The members of the EMU American Association of University Professors (EMU-AAUP) voted Saturday, Aug. 27, to inform EMU administrators of possible strike action.
The current contract that concerns more than 500 members of faculty at Eastern Michigan University expires Wednesday, Aug. 3, at midnight.
Negotiations have stalled however, and the faculty union reports that administrators refused to respond to bargaining proposals, even after meetings assisted by a mediator from the Michigan Employment Relations Commission.
“Our goal is and always has been a fair settlement,” said Matt Kirkpatrick, associate professor of English, Language, and Literature and chair of the EMU-AAUP negotiation team. “It’s time for EMU administration to stop stalling and start bargaining in good faith, so we can work together to support our students and recognize the outstanding contributions of our faculty.”
Shortly before Saturday’s vote, university administrators presented a second economic offer to the faculty negotiating team.
Under the new proposal, every full-time faculty member would receive a 2% increase to base salary every year for the next five years, plus an additional $3,600 supplemental payment for health care benefit plan conversion, university officials said in a written statement on the proposal.
Rhonda Longworth, provost and executive vice president of academic and student affairs, said in a written statement that the university is hopeful the new offer will result in a resolution for the negotiations.
This is a serious and impactful offer that balances faculty needs for healthcare and wages with a total compensation package that is extremely competitive with our peers and among the best in Michigan,” Longworth said. “This proposed investment in total compensation provides our faculty with a significant salary increase while addressing their transition to the University’s health care plans adopted by other campus bargaining units and administrators.”
An EMU-AAUP spokesman, in a written statement, said the union’s negotiating team is evaluating the proposal and is committed to continuing to bargain in good faith and address critical issues to our membership, including compensation, healthcare costs, and important issues surrounding diversity equity and inclusion.
During the vote Saturday, 97% of the union members favored giving the negotiating team the authority to inform the EMU administration of a possible strike action. If a settlement is not achieved, a second vote by union members will be required to authorize a strike.