Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

U-M disappointed with House subcommittee action on higher ed funding

A Michigan House subcommittee approved a higher education funding proposal Tuesday that puts at risk more than $47 million of the state appropriations for all three U-M campuses.

In a 4-3 vote along party lines, Republicans on the House panel approved a measure that takes 15 percent of overall funding away from universities that sign new labor contracts before a so-called “right to work” law takes effect March 28, unless the contracts achieve at least 10 percent in savings.

Most of that potential loss – $41 million ­­– would come at the Ann Arbor campus.

"There are elements of this proposal that are very disappointing," said Cynthia Wilbanks, vice president for government relations. "Yet it is important to note that this is not the end of the process. We have more hard work to do in the weeks and months ahead."

U-M and the Lecturers' Employee Organization announced March 5 that a tentative agreement had been reached on a five-year agreement. LEO members are now in the process of voting on the agreement. The current contract expires April 20.

The university also has reached tentative agreements for new contracts with the Graduate Employees' Organization and AFSCME. The U-M Health System has reached tentative agreements with the Michigan Nurses Association and the House Officers Association.

The action by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education is the first since the governor's proposed higher education budget was released in February. Last year the state budget was finalized in June. The state's fiscal year begins Oct. 1.