With members of the Associated Faculties of the University of Maine System protesting outside the University of Southern Maine’s Glickman Library during Sunday afternoon system trustee committee meetings, Robert Caswell of the USM communications department offered an administration response to faculty charges of “unreasonable” contract offers.
Caswell said the system is in jointly requested mediation with each the faculty union and the University of Maine Professional Staff Association to reach contracts agreeable to all sides.
Caswell acknowledged that the major sources of gridlock remain salary and health benefits, as suggested by an announcement issued in advance of today’s demonstrations by the faculty union. The association derided a .5 percent wage increase in each of the proposed contract’s two years as not enough after the faculty went without raises during the previous contract.
“We’re in contract negotiations and we’re not in a position to discuss details at this time,” Caswell told the Bangor Daily News just before 1 p.m. Sunday. “But we support and respect their right to make their views known.”