Eastern Michigan University Seeks Injunction to End Illegal Faculty Union Strike as Negotiations Continue

YPSILANTI — Eastern Michigan University today (Sept. 7) filed a lawsuit and petition in the Washtenaw County Circuit Court seeking an injunction ordering striking faculty members back to work . The filing cites the significant and ongoing harm caused to students and others by the illegal exit. Strikes by public sector employees are illegal in Michigan (MCL 423.202).

The three key filing documents are linked below:

Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order

Factum in Support of Motion for Temporary Restraining Order

Complaint checked for an injunction

“Our primary goal is to bring faculty back into the classroom so our students can continue their education,” said Walter Kraft, the University’s vice president for communications. “Even a one-day break is important to our students and we are committed to providing them with a full and positive academic experience, especially as negotiations continued today with the assistance of a mediator appointed by the state.

“The unresolved economic and health care issues at the bargaining table that caused faculty to walk away are best resolved through continued negotiations.”

Kraft added: “Any claims by the union of unfair labor practices are completely false. No unfair labor practices have been associated with this bargaining process. The parties are simply struggling to settle the main financial terms of their employment contract. In addition, the University participated in numerous negotiation sessions, day and night, was able to meet at the request of the mediator at any time and at any time, and presented and exchanged proposals and counter- proposals throughout the process. Any trade union assertion to the contrary is simply false.

The University continued to hold classes on Wednesday. Many courses have taken place, led both by professors and by instructors who are not part of the teachers’ union. It is not known at this time how many classes have taken place as planned.

In its latest offer to the union, the University offered a 6.2% (average) wage increase in the first year of a new contract and a total wage increase of 15.2% over five years.

The administration’s proposals would be:

  • Maintain the highest EMU faculty compensation among comparable universities by including salaries and benefits. This chart shows total compensation, including medical benefits, at comparable universities. (Comparable universities were selected by an independent investigator in previous negotiations with faculty and accepted by the administration and EMU-AAUP.)
  • Provide an overall increase in compensation for every faculty member, even including increased health care costs. The University prepared a detailed estimate of proposed health care costs which was provided to the union bargaining team. Under this plan, every faculty member, regardless of the health coverage option they choose (PPO, HMO or high deductible), will benefit from our proposal, whether they participate as a single person, as a couple or as a family. Those who participate in the high-deductible or HMO plans will see a significant increase in compensation.

The proposals also address the impact of EMU faculty on the University’s total health care costs: EMU faculty represent 36% of participants in UEM-sponsored health care plans. employer of EMU, but accounts for 49% of the University’s total health care costs.

Other proposals presented by the administration include an enrollment incentive plan in which the University offers to further increase compensation if enrollment levels increase. The University has also responded to union concerns by amending its proposal on summer school compensation and proposing a study on faculty pay equity.

As the administration has repeatedly stated during negotiations, a key consideration behind its efforts is balancing what is agreed to at the bargaining table with the impact on students of rising costs.

Comprehensive updates and information on faculty union negotiations, including questions and answers about negotiations and the University’s budget, are available on the University’s contract negotiations webpage.

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves over 15,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, honors, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In total, more than 300 majors, minors, and concentrations are offered by the University’s Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Company; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Social Services; and its doctoral school. National publications regularly recognize UEM for its excellence, diversity and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University website. To stay up to date on University news, activities and announcements, visit EMU Today.

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