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August 11, 2005
CONTACT: Pamela Young
734.487.4400
pamela.young@emich.edu

Eastern Michigan University requests state mediator

YPSILANTI - Eastern Michigan University officials announced today that they have requested the intervention of a state appointed mediator in their negotiations with the EMU Federation of Teachers (EMU-FT).

"We are seeking the help of the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) at this time in order to help move the collective bargaining process forward," said Rhonda Longworth, assistant vice president for academic affairs human resources and a member of the bargaining team.

"Clearly our goal is to reach a fair and equitable contract in a timely manner with no disruption in the University's ability to deliver a quality educational experience to our students," Longworth said.   "We have every confidence that with the aid of a mediator, and good faith on both sides, we will be able to resolve the outstanding issues."

Longworth said that despite the University's offer to begin negotiations in May, the EMU-FT was unable to meet until mid-July. At that time, Longworth said, "the union proposed more than 400 changes in 21 of the 25 Articles of the current collective bargaining agreement, including a 20 percent reduction in workload, limitations on the University's ability to monitor and assure the quality of instruction, and a 21.5 percent increase in base wages over the next four years (5 percent annually.)

"The burden of the EMU-FT proposals currently on the table is simply not sustainable given the University's financial position," said Longworth.

Eastern Michigan University like all universities in the State is struggling with the effects of three straight years of reductions in State appropriations.

The MERC-appointed mediator will serve as a go-between and help EMU and the EMU-FT achieve a satisfactory and mutually agreeable contract.

The EMU-FT represents approximately 120 full-time lecturers. Their contract with the University expires at midnight Aug. 31, 2005.

Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their careers and lives, and to be better citizens.

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Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.

Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.


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