Members of the Eastern Michigan University American Association of University Professors (EMU-AAUP) and the Eastern Michigan University Federation of Teachers (EMU-FT) gathered outside of Welch Hall with over 100 participants during a Board of Regents meeting June 16 to protest fair compensation and treatment.
EMU-AAUP and EMU-FT gathered to show EMU regents and administrators that fair benefits for EMU educators are necessary to continue to provide quality education to the EMU student body.
“The learning conditions of our students are tied to our working conditions,” Matt Kirkpatrick, associate professor of English language and literature at EMU and chair of the negotiating team for EMU-AAUP said. “The best advertising for EMU is a good experience in the classroom. To deliver for our students, we need fair compensation and fair treatment for the dedicated faculty and lecturers who work every day to bring excellence to our campus.”
EMU faculty and lecturers have been forced to rapidly transition to online learning in 2020 and hybrid models of instructing during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, due to the growing cost of living and the increasing inflation rate, the compensation for both faculty and lecturers has fallen behind.
“There are part-time lecturers at EMU who have had to resort to food pantries or stamps,” Jeremy Proulx, a lecturer in philosophy at EMU, said in a statement. “There is a part-time lecturer at EMU who is homeless because he cannot afford rent in Ypsilanti. This is unjustifiable.”
Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan is committed to a budget increase his year for those in higher education, so EMU-AAUP and EMU-FT find that in order to attract and retain students, compensation issues must be addressed to further attract high-quality faculty and lecturers.
“Our goal is to work with the administration to create a path for success for our students and fair treatment for faculty and lecturers,” Kirkpatrick said. “We’ve got a real opportunity this year, and we’re going to everything we can at the bargaining table to get the job done.”
For the first time since 2015, EMU-AAUP members are negotiating a new contract, concerned about wages, health and retirement benefits, shared governance, and more. EMU-FT members are also negotiating with EMU administrators over wages.