​​​​​​​Eastern Michigan University’s request for temporary restraining order to require striking faculty to return to the classroom is denied; hearing scheduled on preliminary injunction

YPSILANTI --  A Washtenaw County Circuit Court judge today (Sept. 9) denied Eastern Michigan University’s request for a temporary restraining order (TRO) that would have required striking faculty to return to the classroom, but the judge set a hearing for Sept. 16 to decide the University’s request for a preliminary injunction to order striking faculty back to the classroom.

The University requested legal intervention due to the significant and continuing injury to students and others caused by the illegal strike. Michigan law (MCL 423.202) prohibits strikes by public employees.

"Although the motion for a temporary restraining order was denied today, the motion for preliminary injunction remains pending," said Walter Kraft, University vice president for communications. "We're disappointed the temporary restraining order was denied. We continue to hear from many students who believe they are being harmed significantly by not being able to attend classes and continue their education. As we've stated from the outset, our primary concern in filing this action was to get our students back in the classroom while negotiations continue. 

"In today's order, the judge granted our motion that the union show cause why the preliminary injunction should not be issued. That hearing will take place next Friday.

"Meanwhile, negotiations have been underway under the guidance and support of an independent State-appointed mediator, with a State-appointed fact finder soon to be involved as well. These processes, designed to find common ground in labor disputes, should be allowed to play out”

Kraft added, “As stated previously, any assertion by the union of unfair labor practices is completely false. The University has not committed any unfair labor practices associated with this negotiation process. The parties are simply having difficulty resolving the primary financial terms of their labor contract.

The University continued to hold classes yesterday. 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 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 09, 2022

Written by:
Walter Kraft

Media Contact:
Walter Kraft