EMU, faculty union meet with state mediator
YPSILANTI -- Negotiators for Eastern Michigan University and its faculty union are scheduled to meet today with James Amar, a state mediator from the Michigan Employment Relations Commission. The University requested mediation in hopes that it would help them and the EMU-Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) achieve common ground on the principal issues left unresolved in contract negotiations. The teams met throughout the weekend and are working to reach a new agreement before the current contract expires at midnight Tuesday, Aug. 31.
Although the teams have reached agreement on several key issues, they are still negotiating economic issues. “Our positions are closer, but the burden of the AAUP proposal currently on the table is simply not sustainable given the University’s budget conditions,” said Pam Young, EMU spokesperson. The AAUP has proposed an across-the-board increase of 4.0 percent for each of the next two years. As of Sunday, the University had offered 2.45 percent in the first and second years of the contract. The average across-the-board increase for faculty at other Michigan public universities this year is 2.45 percent. EMU’s six other bargaining units averaged 2.0 percent increases.
The union is also seeking a retirement contribution of 10.5 percent in year one and 11 percent in year two; an increase in compensation for overload teaching; and paid health care for retirees and spouse. The combined economic impact of the union’s demands over the two years of the contract exceeds $9 million, said Young. “If these demands were applied to base salaries it would equate to an increase of almost 7 percent in the first year and 11 percent in the second year,” added Young.
EMU has agreed to maintain a choice of insurance plans and to continue paying 100 percent of the health insurance premium for the faculty member, his or her spouse or domestic partner, and children up to the age 19; has agreed to continue departmental practices providing faculty the first opportunity to volunteer to teach spring and summer classes for additional pay; and agreed to a substantial increase in stipends for promotions in academic rank.
The University remains committed to achieving a fair and equitable contract so that classes will begin Sept. 1 as planned, Young added.
The 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 at 1 p.m.
For a comparison of EMU faculty compensation with other Michigan public universities, view this PDF file.
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.
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