Arbitrator rules in favor of Eastern Michigan University administration in dispute with faculty union over teaching assignments and payment for teaching overloads

Ruling concludes there has been no violation of collective bargaining agreement

YPSILANTI – An independent arbitrator ruled in favor of Eastern Michigan University on May 1, 2018 in a grievance filed by the school’s faculty union over the University’s methods of assigning teaching loads and paying for faculty teaching overloads.

The administration’s actions to assign varying loads and to pay overloads only when individual faculty members exceed 24 credits of teaching over the course of a full academic year were upheld by arbitrator Mario Chiesa. The conclusion of the ruling is below. Note that the reference to “Association” in the ruling refers to the EMU Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). 

“After carefully reviewing and analyzing the entire record, I am persuaded that the grievance must be denied. The Association has failed to establish that the University has violated the Collective Bargaining Agreement or a binding past practice when it instituted its method of calculating and paying overloads. Certainly, this entire issue may be revisited and addressed during the next round of collective bargaining. Nevertheless, based on the record before me, I must deny the grievance.” 

Under the collective bargaining agreement with the AAUP, the administration has the flexibility to assign teaching loads over the full academic year at levels that might equate to 12, 13 or 14 credit hours one semester and 12, 11 or 10 the next, totaling 24 over the course of a full year. The AAUP argued that overload payments should be paid anytime the course load of a faculty member in an individual semester exceeds 12 credit hours. 

This decision affirms that teaching loads may be balanced across an academic year, with overloads only paid when the annual total exceeds 24 credit hours.

The complete ruling is available online.

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 20,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Health and Human Services; Technology, and its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website

May 03, 2018

Written by:
Walter Kraft

Geoff Larcom