by Ward Mullens, Published September 09, 2009
YPSILANTI - More than six months ahead of schedule, Eastern Michigan University and the EMU Federation of Teachers Local 1902 (EMU-FT) have reached a tentative agreement for a three-year extension of the current contract.
The contract was ratified by the membership of the lecturers union Sept. 11. The Board of Regents unanimously approved the contract at its regular meeting Sept. 22. The board also approved the collective bargaining agreement with the Police Officers Association of Michigan.
“Unanimous ratification by our membership shows that this is a positive step forward for us and the University,” said Kelly Victor-Burke, president of the EMU-FT.
The contract with the EMU-FT had an expiration date of April 2010, Victor said.
“President Martin invited us to the bargaining table early and we were willing to sit down and hear them out. We were able to address a lot of issues,” said Victor-Burke.
“I cannot stress strongly enough how much I appreciate the EMU-FT being willing to negotiate this contract early, and how grateful I am for the excellent working relationship that we have been able to develop throughout this process,” said Jack Kay, provost and executive vice president for EMU. “I have enormous respect for our lecturers and feel that the increases in benefits, overload pay, and threshold on retirement contributions demonstrate how much EMU values the integral role of the lecturers in our academic community.”
EMU and the lecturers union, which has approximately 100 members, agreed to a three-year extension that will provide annual raises of 1.25 percent for the 2009-2010 academic year and 2 percent in 2011 and 2012.
The new contract also provided stepped increases (to 10.5 percent) of contributions to retirement (TIAA-CREF), increases to health-plan waivers from $1,000/$500 to $1,200/600, and stepped increases for teaching overloads.
“We achieved a good contract with great benefits for lecturers across the board,” said Russell Jones, former president of the EMU-FT and the chief negotiator for the union. “The contract also benefits the University because it annualizes our pay raises, which helps the University in budget planning.”
The lecturers union had been receiving raises every 14 months.
The police officers contract is a three-year agreement that runs through June 30, 2012. The agreement adds wage adjustment increases of 2 percent across-the-board in each of the three years. It also adds a new level to the wage schedule for officers with eight or more year of experience.