The answer to the question is maybe. After 14 hours of negotiations under the supervision of Isabella Circuit Court Judge Paul H. Chamberlain, the CMU Faculty Association (FA) and CMU Administration issued a joint statement saying that a tentative agreement (TA) has been reached. The contents of the TA haven't been released and the faculty won't get to see them until a meeting that is scheduled a week from Monday. The vote on the deal in January.
The faculty participated in a job action on August 22nd after our contract expired on June 30, 2011. Because of a new Michigan law, CMU refused to pay any wage increases to faculty members and shifted the cost of health care premiums to faculty members once the contract expired. Negotiations have been ongoing since last spring, and a fact finder was called in to assist with the process. His report was issued last month. CMU offered to accept their interpretation of the fact finder's recommendations. The FA didn't agree with the administration's position and rejected the offer but countered with terms for a one year contract. This was rejected by CMU.
The injunction against the FA engaging in job actions expired on Wednesday and a hearing with Judge Chamberlain was scheduled yesterday on both the extension of the injunction and the legality of the law preventing wage increases and shifting health care benefit cost increases to public employees when their collective bargaining agreements expire. These rulings were not made since a TA was reached.
Following this situation has been my introduction to the collective bargaining process. I'm going to reserve judgment on whether I think this process is beneficial until I see the final offer compared to the initial offers and the overall impact on the university's culture. My experience thus far is that CMU has been a wonderful place to work with great students, dedicated faculty members and an adminstration that has many faculty friendly policies in place. It's been tense on campus this fall with faculty members so unhappy about not having contracts and the terms that were being offered. I think it's helped with unity among faculty members but definitely hurt faculty/administrator relationships. We'll see how far this potential agreement goes to repair relationships.
Here's a link to Michigan's PA 54: http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2011-2012/publicact/pdf/2011-PA-0054.pdf