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Eastern Michigan University, faculty union reach deal to end strike

people striking
Eastern Michigan University and the faculty union reached a tentative agreement, the groups announced late Sunday. Faculty complained about stalled talks over pay and healthcare costs. (Bridge photo by Isabel Lohman)
  • EMU and its faculty union have a tentative agreement that ends a strike that affected three days of classes 
  • The two sides differed over employee compensation and healthcare costs 
  • Faculty are back teaching this week, which is the third week of the fall semester

Eastern Michigan University and the school’s faculty union have reached a tentative agreement that means faculty were back in the classroom Monday teaching courses. 

The EMU chapter of the American Association of University Professors’ contract with the university expired at the end of August and members had voted to strike after saying that the university had dragged its feet in negotiations. But this weekend, representatives from both sides bargained late into the evening Saturday and Sunday to reach a deal. 

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The groups had disagreed on issues related to compensation and healthcare.

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Faculty members didn’t teach courses Wednesday through Friday of last week. On Wednesday afternoon, the university filed a lawsuit against the union requesting that a judge order the members back to work. It’s unclear just how many courses were disrupted. 

A judge later in the week denied a request for a temporary restraining order and set a court hearing date for later this week. Late Sunday night, the university and union announced they had reached a tentative agreement.

EMU spokesperson Walter Kraft told Bridge Monday the university intends to drop the lawsuit. 

“We obviously feel very gratified this morning,” he said. “It’s wonderful to see people back on campus with a full schedule instead of a partial schedule and the uncertainty of whether ‘I have class or not’ for students is no longer here.”

people marching on EMU's campus
The Eastern Michigan Chapter of the American Association of University Professors has 517 members. Members will teach courses again this week after striking for part of last week.

The details of the tentative agreement have not been released. A press release from the union Monday morning said members will discuss details of the proposed new contract at an upcoming meeting and then members will vote on ratification of the tentative agreement. 

Kraft, the university spokesperson, also declined to provide details of the agreement, stating that it is university practice for union members to learn details through their union first.

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“Solidarity works,” said Mohamed El-Sayed, professor of engineering at EMU and president of the union, in a statement Monday. “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.”

The American Association of University Professors is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers.

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