YPSILANTI -- The Eastern Michigan University faculty union (EMU-AAUP) has rejected the University administration’s updated proposal made on Saturday, August 27. The administration’s proposal calls for every full-time faculty member to receive a 4-8% increase to base salary in the first year of the agreement, depending on individual salaries. It includes a $3,600 increase to base salary to offset the increase in faculty health care cost sharing in addition to a 2% salary increase every year for five years for the eight-month academic year salary received by faculty members.
In its latest proposal, the EMU-AAUP demands an 8.4% increase in base salary for the first year of a new agreement, a slight reduction from its previous 9% proposal and its initial 9.5% proposal. Under their revised proposal, the EMU-AAUP has proposed an increase of 4.0% plus a $4,000 payment (4.4% of the average eight-month faculty salary) to base salary in year one, and the same 4.5% increase in years two and three of its previous offers. The union also rejected the University’s offer of a five-year agreement, reducing their previous proposal for a four-year contract to three years.
The EMU-AAUP rejected the University’s request that faculty share more significantly in the rapidly increasing costs of health care. Specifically, the union proposed increases in annual premiums that average less than $13 per pay period (or $307 in year one), and no increases in premiums for years two and three. Under the University’s current BCBS PPO program, the annual cost of full family coverage for 2023 is expected to exceed $28,500.
The University is seeking adjustments in premiums to meet its obligations under Michigan Public Act 152, which sets the amounts public employers may offer to a medical health plan, including payments for reimbursement of co-pays, deductibles, or payments into health savings accounts, flexible savings accounts or similar accounts. In order to comply with the statute, the University’s faculty health care packages must be modified.
The Union also demands an increase in dental coverage from $1,000 to $2,000 per covered person per year, amounting to an additional $3,000 over the three-year term of its proposal for a single person, and $15,000 for a family of five. All other campus bargaining units and administrators have $1,000 in dental coverage per person.
Unlike EMU students and other employees who pay for parking on campus, the faculty union continues to reject proposals to pay for parking.
“The administration’s bargaining team, most of whom have worked as both faculty and academic administrators, continue to approach these negotiations fairly and respectfully and are determined to find solutions to reach a fair agreement,” said Rhonda Longworth, provost and executive vice president for academic and student affairs. “Unfortunately, the latest demands from the union do not move us substantially closer to a final agreement yet.
“Significant work still needs to be done by the August 31 deadline. As I stated previously, a key consideration behind all of our efforts in these negotiations is to balance what we do at the bargaining table with the impact of increased costs on our students.”
Longworth added, “We hoped that our recent offer to significantly increase salaries in year one by 4-8% would move us positively in that direction. The University faces rising costs in health care and we cannot simply pass those increased expenses along to our students whose tuition covers the majority of our operations.”
A comparative chart shows recent faculty salary increases at comparable universities.
Complete updates and background on the faculty union negotiations including a list of the administration bargaining team members, a comparative salary chart and questions and answers can be found on the University's contract negotiations webpage.
About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 15,000 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; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and its graduate school. National publications regularly recognize EMU for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website. To stay up to date on University news, activities and announcements, visit EMU Today.