Eastern Michigan University to continue negotiations with faculty union as membership votes to walk out on students

YPSILANTI --  Eastern Michigan University plans to continue to negotiate with its faculty union (EMU-AAUP) after the union strike vote this evening.  

“The union’s call for a strike impacts one group on Eastern’s campus more than any other – the University’s students,” said Walter Kraft, University vice president for communications. “It is unfortunate that rather than continue to follow the mediator’s path, with active negotiations still underway, the faculty union is asking its members to walk out and disrupt students’ education just seven days into the semester.

“In addition to mediation, the University has filed for State-appointed independent fact finding in a further effort to reach a solution with the union. Rather than allow these processes to proceed without impacting students, the faculty union has moved to the extreme step of calling for a strike.

“We understand the union’s frustration with being asked to share more of the increasing costs of providing healthcare to employees and families. But there are very few employers and employees in the United States, or among the other bargaining units at this University, that have not had to make similar adjustments to health care costs.”

The mediator has scheduled the next joint bargaining meeting for 10 a.m. tomorrow. The administration bargaining team will be present and prepared to continue negotiations.

“During this time, students are advised to report to classes as scheduled and wait at least 15 minutes to determine whether their instructor will be teaching,” said Kraft. “Students may also contact their instructors in advance to determine whether classes will be taking place.”

All other University operations, including support services and extracurricular activities will continue on their normal schedules.

Eastern Michigan University has proposed a 6.2% (average) salary increase in the first year of a new contract, and the total five-year contract salary increase totaling 15.2%.

The administration’s proposals would:

  • Keep EMU faculty compensation highest among comparable universities 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.)
  • Provide an overall compensation increase to every faculty member even when including increased costs for health care. The University has prepared a detailed evaluation of proposed health care costs that was delivered to the union’s bargaining team. Under the plan, every faculty member, no matter which health coverage option they select (PPO, HMO or high deductible), will come out ahead under our proposal, regardless if they participate as single, two-person or family. Those who participate in the high deductible or HMO plans will see a significant increase in compensation.

The proposals also address the EMU faculty’s impact on total University healthcare costs:

  • EMU faculty represent 36% of the participants in EMU’s employer-sponsored healthcare plans, but account for 49% of the University’s total health care costs.

Other proposals presented by the administration include an enrollment incentive plan wherein the University proposes to increase compensation further should enrollment levels increase. The University also addressed union concerns by modifying its proposal on summer course compensation, and proposing an equity study of faculty salaries.

As the administration has stated on several occasions during the negotiations, a key consideration behind its efforts is to balance what is agreed to at the bargaining table with the impact of increased costs on students.

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.



September 06, 2022

Written by:
Walter Kraft

Media Contact:
Walter Kraft