Eastern Michigan University lecturers on Wednesday, Aug. 30, signed a two-week contract extension with the administration.
The new contract deadline is Sept. 15, giving lecturers two more weeks of the same pay rates and protections previously held.
Leaders of the EMU Federation of Teachers Local 9103, posing on the union's Instagram page, said: "Many members have indicated that they would support a short contract extension, as long as some progress was being made. Recently, there has been slow, steady progress."
That progress has included cohesively joining the full- and part-time lecturer contracts into one, but when it comes to big-ticket items, like compensation, union leaders said they face a harder fight.
"We're making progress on these little things ... which is important, and it's going relatively well, but nothing can really happen until we hear from [EMU] about the compensation," said Jeremy Proulx, co-lead negotiator for the union.
In the 2022-2023 school year, full-time lecturers earned an average salary of about $50,000 and part-time lecturers earned $1,342 per credit hour teaching as few as one class a semester. Part-time lecturers may be promoted from PTL 1 to PTL 2 or PTL 3, but these promotions do not come with a pay increase, according to the union.
Efforts have been made by the union to inform and educate students and community members about the state of negotiations with events on and off campus. Informational flyers have been passed out by the union, as well.
"We've been received very well by the students," said Timothy Allen, the union's staff organizer.
University administrators said they remain hopeful.
In a written statement, EMU Vice President of Communications Walter Kraft said, "The bargaining teams are committed to working through the remaining issues and we remain optimistic that common ground that leads to an agreement will continue to be identified. The administration greatly respects the university's full- and part-time lecturers and their overall work to support our students and their success."
In the event that a new contract is not ratified in the next two weeks, union leaders said the lecturers may choose to extend the contract again, call a strike authorization vote or continue work without a contract.
"We all want to be in the classroom. We all want to teach. We don't want to go out on strike, but we deserve a fair contract," union Vice President Anke Wolbert said.
Read more about the negotiations and check back for updates.