Advance Notice: Briefs

EMU faculty back in class after tentative contract deal reached

By: - September 12, 2022 1:17 pm

Members of the Eastern Michigan University Chapter of the American Association of University Professors walked the picket line on Wednesday. | Ken Coleman

A tentative agreement has been reached between Eastern Michigan University (EMU) and striking faculty members.

The EMU Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (EMU-AAUP) announced Sunday that negotiators had reached a tentative deal on a new contract covering more than 500 tenured and tenure-track faculty.

“After three days on strike and four days on the picket line, we’ve got a deal,” said Matt Kirkpatrick, associate professor of English language and literature at EMU and chair of the EMU-AAUP negotiating team. “This is an important victory for our members – and most importantly for our students. We took a stand to maintain and strengthen quality education at EMU, and this agreement moves us forward.”

The union did not release details of the proposed new contract, but said they would be discussed at an upcoming EMU-AAUP union meeting, where members will vote on ratification of the tentative agreement.

The university released a statement saying the deal was reached, “following marathon bargaining sessions between the administration and faculty union bargaining teams this weekend that went late into the evening on Saturday and (Sunday).”

With a tentative agreement in place the strike has been suspended, per EMU-AAUP bylaws, with faculty members expected back in their classrooms Monday.

“Solidarity works,” said Mohamed El-Sayed, professor of engineering at EMU and president of EMU-AAUP. “I’ll tell you, we were just overwhelmed by the loud and proud support we’ve received this week, from students, parents, alumni and our AAUP and AFT colleagues from all across the country.”

Among those walking the picket lines in support over the last week were American Association of University Professors (AAUP) President Irene Mulvey and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten. The AAUP recently affiliated with the AFT, one of the nation’s largest unions.

“This was a challenging set of negotiations,” said Kirkpatrick. “Our goal now is to work together, all across the campus, to deliver the best possible options and opportunities for EMU students.”

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Jon King
Jon King

Jon King is the Senior Reporter for the Michigan Advance and has been a journalist for more than 35 years. He is the Past President of the Michigan Associated Press Media Editors Association and has been recognized for excellence numerous times, most recently in 2022 with the Best Investigative Story by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Cleary University. Jon and his family live in Howell.