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EMU faculty overwhelmingly approves new four-year contract after strike

By: - September 26, 2022 5:39 am

Eastern Michigan University | Ken Coleman

Updated, 2:36 p.m., 9/26/22

A new labor agreement including major increases in salary and retirement compensation, as well as protections for health care coverage, has been overwhelmingly approved by members of the Eastern Michigan University chapter of the American Association of University Professors (EMU-AAUP).

Following an email vote that began Tuesday and concluded Friday, 96% of EMU-AAUP members voted in favor of ratifying the four-year deal, which followed a three-day strike on the EMU campus earlier this month.

“Our negotiating team listened closely to our members throughout this process,” said Matt Kirkpatrick, associate professor of English language and literature at EMU and chair of the EMU-AAUP negotiating team. “Our goal was to bring back an agreement to address concerns we heard about supporting our students, fair compensation and creating a foundation for continued quality education at EMU.  I think the results of this ratification vote show that we achieved our goal.”

The agreement, which covers more than 500 tenured and tenure track faculty at EMU, includes:

  • A 4%  raise, or $4,000 in base pay, in the first year of the agreement, whichever is larger. The lowest-paid faculty members will see pay increases as high as 7.4%.
  • A 3.25% increase in year two, compounded on top of year one increases.  
  • A 3.25%  increase in year three, compounded on top of year two and year three increases.

Both parties also agreed to re-open salary discussions in the fourth year of the agreement, to protect EMU-AAUP members in the event of continued inflation.

Also included in the tentative agreement are promotional increases of an additional $500 for all ranks, including a full-professor salary adjustment. Faculty members will receive an increase in retirement contributions commensurate with pay increases, while employer retirement contributions will remain at 11% of salary.

EMU faculty will also receive the same health care options as administrators and other groups on campus, with health care premiums based on an 80/20 cost-sharing model. 

In addition, the tentative agreement will strengthen EMU’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion while addressing faculty concerns about shared governance.

“It was really impressive to see our members stick together, and all the tremendous support we received from students and the campus community,” said Mohamed El-Sayed, professor of engineering at EMU and president of EMU-AAUP. “Our focus now is working together with our students and the administration, so that everyone has access to the great education they deserve here at EMU.”

Correction: This story initially had incorrect information provided about the EMU faculty pay increases.


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Jon King
Jon King

Jon King 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 2021 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, where he also serves on the Board of Directors for the Livingston Diversity Council.