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Sept. 5, 2006, 10:30 p.m.
CONTACT: Ward Mullens

EMU terminates negotiations as AAUP refuses "last, best offer"

YPSILANTI — Eastern Michigan University tonight announced the start of classes tomorrow as scheduled, despite the faculty union's rejection of its last best offer late last night.

“We are disheartened that they made this decision. We will start the fall semester tomorrow and use every resource we have to minimize the impact on our students,” said Karen Valvo, chair of the EMU Board of Regents.

EMU officials have indicated that the University is prepared to utilize its non-union instructional staff, adjunct professors and other qualified educators to head classrooms.

The University’s offer included a 3 percent increase in salary in each of the five years of the proposed contract.

The faculty would retain their current health care options with the understanding that the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Traditional and Care Choice HMO programs would eventually be phased out with no new participation in those plans. With the retention of these current plans, the individual faculty members will make nominal contributions to the cost differences.

The University proposal also included a quarter percent increase in the University’s contribution to the faculty TIAA-CREF retirement plan in each of the final four years of the proposed contract.

Compensation for teaching continuing education classes was also increased. The entire compensation and benefits package is a 16 percent increase from their current package.

“As a result of the AAUP’s unwillingness to put professors in the classroom by calling an end to the strike, the Board has directed the University administration to suspend all further negotiations until the AAUP changes course and joins the University in our mission to educate,” said Valvo. “We are committed to recommencing negotiations toward a contract, once the AAUP recommits its efforts to the best interests of our students by getting into the classroom.”

The AAUP represents 689 faculty members. Their contract with the University expired at midnight, August 31.

EMU’s Web site at http://www.emich.edu/strikeinfo/ has the latest information to keep parents and students posted. Students may also call a special information line at 734-487-2661.

Related: Strike information

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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