Eastern Michigan University seeks injunction to end illegal strike by faculty union, while negotiations continue

YPSILANTI --  Eastern Michigan University filed a Complaint and Motion in Washtenaw County Circuit Court today (Sept. 7) asking for an injunction ordering striking faculty members back to work. The filing cites the significant and continuing injury to students and others caused by the illegal walk out. Strikes by public sector employees are illegal in Michigan (MCL 423.202).

The three key documents from the filing are linked below:

Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order

Brief-in-Support of Motion for Temporary Restraining Order

Verified Complaint for Injunctive Relief

“Our primary focus is getting faculty back in the classroom so that our students can continue their education,” said Walter Kraft, University vice president for communications. “Even a one-day disruption is significant for our students and we are committed to providing them with a full and positive academic experience, particularly as negotiations continued today with the assistance of a State-appointed mediator.

“The unresolved economic and health care issues at the bargaining table that caused the faculty to walk out are best resolved by continued negotiations.”

Kraft added, “Any assertion by the union of unfair labor practices is completely false. There have been no unfair labor practices associated with this negotiation process. The parties are simply having difficulty resolving the primary financial terms of their labor contract. Moreover, the University has participated in many, many negotiating sessions, day and night, has been able to meet at the mediator’s request at all times and all hours, and has presented and exchanged proposals and counter-proposals throughout the process. Any union claims to the contrary are simply untrue.”

The University continued to hold classes on Wednesday. Many classes took place, led both by faculty, and by instructors who are not part of the faculty union. It is not known at this time how many classes took place as scheduled.

In its latest offer to the union, the University has proposed a 6.2% (average) salary increase in the first year of a new contract, and a total five-year contract salary increase of 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 of whether 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 on students of increased costs.

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 07, 2022

Written by:
Walter Kraft

Media Contact:
Walter Kraft