Talks continue between EMU and faculty union
YPSILANTI -- Negotiators for Eastern Michigan University and its faculty union met formally Thursday and in informal sessions Friday morning and afternoon.
During the formal and informal discussions, members of the negotiating teams shared data they hope will help them seek common ground on the principal issues left unresolved. Weekend meetings will be scheduled as necessary in order to reach a tentative agreement.
Both sides are working to reach a new agreement before the current contract expires at midnight Tuesday, Aug. 31.
The teams plan to exchange proposals through Monday, when James Amar, a state-appointed mediator, will join them for morning talks. The negotiating team representing the EMU Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) is expected to update the union membership on contract proposals during a special 4 p.m. meeting Monday. EMU~s team plans to brief senior administrators Monday as well.
Although the teams have reached agreement on several key non-economic issues, they are still working on economic issues. "The burden of the wage proposal put on the table by the AAUP is simply not sustainable given the University~s budget conditions," said Pam Young, EMU spokesperson. The AAUP had originally proposed a nearly 6 percent increase and has since proposed an increase of almost 5 percent. The University has offered 2 percent, an increase consistent with that awarded its other bargaining units and non-bargained for staff.
Not being able to meet this economic demand is in no way indicative of the University's respect and support for faculty, Young said.
"You only have to look at the University commitment to faculty replacement to see that we are extremely committed to our faculty," said Young. "When the University implemented an early (retirement) incentive program for faculty last fall, it agreed to replace all 47 of the positions vacated. Just last week, the University authorized an additional 25 faculty searches. There aren~t many universities that will be adding 72 faculty members next fall. That~s a strong statement of support."
"We remain hopeful that both sides will soon reach a fair and equitable contract," Young said.
Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive, metropolitan 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.
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.