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Sept. 7, 2006
CONTACT: Ward Mullens

EMU proposes fact finding in an attempt to settle faculty union strike

University asks faculty to return to classroom so contract negotiations may resume.

YPSILANTI — Eastern Michigan University last evening invited the striking faculty union to join the University in seeking the assistance of an impartial external fact-finder to assist in resolving the stalled contract negotiations. A fact finder would conduct a hearing on the outstanding issues and recommend potential areas of settlement to the parties.

The strike by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), which began nearly one week ago, has disrupted classes at the start of the Fall Semester at EMU.

“It’s time for our faculty to return to the classroom and for the parties to get back to the negotiating table,” said Dr. John Fallon, President of EMU. “We invite the union to join us in applying for fact finding, if that is the most expedient way to arrive at negotiated settlement and get on with the business of educating our students.”

In a letter hand delivered to faculty union leadership (click to download the PDF), the University declined the union’s request for binding arbitration, citing its charge under the Michigan Constitution for general supervision of the University and its unwillingness to delegate that responsibility to another party.

Fact-finding, as authorized under the Michigan Public Employment Relations Act, is non-binding, but is established as a dispute resolution process to assist Michigan public employers and employees in the collective bargaining process.

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

The University on the eve of classes made a best and final offer that would have increased faculty salaries and retirement benefits by 16 percent over the next five years, retained current healthcare plan choices for most faculty and offered a new program requiring no premium contributions by the faculty member. The faculty union rejected the offer and announced it would continue its strike.

EMU officials expressed a strong willingness to continue negotiations around the offer, provided the union call off its strike and direct faculty to resume their professional responsibilities.

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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