press release


News from Progress Michigan

June 25, 2021

Contact: Lonnie Scott,

MSU Community Deserves Transparency Around Benefit Cuts

Employees concerned about decision to continue retirement cuts into 2021-22 budget

EAST LANSING – As the administration at Michigan State University moves toward finalizing a budget for the 2021-22 school year, employees and labor rights advocates are sounding the alarm about the potential continuation of harmful budget cuts enacted due to COVID-19.

Like many other colleges and universities during the COVID-19 pandemic, MSU made cuts to both employee salaries and retirement contributions in the 2020-21 budget. Unlike most other colleges and universities, the administration at MSU has opted to continue the retirement cuts, which reduce the contribution match rate for non-union staff by 50%, into the next year.

Employees are also concerned about the lack of transparency from university administrators, namely due to their decision to continue the cuts despite budgeting for a tuition increase and an additional $100-million in expenditures. Meanwhile, the MSU administration is also bargaining around employee’s healthcare with the Coalition of Labor Organizations and seeking concessions for the 2020-21 budget.

“University employees and the entire MSU community deserve better from their administration,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. “The vast majority of colleges and universities that made cuts to staff salaries or benefits have fully restored funding in those areas for the 2021-22 budget—but MSU is choosing to continue retirement cuts without explanation. University employees have continued to work hard throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in spite of the cuts to their salaries and benefits, and they deserve full transparency about why university administrators have chosen not to fully restore their retirement benefits. There is no discernable reason why the university should continue cuts affecting staff compensation into the next school year, and they owe the MSU community concrete answers about their decision to do so.

“The University received an additional boost of $157 million from federal pandemic relief, almost $72 million of which can be used to replace lost revenue.  This makes it even more difficult to understand why they insist on continuing harmful cuts in employee compensation packages.”