Teachers, professors agree to new contracts before right-to-work law
8:38 AM, Mar 8, 2013
DETROIT (AP MODIFIED) - Wayne State University professors in Detroit and teachers in Warren Consolidated Schools separately agreed to eight-year contracts, weeks before Michigan's new right-to-work law takes effect.
The law bans mandatory payments from employees to the unions that represent them under collective bargaining agreements. It takes effect in late March.
Some schools are seeking to circumvent it by signing agreements before then, according to backers of the legislation.
At Wayne State, the American Association of University Professors-American Federation of Teachers Local 6075 announced the contract ratification Thursday. The union said 93 percent of professors who voted approved the deal. The school's board of governors must approve the pact.
The 1,950 employees represented by the union won't get pay increases this year but will get $1,000 bonuses, 2.75 percent raises next year and 2.5 percent raises in future years. The contract replaces one that expired July 31, 2012.
On Wednesday, teachers in Warren Consolidated Schools approved an eight-year contract extension. The school board approved it the same day. The old deal was set to expire in August.
"This contract extension is a very important milestone for both the school district and the Warren Education Association because it gives the school district a significant amount of stability to manage its finances locally for an extended period of time," Superintendent Robert Livernois said in a news release.
"Being able to control budgets and finances locally is critical in these times of reduced state funding for public education."
There will be no changes to teachers' salaries, district spokesman Bob Freehan said.
Negotiations started six months ago with no intent to skirt the right-to-work bills passed in December by the state Legislature, Freehan added.
The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor said Wednesday that it reached a tentative agreement on a five-year contract with lecturers.