Update: Judge Orders Ferris State University Faculty Back to Work

Hundreds of Ferris State University faculty members are picketing and starting the school year on strike; but a judge says they have to return to work on Tuesday.

Many classes were cancelled or had substitute teachers for the first day of class.

The 450 members of the Ferris Faculty Association were striking because they have yet to reach a contract agreement with the university.

This contract agreement discussion started back in May.

A Mecosta County judge granted a temporary restraining order late Monday afternoon.

This means faculty will have to return to work, even though they haven’t reached a contract agreement with the school.

FSU says these negotiations will continue on Wednesday.

Ferris State Faculty is calling for a pay raise and better health care benefits.

“I think we would be happy with where we ended up yesterday,” says Charles Bacon, President of Ferris Faculty Association. “We tried to get the 2.75 percent on salary and we want the state statutory hard cap on the health care benefits and we also have a proposal on summer teaching compensation so those are some of the financial issues.”

The school says they’re looking forward to an agreement, but it’s a complicated issue.

“There’s a lot of pieces to the faculty contract and we’ve had about ten negotiation sessions and it’s just unfortunate,” says Michelle Rasmussen, Communications Officer at Ferris State University.

For students that meant cancelled classes, and an unusual start to the fall semester.

“It’s my first day of college and I’m just mentally prepared to go to my classes and both of my first two classes got cancelled because of the strike,” says Jacob Mondak, student.

While some are disappointed, others say they support the FFA.

“I understand that I’m paying for this and it sucks that I don’t have class but at the same time I’m happy they’re out here doing what they need to do,” Alyson VanWasshenova, student.

As negotiations continue, both sides agree that students are the priority.

“We’re going to work very hard to reach an agreement with the Ferris Faculty Association because we want to move forward and continue to get our faculty back in the classroom,” says Rasmussen.