Category Archives: Uncategorized

APA Area Representative Program

by Dennis Seybert, APA Vice President

The APA Area Representative program is continuing to grow with the addition of eight new AR’s from the previous AR Training Program who were approved by the APA Executive Board. This brings our current AR total to 31.

Area Representatives serve important functions in the APA. They bring information from MSU management through the APA Executive Board to the membership. This includes information such as the recent change in the overtime pay rules or the MSU Evaluation process. Your AR’s are informed and have this information available to share.

The AR’s are also trained to give confidential answers to any questions that you may have about any section of the contract. They will not share any information without your approval. If they do not have the answer they will be able to refer you to the proper people to get the answer.

Being an AR is a great opportunity to interact with other APA members in your building and offers you an opportunity to help your coworkers with questions about employment at MSU.

APA is currently recruiting members in good standing to participate in our next APA Area Representative (AR) Training Cohort. The ten module training program will provide prospective ARs with information ranging from Labor Law and FMLA to APA Compensation, Benefits and Retirement.

All training will be conducted during the day, from approximately noon to 1PM, with lunch and materials provided. Any participant in the Cohort who completes at least 75% of the training modules may request that we submit their name to the APA Executive Board to become an APA AR.

If you are interested in joining the next AR Cohort please contact Dennis Seybert at or call the office at 999-4004.

Your Fellow APs

Interview by Laura Wise, APA Executive Board

This month we feature D. Corey Noyes,  Department of Horticulture

What is your job title?

Research Assistant – Laboratory and Field Manager

How long have you been at MSU?

8 Years 8 Months

Have you been a member of APA the whole time?

No, I started as a temporary employee and was hired into an APA position approximately 4 months after I started.

Can you tell me a little bit about what you do?

I oversee and coordinate field, greenhouse, and laboratory operations associated with research, teaching, and extension programs in Sustainable Vegetable Production in the Department of Horticulture.  In conjunction with my research and extension responsibilities, I oversee laboratory and field assistants.  Additionally, I provide teaching support for several Plant Soil and Microbial Sciences lab courses.

What brought you to your job at MSU?

A temporary position as a Lab Tech in Soil Fertility and Nutrient Management, which seemed like a perfect opportunity to figure out what I wanted to do next after completing my BS in Biology.  Originally I hadn’t planned on being at MSU for more than a year or two, but I enjoyed my work and was hired into a full-time APA position after 4 months, so I decided to stick with it and see where it would take me.

What do you love about working at MSU?

I really enjoy being involved with science and to be always learning new things; MSU is a great place for both! I also love the fact that my job provides a wide variety of work environments: time in the office, time outside in the field, time in the lab, and operating big tractors!

What do you like to do when you are not at work?

I enjoy spending time with my family and being outdoors fishing, hunting, and camping.

Know Your Contract – Am I eligible for another annual raise?

by Melissa Sortman, MEA Uniserv Director


The APA bargains a base level wage increase which is applied each October. It is a forty-percent (40%) guaranteed increase and a sixty-percent (60%) merit increase. In October 2014, the potential wage increase was two (2%) percent. In January 2015, APA bargained a lump sum payout of about one-thousand dollars (~$1,000). A member may also be eligible for an Automatic Progression Level (APL) wage increase each year.

The APA bargained a maximum additional APL three-percent (3%) annual raise to increase the salaries of those members who were hired below the progression level wage. The Salary Progression Program can be found in Article 17 Clause 132-137 and the specific progression level wages for the contract year in Clause 145 ( The Automatic Progression Level (APL) is based on the grade level and current wage. The grade level directly correlates to your classification title. Unfortunately, the grade level is not on your pay stub. The grade level of your position can be found by calling the APA office or MSU Human Resources.

To be eligible for the APL raise, you must have one year of service and your performance must not be less than satisfactory. It is not a requirement to have been annually evaluated, but you may not have an unsatisfactory evaluation. APA bargains the minimum wage for each grade level and the progression level wage. Each year, both wage thresholds increase by the amount of the full potential base wage increase. For the 2014-2015 contract year, the base level wage increase was two percent (2%).

If your wage for your grade level is under the Progression Level Wage in the chart below, you are eligible for the APL wage increase. The APL raise is applied on your first-year anniversary date and each subsequent year in January.


Article 17, Clause 145

-145                   Effective October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015, the Minimum Hiring and

Automatic Progression Level rates are:


For individual inquires and questions, please contact the APA office at (517) 999-4004 or e-mail



Your Fellow APs

Interview by Laura Wise, APA Executive Board

This month’s newsletter features Dujuan Wiley, Intramural Coordinator at the IM Sports West.
How long have you been at MSU?
I started working for MSU on August 11, 2014 and have been a member of the APA since joining MSU.

Can you tell me a little bit about what you do?
My job responsibilities range from assisting with the hiring process, managing and training student employees.  Also I am responsible for all building operations in the evening.

What brought you to your job at MSU?
One highlight in my life is being fortunate enough to participate in Division 1 Sports at MSU.  I played basketball under Coach Tom Izzo from 1996 to 1998.  I earned an undergraduate degree in Recreation from MSU in 2006 while working at the IM West part-time.  Loved it at the IM West then and love it now!

What do you love about working at MSU?
The best part about working for MSU is the youth.  I love working with young people because they are always generating new ideas and fresh thoughts.  Keeps you young!

What do you like to do when you are not at work?
When I’m not working, I love hanging out with my family and friends.

APA Night at the MSU College of Music Opera Theatre


While APA event tickets have  sold out, you may still attend on your own! Please visit to purchase tickets.


The APA is proud to announce a partnership with the MSU College of Music to extend an opportunity for members to attend MSU’s Opera Theatre presentation of Handel’s Xerxes on Wednesday, March 25th at 7:30pm at the beautifully renovated Fairchild Theatre.

A season of schemers, dreamers, and comedy: King Xerxes casts his eye on a young lady and decides he wants her for his queen causing a tangled web of mistaken identity, thwarted plots, and unrequited love. Sparkling with beautiful arias, what more could anyone want in an opera?


Sung in Italian with English surtitles.  Director Melanie Helton will give a preview lecture 45 minutes before each performance.



Questions from the Trenches

For this installment of APA Questions From The Trenches, we asked APA President Maury Koffman to highlight the main questions raised by members in response to the communications regarding the January 2015 Lump Sum bonus payment.

What is the gross payment members will receive now that the University has chosen to unilaterally violate our contract and issue only partial payment in January 30, 2015 paycheck?
Members should receive a gross, lump sum payment of $961.81 subject to taxes, deductions, and any other garnishments. Per the ratified contract, the $961.81 will be issued in full for 100% full-time equivalent (FTE) status employees and reduced on a proportional basis for part-time employees.

I understand we are only going to be paid a portion of the full payment on January 30, 2015. What was the full amount that should be paid if the University complied with the mutually ratified Wage and Health Care Agreement?
Had the University proceeded with the legally binding contract, the APA anticipated full payment to have been $1,056.39 for 100% FTE bargaining unit members.

How much is being unilaterally withheld by MSU?
In a disappointing unilateral action by the University, the APA has been informed that MSU intends to withhold roughly $100 from each member’s payment under the theory that should the plaintiff prevail in his legal appeal regarding the January 2015 lump sum bonus payment (fully explained in the December 11, 2014 APA email), the same impact would apply for the upcoming January 2015 payment. Rest assured the APA is using all necessary and legal avenues to enforce our ratified collective bargaining agreement.

What makes someone eligible for the payment?
To be eligible for the payment, the individual must have been (1) actively employed on January 1, 2015, (2) be MSU health care benefits eligible, and (3) a member of the APA bargaining unit. Even if a member invoked the health care waiver, s/he is still eligible for the lump sum payment if s/he met the eligibility criteria. And, if both an individual and his/her spouse/OEI were eligible for the payment, both APA members should receive the payment.

How will the January 2014 payment be issued?
The payment will be noted as special pay and should be included in the member’s January 2015 regular paycheck slated to be issued on January 30.

If I was eligible for the full payment as of January 1, 2015 but I subsequently leave MSU before the amount in dispute is distributed, will I still receive the amount that was wrongfully withheld by the University?
Yes. The eligibility criteria will remain the same and therefore if an individual satisfied the eligibility criteria as of January 1, 2015, the full amount must be issued to the APA member even if that individual leaves MSU before the withheld amount is distributed.

What are the steps from here?
In an effort to enforce our contract as ratified, the Michigan Education Association is providing full assistance to the APA and using all legal means necessary to ensure the Wage and Health Care Agreement is enforced as ratified by the APA membership and the University. The APA will continue to keep members informed of any substantive updates related to the payment.

Who should I call with my additional questions?
APA members should feel free to contact the APA office at 517.999.4004 or via email at with any questions or concerns.

Expanded Autism Coverage

by Melissa Sortman, MEA Uniserv Director

The MSU self-funded health care coverage will include autism claims for children age 0-19 beginning January 2015. Previously, the coverage was limited to autism claims for children age 0-8. Due to the Mental Health Parity Act and standard of care required under the Affordable Health Care Act, the Joint Health Care Committee (a coalition of Labor and Management) expanded autism coverage.

The APA, in partnership with the Coalition of Labor (CLO) on campus, identified the need for autism coverage for our respective membership. The APA and CLO had been advocating within the Joint Health Care Committee to provide autism coverage. We were successful in achieving the first critical step in autism coverage through bargaining the Wage and Health Memorandum of Understanding 2014-2017.

Michigan mandated under Public Act 101 of 2012 that commercial and non-profit insurance carriers provide autism coverage. Michigan State University is a self-insured provider and does not have to comply with the coverage requirements of insured plans. Any autism coverage had to be bargained in the Wage and Health Memorandum of Understanding.

The autism coverage commenced on January 1, 2014. It covers Autism Diagnosis, Pharmaceuticals, Psychiatric, Psychological, and Therapeutic services (Speech, Occupational, Applied Behavior Analysis, and Physical therapies; and social workers) for children that have been assessed and diagnosed by three Center of Excellence on autism: Spectrum Health System, University of Michigan Health System or Michigan State University.

The Legislature appropriated funds for self-insured employers like MSU by creating an Autism Reimbursement Program. The fund was originally appropriated with $15 million dollars in 2012-2013 fiscal year, an additional $11 million dollars for 2013-2014 fiscal year, and no funds were appropriated to the fund in the 2014-2015 fiscal year. As of September 30, 2014 the balance in the fund was $22 million.

MSU has an expert on autistic medical coverage in Dr. Jane Turner, a professor at the College of Human Medicine, Department of Pediatric and Human Development. Dr. Turner is on Governor Snyder’s Autism Council charged with overseeing Michigan’s Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) State Plan. Having a leader in the field on campus assisted MSU’s agreement to expand autism coverage to the self-insured plan. She is a true advocate for children with autism.

If your family has any concerns regarding the autism coverage and related behavioral, speech and occupational coverage, please contact the APA office at (517) 999-4004 or email The APA would like to work with you to ensure the coverage is implemented for the best outcome for your family.

For more information:

1) Senate Fiscal Agency Analysis of PA 101

2) Frequently Asked Questions about PA 101

3) Autism Coverage Reimbursement Fund,5269,7-303-13047_13049-297217–,00.html

4) Autism Coverage Fund Senate Fiscal Analysis 2014

5) For additional information and resources, families may want to contact Autism Alliance of Michigan, or Autism Speaks,

Questions From The Trenches

For this installment of APA Questions From The Trenches, we asked APA President Maury Koffman to answer questions regarding the APA 2014 October wage increase.


How much is the negotiated APA annual wage increase this year for 2014?

The APA negotiated annual wage increase is applied every year in October. For the 2014 year, the APA annual base wage increase is 2%. Per the APA contract, 40% of the wage increase is automatic – across the board – and 60% applies the merit pay guidelines that require objective and consistent application. Your immediate supervisor should also provide advance notice of you annual wage increase amount before it is realized on your October 2014 paycheck.


How is the merit pay portion of the wage increase determined?

The APA contract codifies a mandatory objective process in determining the merit pay portion of the APA annual wage increase. The full details can be found within the Letter of Agreement on Merit Pay located at the end of the APA contract. In short, the criteria must be openly communicated and objectively applied in the department. Additionally, the decision on merit pay allocation is to be discussed between you and your immediate supervisor before your October 2014 paycheck is issued.


Does the APA contract define a minimum and maximum annual salary for all members of the bargaining unit?

Yes and no. The APA contract outlines minimum salary requirements for all grade levels within the bargaining unit. However, the APA contract serves as a floor and individual bargaining unit salaries may rise above the APA minimums and progression levels. Per Clause 132 of the APA contract:


Salary Progression increase consideration [annual 3% maximum] will be given to employees who have completed at least one (1) year of service on the effective date of the increase, whose current performance is determined to be not less than satisfactory, and whose salary is less than one hundred twenty-five (125%) percent of the minimum hiring level.

What is the APA base wage increase in future years?

The following annual base wage increases are subject to the APA contract provisions of 40% across the board and 60% using the merit pay process:


October 2014 – 2% base wage increase

October 2015 – 2.5% base wage increase

October 2016 – 2.6% maximum base wage increase through matrix formula

October 2017 – 2.6% maximum base wage increase through matrix formula

October 2018 – 2.6% maximum base wage increase through matrix formula

How does the matrix formula work to determine my annual base wage increase?

The matrix in the ratified agreement defines the formula for the annual APA raises commencing with the October 2015 base wage increase.  For example using the matrix, because health care costs increase between 1.01% – 2% in the first year of the agreement, APA members are eligible for a 2.5% base wage increase in October 2015, subject to the contract provisions of 40% across the board and 60% using the merit pay process. The complete matrix can be found within the ratified agreement which is conveniently located on the APA website: