Eastern Michigan University | F Delventhal via Wikimedia Commons Public Domain
Members of the Eastern Michigan University Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (EMU-AAUP) voted overwhelmingly Tuesday in favor of authorizing a strike.
In the vote, 91% of the more than 500 tenured and tenure track faculty approved the strike action, which will begin Wednesday morning.
Matt Kirkpatrick, associate professor of English language and literature at EMU and chair of the EMU-AAUP negotiating team, said the strike was the result of the EMU administration’s failure to reach common ground on a new labor agreement.
“Our message to EMU students, parents and alumni is simple: EMU faculty are standing up for you and for quality education,” said Kirkpatrick. “But the EMU Administration has let you down, raising their own salaries while trying to reduce our compensation, and repeatedly failing to bargain in good faith.”
In an effort to find common ground, the EMU-AAUP negotiating team says it invited the EMU Administration to continue negotiating on Monday and Tuesday but received no response.
EMU-AAUP members have been working the past week without a contract. The previous agreement expired at midnight on Aug. 31.
A bargaining session with state mediators is scheduled for Wednesday morning.
Compensation and health care premiums remain the main points of contention. Union leaders say a “massive increase” in costs for health care will result in a net loss of salary for EMU-AAUP members.
“It’s truly unfortunate that the EMU Administration’s failure at the bargaining table will cause delay and disruption for our students,” said Mohamed El-Sayed, professor of engineering at EMU and president of EMU-AAUP. “We will not be in our classrooms tomorrow, but our negotiating team will be at the bargaining table. We’re looking for solutions that support our students and set the stage for quality education at EMU for the long term.”
The strike authorization vote followed a similar result at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor in which 96% of the more than 4,000 members of the University of Michigan Professional Nurse Council (UMPNC), a subset of the Michigan Nurses Association (MNA), voted yes.
Nurses at U of M have been working without a contract since it expired on June 30.
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