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EMU faculty picket outside dorms during student move-in as strike possibility looms

The Eastern Michigan University American Association of University Professors have announced they will vote tomorrow to inform the EMU administration of a possible strike. This comes after the AAUP picketed outside EMU dorms today while students moved in.

The EMU-AAUP and the school administration are still far apart on issues, such as compensation and health care benefits. The current labor agreement expires on Wednesday.

For many parents and students moving in today, the possibility of a strike three days into the school year was unsettling news.

Denise Johnson from Cleveland says a picket line is not exactly what she wanted to see as she was dropping her daughter off for her first year at EMU.

“The teachers deserve a fair contract. They’re teaching our kids. They go through a lot, especially with COVID and all the other conditions. So, they need a fair contract.”

Contract negotiations are expected to continue throughout the weekend.

Eastern Michigan University released the following statement:

Contract negotiations are complex and challenging -- we are hopeful Eastern Michigan University and EMU-AAUP (American Association of University Professors) will reach an agreement.

The University has aligned its compensation programs with those of other comparable universities. As much as the University respects and supports its faculty, the EMU-AAUP’s wage demands for a 9% increase are excessive and unsustainable.

The University’s proposed 2% annual increase is consistent with what has been agreed to by other bargaining units at the University and faculty salary increases at other comparable universities.

Additionally, our priority is to create an equitable environment where faculty and staff participate at similar levels in the University’s health care plans. And we believe it is time for the University’s full subsidy of faculty parking costs to end. Students and most other employees pay for parking, and we believe faculty should as well.

As stewards of tuition and taxpayer funds, we must balance fair wage increases with the growing financial needs of students. Our goal is to reach a mutually beneficial agreement in the best interest of our students.

You can find the most up-to-date information at www.emich.edu/contract-negotiations.

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Josh Hakala is the general assignment reporter for the WEMU news department.
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