Ferris State University teachers are back in class today after a Mecosta County Judge ordered a temporary end to their strike.
But the strike could be back on if the Judge decides not to grant the University a permanent injunction at a hearing Wednesday.
Members of the Ferris Faculty Association lead a strike on the first day of classes over the continued lack of a contract between the University and teacher union.
Charles Bacon is with the Faculty Association.
“The University attempted to restrain our constitutional rights to assemble and picket an the judge said ‘no, I’m not gonna do that.’ So we are picketing between classes.”
David Crim is with the Michigan Education Association, which is represents the faculty. He said lawyers from the union will be in court Wednesday arguing to a judge that the strike is legitimate.
“If he looks at the facts and the way that the faculty has been treated I believe that yes, he would decide in favor of the faculty and allow them to exercise their right to strike.”
Crim said the Michigan Education Association has also filed charges of unfair labor practices against the University with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission.
Michelle Rasmussen is a spokesperson for the University. She said they will file a response to those charges in due time “challenging the factual and legal basis that are contained in those unfair labor practice allegations.”
Rasmussen said the University and Faculty Association will be back at the bargaining table on Wednesday.
“So we are extremely hopeful that both sides can come to a satisfactory agreement here as soon as possible and get operations here back to normal.”
Representatives with the Ferris Faculty Association say the University has been unwilling to budge on the issue of teacher salary increases - offering a 1.5% increase. The Association is currently asking for 2.75%, down from their initial ask of 6%.
University officials said enrollment is down and increasing teacher salaries would require a hike in tuition.