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EMU, professors at odds over contract as school year begins

Eastern Michigan University
Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK
Eastern Michigan University

Eastern Michigan University students return to class Monday.

But how long their professors will be in the classroom is unclear.

On Saturday, EMU’s Chapter of the American Association of University Professors voted overwhelmingly to give its negotiating team the authority to inform the EMU administration of a possible strike action.

“Our goal is and always has been a fair settlement,” said Matt Kirkpatrick, associate professor of English language and literature at EMU and chair of the EMU-AAUP negotiating team.

The current contract covering more than 500 tenure and tenure track faculty at EMU will expire at midnight on Wednesday.

The two sides remain at odds on several things, including compensation, health care costs and other issues.

The university submitted an updated offer, which includes a 2% increase to base salary for professors every year for the next five years. Professors would also receive an additional $3,600 in supplemental payment for health care benefit plan conversion.

“This is a serious and impactful offer that balances faculty needs for healthcare and wages with a total compensation package that is extremely competitive with our peers and among the best in Michigan,” said Rhonda Longworth, provost and executive vice president of academic and student affairs.

Both sides express hope a deal can be reached.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.