YPSILANTI -- Eastern Michigan University has filed for fact finding in an effort to keep negotiations with its faculty union (EMU-AAUP) moving forward.
The University increased its offer to the EMU-AAUP on August 30. The new University offer brings the total five-year salary increase to 15.2% from the previous offer of 14%, with a 6.2% (average for all faculty) increase in year one, 2% in years two and three, and 2.5% in years four and five (increased from 2% in the University’s previous offer). The University’s latest proposal would keep EMU first among comparable universities in total faculty compensation when including salary and health care benefits. This chart shows total compensation including medical benefits among comparable universities. (Comparable universities were selected by an independent fact-finder in previous faculty negotiations and agreed to by the administration and EMU-AAUP.)
The EMU-AAUP responded yesterday afternoon to the University’s offer with no changes in their prior salary demands and left for the day. EMU-AAUP’s latest proposal 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 the latest 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.
While making slight adjustments, the EMU-AAUP continues to resist the University’s request that faculty share more significantly in the rapidly increasing health care costs. This is a major issue for the University: faculty represent 36% of the participants in EMU’s employer-sponsored healthcare plans, but 49% of the University’s total health care costs.
The University is seeking adjustments in health insurance 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.
“We are determined to continue to work to resolve the outstanding issues,” said Rhonda Longworth, provost and executive vice president for academic and student affairs. “Our faculty colleagues across the University are deeply valued, and we believe the 6.2% year-one salary increase, which is more than faculty have received at any comparable university, is more than fair and shows our deep respect for their work while accommodating increased cost-sharing for health care.”
Longworth added, “We look forward to negotiating in the days ahead. Any assertion that the administration has in any way slowed this process is not accurate. Our bargaining team is as committed as the union to get this resolved. As I have repeatedly stated, 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.”
Fact finding is a formal process that involves an independent third-party fact finder appointed by the state. Under the fact-finding process, the administration and faculty union will present evidence that supports their negotiating positions and the fact-finder will then make non-binding recommendations for consideration by the parties in their efforts to find common ground in finalizing the negotiations.
Although no new talks have yet been scheduled, the University is committed to continuing to negotiate with the EMU-AAUP while the fact-finding process is underway, and the mediator is expected to reach out to the parties to schedule future talks.
The current contract expired at midnight. The union announced that its members should continue working after the contract expires.
Complete updates and background on the faculty union negotiations including questions and answers about the negotiations and University budget 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.