raise of 3.5 percent this year and 4 percent next year. The raises are retroactive to Oct. 1. Each faculty member will receive the percentage raise, or raises of $1,005 this year and $1,188 next year, whichever is greater.
The union had initially asked for raises as high as 7.5 percent and 8 percent, retroactive to Aug. 1. The contract expired June 30.
The university and union have been negotiating since October.
The agreement also set eligibility policy for the partial tuition waivers available for employees' dependents. Faculty members who have been employed at three-quarters time for at least five consecutive years can receive a 50 percent tuition waiver for their spouses or unmarried children under the age of 24.
Faculty will be paid $100 per student credit hour for independent and directed studies, according to the agreement. If an instructor oversees one student taking a three-credit course, that faculty member would be paid $300.
Both parties agreed on a measure that would allow faculty members to keep occupational experience points, which increase their pay, when they earn a doctorate degree. Under the old contract, faculty lost those points when they earned a doctorate and moved into a different salary group.