BIG RAPIDS – The faculty at Ferris State University went on strike as of 8 am today, announced Charles Bacon, president of the Ferris Faculty Association (FFA). The FFA represents approximately 450 tenure track faculty.
The faculty contract expired June 30. The administration bargaining team refused to bargain for two months preceding the contract expiration and spent weeks before responding to faculty association proposals.
“If the university administration had taken this situation seriously and bargained in good faith, instead of the stalling and delaying tactics they employed, a settlement could have been reached and classes would have started on time,” Bacon said.
On Saturday evening, the faculty voted overwhelmingly in favor of a strike if a settlement was not reached by the start of classes. The faculty association offered to continue bargaining today, but the administration refused. “Their refusal to continue to bargain is unconscionable and a slap in the face of both faculty and students. Neither party should leave the table until the contract is settled,” stated Bacon.
In the last contract negotiations, the university spent over $400,000 on legal fees to an outside firm to represent them at the bargaining table. They have retained the same firm for this round of negotiations, while adding a public relations firm to the payroll as well. “Spending money for lawyers and P.R. firms while refusing to fairly compensate professional faculty sends a terrible message to those who care deeply about Ferris State University,” Bacon said.
“Our position is clear: the Ferris faculty deserve fair and equitable compensation and working conditions for the job we do teaching our students. When we achieve that goal, we will return to the classroom,” Bacon stated.
“We have been gratified by the words of support and encouragement we have received from students and parents. They understand that to retain and attract the best and brightest faculty to the FSU campus, faculty must be treated with fairness, respect and dignity. Those students and their parents deserve nothing less,” Bacon said.