The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and its university faculty union have reached a tentative contract agreement after almost a year of contentious negotiations.
Details of the settlement, which must be approved by the full faculty and board of trustees, were not released. Earlier this year, the two sides brought in a state mediator to help with the stalled talks, which also revealed a strained relationship between faculty and MnSCU Chancellor Steven Rosenstone.
The union has been an outspoken critic of Rosenstone. It sent a harsh critique of his performance to the board of trustees earlier this summer and bashed a new contract for him that had been reached quietly last November.
Steven Rosenstone (Courtesy photo)
In a statement to its members, the union — the Inter Faculty Organization — said the mediator urged the sides to hold off on releasing details to the press in the coming days.
“However, we can say we think you will like it,” the statement said.
Rosenstone thanked the union’s new president, Jim Grabowska, and his negotiating team and said he “looks forward to partnering to implement our joint vision for serving our students.”
This spring, state legislators approved a $17 million annual increase in funding to MnSCU that is dedicated to employee compensation increases. Some lawmakers since have voiced frustration that the contract was not settled shortly thereafter.
If the faculty and board approve the contract, it will go to the Legislative Subcommittee on Employee Relations. If the subcommittee approves it, the agreement will go into effect, pending approval by the full Legislature next year.
The average university faculty salary at MnSCU now is about $59,680 for an assistant professor, $66,500 for an associate professor and $83,000 for a full professor, according to data provided by the union.
At MnSCU, seven universities and 24 community and technical colleges serve more than 400,000 students annually, including about 60 percent of the state’s undergraduates.