Unions work without deals


Senior Reporter

The people cleaning the grounds, the police officers patrolling campus in their squad cars and the people responsible for organizing the staff offices all have one thing in common. They are all working without a contract.

The contracts between Oakland University and three workers’ unions — OU Professional Support Association, OU Campus Maintenance and Trade, and the Police Officers Association of Michigan — are all in the process of negotiating deals with the university since their contracts expired last summer and fall.

While these unions are renegotiating the contracts, the pay and benefits that the members of the unions get are based on the old, expired contracts.

Assistant Vice President of Human Resources Ronald Watson said that the university is working hard to reach an agreement that will satisfy all parties involved in these separate negotiations, and there is no reason to expect a strike.

“A work stoppage is not anticipated,” Watson said. “The university administration has an excellent relationship with the unions and employees and expects to reach an amicable resolution.”

At the last board of trustees meeting on Feb. 4, OU announced that an agreement had been reached between the university and the Police Officers Labor Council, whose members had been working without a contract since June.

The members of POLC are sergeants in the OU Police Department and are not associated with POAM which is responsible for OUPD patrol officers.

Richard Tomczak, president of the POLC, declined comment for a previous story, citing fears that information he would reveal could contaminate the ongoing negotiations. Despite the agreement, the POLC contract linked through the website of OU Human Resouces is still the expired one.
Under their current agreement, the sergeants agreed to suspend any pay increases for two years after their 3 percent raise at the end of this year.

According to Watson, the agreement with the police sergeants could be a positive development for the remaining contract settlements.

“We negotiate each agreement separately,” Watson said. “However, both economic and non-economic issues are often quite similar.”

Watson declined to comment on the current negotiations, claiming it would violate negotiating etiquette.

Likewise, no union member contacted for this story would give a comment.
Elsewhere on campus, the contract for American Association of University Professors is set to expire Aug. 14. Per contract policy, AAUP will not be able to negotiate a new contract until May.