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The Eastern Echo Saturday, June 22, 2024 | Print Archive
The Eastern Echo

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EMU union faculty hold vote on Sept. 6 to initiate strike

EMU-AAUP is working without a contract and claims EMU administration is stalling negotiations.

EMU-American Association of University Professors (EMU-AAUP) will hold a vote on Sept. 6 to authorize a strike for over 500 members of faculty.

If the strike vote is passed, it could begin as early as Sept. 7. The EMU-AAUP has been working without a contract since the expiration on Aug.31, while negotiations continued.

“Our goal remains a fair settlement but unfortunately the EMU Administration is throwing every possible obstacle in the way of a new labor agreement,” Matt Kirkpatrick, associate professor of English Language and Literature and chair of the EMU-AAUP negotiating team said.  “The uncertainty and instability of forcing faculty to work without a contract is tremendously unfair to our students, especially after everything we’ve all been through in the past two-and-a-half years.”

The EMU administration has made claims that they are actively negotiating the contract, attempting to find common ground for both parties.

“The union’s call today for a possible strike action hurts our students and impinges significantly upon their experience,” Walter Kraft, vice president of communications said. “As the administration has stated on several occasions during the negotiations, a key consideration behind our efforts is to balance what we do at the bargaining table with the impact of increased costs on our students.”

While EMU administration speaks on actively negotiating, EMU-AAUP claims that EMU administration has been actively stalling. This includes delaying some meetings, canceling others and taking days to respond to proposals, despite the urgent need for a quick settlement. 

“Our team can state with absolute certainty that we have done everything in our power to avert a strike. We have worked around the clock to try to reach an agreement,” the EMU-AAUP negotiating team stated in an update to members. “But it is simply impossible to come to an agreement with an Administration that refuses to negotiate in good faith."

The EMU administration has denied these claims as well.

“We strongly deny the union’s assertion that our negotiating team has slowed the bargaining process in any way,” Kraft said. 

If the contract negotiations cannot come to a close this will impact the continuation of the fall semester. With both parties claiming the other is stalling updates on the process can be found on both parties websites, https://www.emich.edu/contract-negotiations and https://www.emu-aaup.org/.