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EMU Part-Time Lecturers Protest Pay Delay

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Bob Eccles
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Eastern Michigan University part-time lecturers Wednesday have been gathering petition signatures again in the Pray-Harrold building to present to university administration.  They were there Tuesday, saying they're having trouble paying bills and putting food on the table because the school isn't paying them on time.

Part-time lecturers set up a table outside of the Eagle Cafe' in Pray-Harrold, asking people passing by to take a marker and sign an oversized petition sheet on an easel. 

As each page filled up, it was torn off and taped to the wall. 

Local 9102 of the Eastern Michigan University Federation of Teachers says the pay system forces about 600 lecturers to wait until the second payday of the month before receiving their first check. 

Zachary Jones teachers in the Geography and Geology department.

"You know,  I go three months without an income in the summertime, and now all of a sudden they're asking me to go an additional two weeks or a month without an income, and that extra burden is really hard on me," Jones says.

He says the late pay forces him to focus on how he's going to make ends meet rather than on doing the best job he can teaching. 

University spokesperson Geoff Larcom says there's a reason for the timing of part-time lecturer pay checks.

"The change in pay schedule was undertaken to ensure a high degree of payment accuracy and reliability throughout the year," Larcom says.  "It particularly addresses the challenges during the beginning weeks of a semester when student enrollment, and therefore part-time lecturer assignments, tend to shift as class sizes are established according to that particular semester's enrollment."

Larcom says part-time lecturers are paid over seven pay periods rather than eight pay periods, something that was communicated to lecturers and their union several times between later 2013 and September 2nd of this year.